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.

 

Mar 262024
 

The mural above was created by artist Lauren Pearce and is located in Cleveland, Ohio. You can also find her work on Instagram.

She will also be part of the upcoming group exhibition How Do You Want to See Yourself, curated by Larry Ossei Mensah, at Galleria Anna Marra in Rome, Italy. That show will open on 4/10/24.

Mar 202024
 

Akron Soul Train supports local artists through a residency program, exhibitions, and a shop in the front of the gallery which sells their work. Currently the gallery is showing work by Matthew Kurtz (work seen above) and Thomas Smith (work pictured below). Both artists are approaching the environment in different and interesting ways. Several of Kurz’s video pieces are focused on his upcoming performance for the solar eclipse. His photographs, for which he’s created additions to scenes he finds, are charming- as is his sculpture- a piano that moves his natural additions when played.

From the gallery-

Performance artist Matthew B. Kurtz presents Drumroll for a Total Eclipse: A Preliminary Exhibition, a prelude to his upcoming live performance with this year’s solar eclipse. Kurtz’s work fuses place, nature, sound, rhythm, and movement to question the mystery of existence. With humor, curiosity, and in tandem with his surroundings, Drumroll explores the process of trying to understand wonder.

For his upcoming performance on April 8, 2024, Kurtz will invite an audience to celebrate the total eclipse. Collaborating with the cosmos, he will perform a drumroll before “totality” passes over Northeast Ohio and creates the natural phenomenon known as “the blackout.”

“When I engage with a site for an art piece, I consider its history, recontextualize its objects, and insert my identity through intuitive gestures. I was raised to believe that humans are supposed to connect the lines between their innate feelings and the unknown. Making art is [my] attempt to reclaim this existential directive. These experiences are documented so outside viewers can participate in my examination of ambiguities, systems, and the sublime.” — Matthew B. Kurtz

Kurtz is also a musician. Check out his Instagram and Bandcamp to listen to his 2021 album 107.

For Thomas Smith’s sculptures he creates natural environments within man-made structures and uses the results as a commentary on the growth and sustainability of suburban development.

From the gallery-

In SUBARIUM II reprise, Thomas Smith combines materials from big box stores with contained terrariums to generate a sense of security and quality. However, upon second look, the viewer may see past the façade of what may look safe to what is substandard. Perhaps it is even denying growth and positive change. Smith’s sculptures dare to ask questions about survival, public image, and the landscape of today.

“Akin to an ecosystem enclosed in a terrarium, my sculptures depict a vibrant but, ultimately, unsustainable artificial environment. As plants within the terrarium grow, competition for space intensifies, turning the once-comfortable space into a struggle for survival. The metaphor extends to suburban America, where curated living conditions prioritize aesthetics over functionality, reflecting an impermanent American Dream.”

— Thomas Smith

 

Both of these exhibitions close 3/23/24.​

Mar 162024
 

Watercolor paintings by Katherine Strobel

There is A LOT of work currently on view at Summit Artspace for their Winter Exhibitions (see the previous two posts) and it is worth mentioning these shows as well.

In the Welcome Gallery are watercolor paintings (seen above) by Katherine Strobel, for her exhibition, Bad Nostalgia.

Her statement about the work-

People forget to take pictures of things that don’t matter because it’s impossible to photograph qualities such as the feeling of an inside joke, the sound of an exhale through the nose, or dirty silverware that must be returned to the kitchen and replaced. These things act as set, pieces for what make up the rest of our lives. This series is a catalog of work that focuses on memory and candidness of a scene or subject. The people pictured are painted from life or candid photographs which are then emphasized from a naive image to something more. When an image is exaggerated with new colors and shapes it serves to make the mundane more desirable. The paintings are watercolors with a textured surface; the texture creates a sense of play with paper elements. In my work watercolor is often indicative of memory because of its ephemeral quality and transparent layers. This is because of how impossible it is to clarify every element that makes up a color when the layers are all compressed and viewed as a complete state.

Below are works from FRESH, an annual exhibition of local artists juried by Pita Brooks, Executive Director of Akron Soul Train. The website has all of the artists included and their statements and bios- definitely worth taking a look at what is being created in the area.

Michelle Eisen, “I’ve Made My Bed”, Silkscreen on hardboard

Steven Mastroianni “Fathomable Series #24”, Unique cameraless photogram, silver gelatin print

Finally, on view throughout the building are works by local students, teachers, and school leaders for Taking Care of Our House: Communities Coming Together and Making a Difference. The exhibition is made with the organization Art Resistance Through Change (ART-C). The works pictured below are a few of the sculptures created that included the personal narratives of the artists.

It’s worth mentioning that along with these exhibitions there are artists studios and galleries also in the building and worth checking out. Summit Artspace is open Fridays 12-7pm and Saturdays 11am-5pm.

Mar 152024
 


The mural above is a reproduction of Masumi Hayashi’s Edgewater Park no.2, Cleveland, OH. The mural is located in Cleveland and is one of the many public art projects organized by LAND Studio.

From the information plaque next to the mural about the artist-

Masumi Hayashi (1945- 2006) was a visionary fine art photographer who taught at Cleveland State University for 25 years. During her time in Cleveland, she lived in the Gordon Square neighborhood in the first residential development project of the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization. Dr. Hayashi was a beloved neighbor, friend, and local artist. She achieved global success with her signature format, the panoramic photo collage.

Hayashi was born in the Gila River War Relocation Camp in Rivers, Arizona, which was one of the U.S. government’s Internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II. Hayashi created her striking panoramic photo collages by assembling individually shot color photographs into a composition, like tiles in a mosaic. She shot photographs in a meticulously ordered sequence using a completely manual, non-digital film camera on a tripod. A single piece could take four to eight hours to shoot, and she might not see the results for days or weeks. When working at a site, she had to imagine the composition she desired from a location, and then create the individual photographs, while considering factors like time of day, weather, and location of the sun, through the entire shoot. Many of her large panoramic compositions involve more than one hundred individual photographic prints.

Much of Hayashi’s work explores socially difficult subjects, like the Japanese-American Internment camps, abandoned prisons, and EPA Superfund cleanup sites. She was able to create artwork that makes difficult subjects approachable. Her earlier work includes many significant sites in Cleveland, including the Cultural Gardens, RTA stops, Lake Erie and Edgewater Park (as seen in the artwork shown to the left). Later in her career, her artwork reflected a deep interest in culturally significant spiritual sites in India, Nepal, Japan, and Thailand.

Feb 272024
 

Jo Westfall, “The Queens Astronomer”, 2023, Mixed media

Christine Mauersberger, “Kates Bouquet”, 2022, Digital print on Japanese Kozo paper, of loom weaving

Cat Mailloux, “Rose Window”, 2023, Quilted appliqué on found fabric

Suzi Hyden, “If the Sun Could Kiss Me”, 2023, Toned cyanotype on vintage linen hand-stitched onto metal fencing

Above are a few of the works from Common Thread, the current exhibition at Malone University’s art gallery. It is on view until 2/29/24.

From the gallery about the show-

Although quite different, all artists in this exhibition are united by the idea of textiles. Suzi Hyden’s work celebrates the environment by combining elements from nature and repurposed materials to create cyanotypes on vintage fabrics.

Cat Mailloux’s textile practice is focused in quilt making, pursuing connections between the visual language of churches, cathedrals, and domestic spaces that slowly bleed their way into imagined and limitless landscapes, exploring questions of the infinite through material.

Christine Mauersberger’s body of work is aesthetically eclectic. Hard and soft. Digital and analog. Some pieces fill a room, others can be held in your hand. The common thread is that each piece attempts to make the invisible visible.

Jo Westfall creates visual work considered resource art. It is portraiture, fiber art, and assemblage made with local materials that were discarded, overlooked, or unused. It reclaims the aesthetic capacity and utility of these items by integrating them into fresh renderings.

Feb 152024
 

“The Flameless Green Dragon”, 2018, Elm and acrylic

“In Rhythm”, 2018, Elm and acrylic; and “Water Music”, 2002, Inkjet photocollage on paper

“Introvert”, 2019, Elm; “Engendering Life”, 2020, Green soapstone

Two left sculptures made of Italian translucent alabaster and “Harboring Emptiness”, 2021, Maple and acrylic

Above are several works from Barbara Stanczak Spirit and Matter, the artist’s recent exhibition at Akron Art Museum.  Stanczak’s sculptures are energetic shapes created in partnership with the natural materials used.

From the museum’s web page-

Barbara Stanczak’s sculptures are born from an essential combination: the artist’s creative vision and the natural qualities of her materials. This two-sided collaboration remains in effect throughout Stanczak’s entire process of conceiving and creating an artwork. A piece of wood or stone presents initial possibilities that help to set a direction, but invariably the course will change—the substance may be so hard as to resist carving, or it may contain internal structures that must be accommodated. But the artist does not surrender her own interests, as she has found that a successful work must become the physical embodiment of a rich and valuable idea. In her own words, “I can only hold onto my idea of the whole by letting go of ‘mine’ and focusing on ‘our.’ The material becomes a partner who needs my patience, respect, thoughtfulness, cooperation, skill, and persistence.”

Stanczak committed to working with wood and stone only after a long process of discovery. Born in Germany in 1941, she moved to the United States in 1960 to assist her grandfather in painting church frescoes, and later worked in handmade paper, metal, and a variety of other media. She also worked alongside her husband, Julian Stanczak, whose paintings and prints were celebrated at the Akron Art Museum with a one-artist show in 2013. As her own career evolved throughout her thirty-seven-year tenure as a professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Barbara carved her first wooden sculpture in 1992. “I was tired of searching,” she recalls. “It was time to arrive!”

Stanczak continues to find wood and stone compelling because, as she puts it, they are constantly “teasing, tempting, and provoking me to see more, to see beyond, to see the micro and the macro of the universe.” She finds these universal qualities not in immediately recognizable forms like leaves and flowers, but rather in dense rings and layers, subtle features formed over decades or even thousands of years. As Stanczak exercises her own intuition, she aligns it with these natural processes. As the artist and the materials harmonize, it is as if two forms of intelligence are working together—as if spirit and matter are not so separate as one might expect.