Jul 122024
 

The painting above is 3 Oracles, 2022, by Sayre Gomez, on view at Columbus Museum of Art. It is part of the exhibition New Encounters: Reframing the Contemporary Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art .

From the museum about the work-

Based in Los Angeles, Sayre Gomez often employs techniques borrowed from Hollywood set painting and commercial advertising to heighten the sense of lifelikeness in his paintings. In 3 Oracles, Gomez’s depiction of a vacant big-box store renders the shifting forces of the consumer economy in exacting, photo-realistic detail. The three appliance brands represented on the store’s façade, DieHard, Craftsman, and Kenmore, were all formerly owned by Sears Corporation, a retail giant that filed for bankruptcy in 2018.

Gomez recently co-curated the Feed the Streets Benefit Show at Sebastian Gladstone in Los Angeles. The opening is tomorrow evening (7/13) from 6-9pm and the exhibition will be on view until 8/3/24.

The group exhibition includes work by- Alfonso Gonzalez Jr. , Andrew Park, Bennet Schlesinger, Bryan Ruiz, Calvin Marcus, Chad Murray, Eddie Martinez, Emma McMillan, Evan Holloway, Greg Ito, G.V. Rodriguez, Jaime Muñoz, Jake Longstreth, Jonas Wood, Josh Smith, JPW3, Julia Yerger, Juliana Halpert, Justin Caguiat, Kalan Strauss, Mario Ayala, Max Hooper Schneider, Mungo Thomson, Nick Angelo, Nick Clark, Nihura Montiel, Richard Tinkler, Ryan Preciado, Sam Moyer, Sayre Gomez, Sterling Ruby, timo fahler, and Tristan Unrau.

All proceeds benefit Feed the Streets and their ongoing mission of colecting donated food, hygiene products, clothing, and educational items for hand to hand distribution in Los Angeles and New York. Feed the Streets also provides athletic and creative resources for underserved youth.

May 222024
 

Artist and activist Andrea Bowers is based in Los Angeles but was born and raised in Ohio. This provides the connection to the work in Exist, Flourish, Evolve, currently on view at moCa Cleveland, which advocates for environmental protections for the area. The educational material informs the viewer, while the artwork reminds us how much beauty there is to lose.

From the museum-

LA-based artist Andrea Bowers bears witness in her work, drawing attention to and inspiring movement around the most urgent issues of our time. Her drawings, sculptures, installations, and films chronicle and preserve history as it occurs, documenting collective action and amplifying the labor and lived experiences of activists dedicated to socio-political change.

Developed through an ongoing partnership with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) and activist Tish O’Dell, Exist, Flourish, Evolve is a new, multi-site, multimedia campaign that builds awareness and action around the dangers facing Lake Erie and all of the Great Lakes ecosystems. It features a monumental neon sculpture installed on a waterfront balcony of the Great Lakes Science Center; a documentary investigating the impact of factory farming on Lake Erie’s ecosystem; and a presentation in moCa’s Lewis Gallery that includes a newly-created drawing of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, first-of-its-kind legislation protecting an entire US ecosystem that is part of the global Rights of Nature Movement.

Bowers was raised in the small town of Huron, Ohio and spent her childhood on the shores of Lake Erie, connecting to the lake itself like a member of her family to be cared for, cherished, and protected. Yet, Lake Erie and its watershed are abused and endangered by corporate practices such as contaminant dumping, toxic runoff from industrial farming, and the introduction of non-native invasive species. Exist, Flourish, Evolve demands justice for the Great Lakes, urging us to prioritize the preservation of our natural ecology over industrialization and capitalism.

Within moCa’s gallery, a timeline connects Bowers’s new and recent artworks with historical facts and archival materials using two catastrophic climate events as bookends to Bowers’s life thus far: the 1969 fire on the Lake Erie-connected Cuyahoga River (a result of oil slicks covering the water) and the massive 2014 algae bloom that blanketed Lake Erie and invaded Toledo’s water systems, preventing residents from using tap water.

From the Maumee to the Cuyahoga, the works in Exist, Flourish, Evolve come together to share the histories of our water, demonstrate the interconnectedness of ourselves and our natural world, and remind us, as Dr. Vandana Shiva states, “nature is not out there; we are a part of it.”

This exhibition closes 5/25/24.

May 222024
 

The amount of detail in Manabu Ikeda’s pen and ink drawings is astounding. You could spend hours, if not longer, looking at the many works currently on view at moCa Cleveland for his exhibition Flowers from the Wreckage.

From the museum-

Manabu Ikeda, from Saga, Japan, specializes in highly technical and detailed pen-and-ink drawings. He grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, a period when Japanese anime gained wide spread popularity. Using a nib pen, Ikeda creates imagery on paper reflecting his interests in outdoor activities, pop culture, civilization, and nature, thereby bringing a unique perspective to his work.

Ikeda’s art often incorporates insects, animals, rock climbing, and fishing, allowing him to explore nature from various angles. His creations seamlessly blend daily life, spiritual beliefs, and cultural insights, creating a mix of truth and fiction that might resonate with viewers.

Central to Ikeda’s practice are metaphors of grief and the undeniable aspects of life that are often beyond society’s control, such as the fundamental forces of Mother Nature. Ikeda’s drawings also reveal human resillience and the ability to rise above devastating situations even when it seems impossible.

Flowers from the Wreckage is Ikeda’s first solo retrospective in North America. Showcasing over sixty artworks, the exhibition highlights the complexity of Ikeda’s artistic endeavour, introducing viewers to this master artist’s pictorial allegories and immanent messages about the interconnected world.

Many of the works also reference specific landmarks and events. Pictured above is Rebirth, created from 2013-16 at the Chazen Museum of Art in Wisconsin. Inspired by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, it depicts a cherry blossom tree in bloom. On closer inspection the flowers are made up of artificial objects, and amidst the branches objects and landmarks that have been destroyed by disasters appear among the wreckage.

Meltdown (2013), pictured below, was inspired by the glaciers and lakes of the Canadian Rockies, and also references the Japanese nuclear power plant that was damaged in the 2011 earthquake.

The museum also reproduced History of Rise and Fall (2006), seen below, which depicts a tornado sweeping away a whole town and its history- from samurai battles to World War 2 and beyond.

This exhibition closes 5/25/24.

May 222024
 

Pictured above is Frank Stella’s 1986 work, La vecchia dell’orto, on view at Columbus Museum of Art, part of New Encounters: Reframing the Contemporary Collection of the Columbus Museum of Arta reinstallation of the museum’s contemporary galleries.

About the work from the museum-

In the 1960s Frank Stella began creating paintings with a composition of lines that closely followed the shape of the canvas. These works often resisted any sense of depth, but in the following decade, Stella would go on to create exuberant works like this, composed of brightly painted cones and other shapes that extend beyond the surface of the rectangle behind it.

The title of this work, like others in his Cones and Pillars series, is taken from an Italian folktale in which a mother’s only daughter is kept by a witch as payment for a cabbage she stole from the witch’s garden.

Stella’s practice was always evolving. In his most recent large painted sculptures, currently on view at Deitch in NYC, you can see how he expanded on the concepts he was working with here.

May 032024
 

In March, Strauss Studios hosted Diane Belfiglio: An Artist’s Legacy, an exhibition celebrating the late artist. The Ohio artist and educator’s exploration of light and shadow give her subjects a unique graphic quality.

Here Belfiglio discusses her acrylic paintings-

My paintings prominently feature closely-cropped, sunlit architectural forms. Although realistic in their presentation, I rely heavily on their underlying abstract qualities to give to the already imposing images an even greater sense of power. Shadows, ethereal by nature, take on a rigid structural aspect in these compositions. Colors range from brilliant to subtle in an effort to reproduce the strong sense of sunlight streaming through each piece. Although these images are visually powerful, the delicate details in the architecture—and often in the surrounding vegetation–are also prominently featured in my work. The resultant blend produces a heightened, stylized reality. I work to transform the mundane into the extraordinary, so that we see beauty in images that generally go unnoticed by most of us on a daily basis.

And here she talks about her decision to work with watercolor, like in the pair above-

Never say never. For the majority of my life, I have not taken to watercolor as a medium I ever wanted to use professionally. But in 2015-16, the Canton Museum of Art had a spectacular show of Joseph Raffael’s watercolor paintings. The colors and luminosity in his work were so amazing that I just couldn’t get the images out of my head. A couple of years later, I was called upon to teach Watercolors at Walsh University, a class I normally don’t teach. So there was another toe in the water (pun intended). Fast forward to 2020, when I finally had the urge to vanquish my demons and give it a try. I started slowly, making plenty of mistakes, but soon realized that I could create the luminosity that I crave in my work in this medium.

Tomorrow (5/3/24), Strauss Studios will be open late for Canton First Friday and showing the new exhibition Exploring Light and Darkness featuring artists Emily Orsich, Heather Bullach, Jo Westfall, Joe Ostrowske, Mary Crane Nutter, Patricia Zinsmeister Parker, and Susan Wilkof.

 

Apr 252024
 

Alyssa Lizzini, “Industrial Valley”, Ink and acrylic on paper on panel

Alyssa Lizzini, “East 41st”, Ink, acrylic, and found object on paper and panel

Alyssa Lizzini, “Unraveling City”, Ink and acrylic on paper mounted on 2 panels

Akron Soul Train is currently showing two exhibitions by Ohio artists. Alyssa Lizzini’s The Universe Between Here and There, pictured above, expands upon scenes from daily life using a mixed media approach. The works take the viewer into her expanded sections of the city, and encourages them to think about what may be unobserved in their own daily life.

From the gallery-

In The Universe Between Here and There, Alyssa Lizzini explores the interwoven connection between space, time, and memory through large-scale, multi-layer drawings. Lines, grids, maps, and data become the stars, black holes, and supernovae of an ever-expanding universe of memory. Using ink, acrylic paint, and collaged paper, Lizzini creates overlapping images that seem to compress space and time yet simultaneously fly apart or implode. Her drawings suggest that memory unravels in much the same way and investigates the almost inseparable connection between person and place.

“Drawings explore both my own personal histories related to remembered places and broader histories recorded through archival, ethnographic, and visual research of city spaces…The scale of [my] drawings allow the viewer to feel immersed in each piece, surrounded by swirling and morphing cityscapes, memory objects, and natural elements. They ask the viewer to consider the many layers of context not immediately visible in our urban world, and give a new language for understanding the ever-changing nature of memory.” – Alyssa Lizzini

Akron Soul Train Artist-in-Residence Melih Meric’s uses traditional Middle Eastern patterns to explore identity.

From the gallery-

Meric uses a traditional approach to their imagery through sacred geometry and explorations of Islamic geometric abstraction. Challenging traditional presentations of print editions, Meric’s print work crosses the borders of the paper. It highlights an expansion of patterns like Middle Eastern tiles. It also speaks to queerness without being explicitly queer. Stitched Editions: Exploring the New poses integral questions surrounding erasure and identity in Middle Eastern communities. Meric’s craft lies in creating wall-hanging objects that play between the realms of dimensionality while still being unmistakably paper. Their work acknowledges and is proud of its dimension, speaking certain truths to multiple minority groups.

“My work deals with making peace with a part of my culture that drove me to leave it. Finding beauty in design and simplicity, then creating systems to complicate those principles. I fell in love with printmaking and the idea of multiplicity when I first made the connection to tiles from the Middle East. It suddenly became a tool to create and expand patterns that challenge traditions in crafts.” – Melih Meric

Melih Meric, “I Think I Remember Something, Nevermind”, “Stitched Edition” of 12 linoleum prints

Melih Meric, “Carnation”, “Stitched Edition” of 36 woodblock prints

Melih Meric, “Carnation”, “Stitched Edition” of 36 woodblock prints (detail)

Melih Meric, “Swept Under”, “Stitched Edition” of 8 silkscreen prints

Both of these exhibitions close 5/11/24.

Apr 182024
 

There’s an unsettling tension in the room that houses Mel Chin’s installation Spirit (1994), at the Columbus Museum of Art. Is the rope strong enough to support the barrel? What will be its breaking point?

Some details from the museum about the work-

The rope that seems to carry the weight of Spirit’s enormous cask is made from tallgrass. This native plant was once central to a vast prairie ecosystem spanning over 170 million acres of North America. By 1930, most all of this was decimated as a result of agricultural and industrial settlement, and what remains is protected habitat (Chin received special permission to harvest a portion for this sculpture).

Wooden barrels are traditionally used to measure and transport dry goods like grain, beans, as well as beer, oil and wine, and were central to the process of European settlement and trade in North America. Here, the image of this rope bearing such a massive weight suggests the precarious status of nature in a world of outsized human development. Even the gallery walls, which curve inwards on all sides, seem to respond to the strain.

 

Apr 102024
 

Nalani Stolz “Bread Bodies”, bread, ceramic, muslin

Nalani Stolz, “”like floating in thick waters”, fermented membrane, stainless steel

Nalani Stolz, “a small ocean swallowed” baking soda, ceramic, cheesecloth, vinegar, pump, latex

“a small ocean swallowed”, closer

Nalani Stolz, “a wild wetland in our gut” ceramic, plum vinegar, muslin, stuffing, salt

Nalani Stolz, “a wild wetland in our gut” ceramic, plum vinegar, muslin, stuffing, salt

The Sculpture Center in Cleveland is currently showing Nalani Stolz’s Bodies Still Becoming and Zachary Smoker’s Inured.

With the sound of water dripping, the bread stretching fabric, and growth covered vessels leaking into mattresses- Stolz’s sculptures engage the viewers senses, at times viscerally.

She has also included her film Traces in the exhibition. For this work she and her mother slowly sew their hair together through a sheet of gauze.

From the gallery about the exhibition

The bodies Nalani Stolz crafts bulge, grow, and break down. Materials such as rising dough expand and constrict, cloth sculptures leak and ooze, fermented membranes and porous clay forms seep vinegar, growing warts across their surfaces. These bodily processes draw on the often-gendered experiences of how our physical forms take in and expel matter; the feelings of expansion and fullness and those of emptying out, of breaking down when weeping, menstruating, and experiencing miscarriage, abortion, and pregnancy. These moments shift our seemingly solid edges and reveal our porous boundaries; reminding us that we are dying, changing, decaying vessels, loosely contained by skin, muscle, and bone.

Zachary Smoker’s sculptures for Inured address issues related to U.S. currency, power, capitalism, and material culture. In two of the works, familiar items ask questions about purpose. The whiffle ball bat /police baton combination mixes violence and play. Shopping carts now have associations with living on the street, as well as for buying goods in a store- which one will this be used for when assembled?

Zachary Smoker, “Crony Tikes”, Plastic Whiffle ball bats, pegboard, double hooks, 2024

Zachary Smoker, “Anyone can make Art, not everyone can buy it”, Demonetized U.S. currency, BFK Rives, Elmer’s glue stick, safety wire glass, poplar, enamel paint, paint marker, 2023

Zachary Smoker, “A place for everyone, and everyone in their place”, Steel shopping cart, polyurethane wheels, enamel paint, 2024

Both of these exhibitions close on 4/13/24.

Apr 072024
 

“Moon Setting into Fog Bank over Cape Cod Bay, Morning of the Total Lunar Eclipse”, 2007, printed 2023

“1:30-4:30a.m., Moon Rising, Antelope Lake”, 2011, printed 2023

“Sun Ball, Imnamatnoon Creek, Lochsa River Valley”, 1995, printed 2023

“Fireflies”, 2005

One of the smaller prints from the “Fireflies” series

There is something so peaceful about the photographs in Barbara Bosworth: Sun Light Moon Shadow, currently on view at Cleveland Museum of Art. These beautiful moments she has captured allow the viewer to share her sense of wonder.

From the museum about the exhibition-

“My childhood home is where all my photographs come from,” says American photographer Barbara Bosworth (born 1953). Growing up in Novelty, Ohio, Bosworth adored walking with her father and looking up at the night sky, a practice that became a lifelong passion. This exhibition -timed to coincide with the total solar eclipse visible in Cleveland on April 8— features the artist’s photographs of light, from eclipses, sunrises, and sunsets to the luminescent glow of fireflies and a flashlight. Her images both explore how we endow these phenomena with personal meaning and elucidate bonds between humans and the natural world that often go unnoticed.

Photography is an art form with its roots in science, even though the two disciplines are sometimes considered opposites. The term photography was coined in 1839 by British scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel from Greek words meaning “drawing with light.” Bosworth notes that light is an essential ingredient in both astronomy and photography. The camera and telescope, used together as Bosworth has in a number of the photographs on view, each collect light.

Time is another integral component of photography: a photograph records the light that strikes a sensitized surface-such as film or, in the case of digital photography, a sensor-during a certain length of time. In making her photographs of the heavenly bodies, Bosworth says she wants “to be reminded of the mystery closer to home: the sheer strangeness that light — millions of years old, unfathomably old – can still land on my film and be seen.”

This exhibition is on view until 6/30/24.

 

Apr 032024
 

Julia Schenkelberg, “Blue Ocean”, 2020, Blue dye, resin, rusted metal from Detroit factory floors, plaster chips, vintage china, glass from Brooklyn beaches

Malone University Art Gallery’s exhibition Healing Spaces features work by Northeastern Ohio artists Julie Schenkelberg, Chen Peng, Yiyun Chen, and Emily Bartolone. Although the mediums differ, the work flows together in the room. Below are some selections and more about each artist from the gallery’s documentation.

Julie Schenkelberg, “Modern Memorial”, 2020, Found screen, plaster, acrylic paint, vintage leather and fabric, jewelry box interior, glass gathered from Cleveland and Detroit auto and steel factory abandoned floors, vintage glass slide of the Parthenon Frieze

Julie Schenkelberg grew up in the post-industrial landscape of Cleveland, Ohio. Her mixed-media installations start with furniture, dishware, textiles, and marble, combined with concrete, resin, and construction materials, to transform notions of domesticity, and engage with the American Rust Belt’s legacy of abandonment and decay. Using the home as a playground for formal and conceptual subversions, the work aggressively disrupts cohesion within the physical sphere. Familiar furnishings rekindle memories or premonitions of collapse, suggesting both the utter destruction of war, calamities, or urban decay, but also the uncanny juxtapositions of fragile substances such as cloth and china, with industrial materials such as rusty metal, heavy concrete, and tool-made marks such as drilled holes and chain-sawed indentations.

Chen Peng, Paintings from the “Mountains at Night” series, 2023, gouache, acrylic, and oil on canvas

Deriving from a desire to find stillness and grounding as an immigrant, Chen Peng explores the connection between landscape and the complexities of identity and belonging. She creates foreign landscapes from a combination of past experiences, memories, and imagination, delving into the disorienting sense of not knowing where home is. The moon, particularly in its fullness, becomes a symbol encapsulating emotions and metaphors associated with loneliness, reverence, and even terror. Her ceramic pieces extend this exploration of landscapes, featuring textures and marks that convey the essence of mountains, clouds, and the moon.

Photographs from from Yiyun Chen’s series “Velleity”, 2016-2018

Yiyun Chen, “Velleity”, detail

Yiyun Chen, Handmade photobook, 2018

The photography of Yiyun Chen is about the process of self-reflection and self-discovery as an Asian immigrant, exploring the relationship between people, environment and society, turning its personal experience and empathy into gentle conversations between humans and nature, capturing the poetic and distance of the environment around us. Through photography, we can take the essence of life seriously again and treat the people and things around us tenderly. Through his lens, they often have similar structure, people look tiny in nature scenes, creating an intimate visual experience. Most of his photographs are captured outdoors, with soft light and harmonious colors often used.

Painting by Emily Bartolone

Painting by Emily Bartolone

Stemming from her infatuation with the formal elements of painting, the work of Emily Bartolone pairs down simple, anthropomorphized shapes in an effort to explore paint and color theory while simultaneously creating tension and humor through color, edges, and texture. The playful, human qualities of painting are incorporated into the work through the use of amorphous shapes animated within the picture plane. Further informed by ideas of the mundane, the awkward, and the jovial that surround everyday life, the complexity of human relationships are mimicked by the shapes interacting on each painting’s surface. In acknowledging that life is not always cordial, moments of tension are placed within the satisfying surfaces in the form of an abrupt mark, a disparate color, or a shift in scale. These ideas are used to take viewers outside of themselves for a short period of time, hoping to offer a break from the bombardment of distractions, notifications, and news we encounter so often on a daily basis.

This exhibition closes 4/9/24.