From the Heart
Physician's love of Italy captured on film Marcello Mellino's concern is for the heart: both in its literal, fleshly aspect (since his primary career is as a physician with West Side Cardiology Associates) and as the figurative seat of sensation. His Bella Italia show celebrates the latter — specifically the romantic timelessness of the lush hills and old stones of Mellino's home country. The photos focus on regions just outside Rome and Venice, but also on a mode of being unknown to many Americans. "I want to convey tradition, a way of life in Italy as it used to be lived, and still is, that we're not accustomed to over here," he says. Mellino's pictures are shot with conventional film rather than digitally, which he distrusts for its ease of manipulation. "Philosophically, what's there is there; I don't like to add." However, he is not above using analog effects for artistic ordering and punctuation. Rather than a flawless picture, Mellino selects a photo of a gondola and passengers haloed in a slight blur (an accident of development or lighting), which mutes architectural noise in the foreground and background, bringing the subject into sharper relief. With their focus thus narrowed, the audience can notice details they might otherwise have missed: the fedora of the lounging traveler, the black cowboy shirt on another. The show opens April 8 with an artist's reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at Custom Picture Framing Gallery, 15733 Madison Ave. in Lakewood; it continues through April 29. For more information, call 216-221-1327 or go to custompictureframingoh.com. — Joseph Clark
Akron Art Museum: M.C. Escher: Impossible Realities. This crowd-pleasing show features more than 130 of the artist's impeccable works, including such instantly recognizable pieces as "Drawing Hands." The exhibition comes from the Herakleidon Museum in Greece, which houses one of the world's largest collections of Escher's work; Akron is one of only two U.S. venues to host it. Exhibition continues through May 29. Also: All-Star Jazz. Jazz history comes to life in the black and white photography of Herman Leonard, who captured greats like Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra in moments of both staged glory and private vulnerability. Through July 10 at 1 South High St., Akron; call 330-376-9186 or go to akronartmuseum.org.
Aperture Photograpy: Instant Revival. Nine midwestern shutterbugs showcase their work in Polaroid photography, celebrating an analog tradition in a digital age. Through April 9 at 2541 Scranton Rd. To learn more, call 216-574-8977 or go to aperturetremont.com.
(Art)ificial Gallery: The Vinyl Takeover. A collection of vinyl toys customized by local artists, this light-hearted show draws inspiration from cartoons, comics, and sci-fi camp. Through April 23 at 17020 Madison Ave. in Lakewood. Call 216-227-8440 or go to whatisartificial.com for more info.
The Bonfoey Gallery: All Over the Place. Artist Ken Nevadomi believes paintings should be fun, and he encourages viewers to formulate their own interpretations in an eclectic exhibit that includes abstracts, pastels, and animal portraits. Through April 23 at 1710 Euclid Ave. Call 216-621-0178 or visit bonfoey.com.
Cleveland Museum of Art: The Lure of Painted Poetry: Japanese and Korean Art. This compelling exhibition offers a rare, in-depth comparison of the secular artistic achievements of Japan and Korea as reflected in the museum's renowned collections of Asian art. It also highlights Japanese and Korean artists' efforts to fuse the genres of visual art and poetry as they reinterpreted themes from classical Chinese poetry in a variety of visual media, including calligraphy, painting, and decorative arts. The exhibition contains 80 objects from the museum's preeminent Asian collection, dating from the 14th to the 21st centuries. Through August 28 at 11150 East Blvd. in University Circle; call 216-421-7340 or visit clevelandart.org.
Contessa Gallery: The Photography of David Drebin. An internationally known photog and frequent contributor to Conde Nast Traveler, Drebin creates stylish works that tread the line between art and fashion photography. Through April 10 at 24667 Cedar Rd., inside Legacy Village in Lyndhurst; 216-382-7800 or visit contessagallery.com.
John F. Seiberling Gallery: Earth & Sky. Painter Donna Drozda, a Cleveland native, unveils new work inspired by the birds of the Chesapeake Bay area, rendering her subjects in simple shapes and sumptuous colors. The show runs through May 14 at 1403 West Hines Hill Rd. in Peninsula. For more info, call 330-657-2909 or go to conservancyforcvnp.org.
Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery: Adaptability. No matter the medium, Detroit-based Lebanese artist Adnan Charara's work reflects on adaptation by creative repurposing of materials. Postmarked envelopes become the canvas for a pictured narrative, and found objects become humanized characters in fragmented stories. Through May 14 at 1305 West 80th Street. For more information, call 216-631-6719 or go to kennethpaullesko.com.
Legation, a Gallery: Fluid Forms & Fleshy Coats. Showcasing the drawings and sculptures of six female artists, this exhibition converges on the theme of tension between immortal ideals and decaying realities. Through April 8 at 1300 D West 78th Street in the 78th Street Studios. Call 216-650-4201 or go to legationagallery.com.
Museum of Contemporary Art: Blind Landscape. Internationally known for her tall monuments of graphite, stainless steel, glass, and plastic, sculptor Teresita Fernandez incorporates light, shadow, and reflection into her large-scale pieces, often exploring the relationship between nature and perception. Through May 8. Also: Letter on the Blind, for the Use of Those Who See. This 2007 film by Javier Téllez documents the reactions of six blind people as they touch and respond to a live elephant. Also: Passive Voices. Lorri Ott transforms synthetic and natural materials into poignant, evocative subjects, giving each work a unique yet ambiguous voice. Through May 8 at 8501 Carnegie Ave. Call 216-421-8671 or go to mocacleveland.org.
Pink Eye Gallery: Ken Nordine's Colors. Voiceover artist and jazz man Ken Nordine's trippy 1967 short film Colors inspires interpretations and homage from 16 local artists. The pieces are all small (no bigger than 24x36), experimental, and media-spanning. Through April 30 at 3904 Lorain Ave.; call 330-671-6123.
River Gallery: Five women artists explore the use of figures and narrative in media ranging from collage and painting to sculpture. Through April 23 at 19046 Old Detroit Rd. in Rocky River. For more info, call 440-331-8406 or go to rivergalleryarts.com.
Sculpture Center: Reluctant Redemption. Daniel McDonald illustrates the artist's spiritual journey through biblical scenes retold in bronze, wire, and foam. Also No Matter How Hard I Yell: Qian Li uses sculpture, found objects, and audiovisual presentations to recreate the recurring dreams from her harrowing Chinese childhood. Through April 16 at 1834 East 123rd St. Call 216-229-6527 or visit sculpturecenter.org.
Wall Eye Gallery: Intuitive Visions. This show presents never-before-seen works from Northeast Ohio outsider artists Michelangelo Lovelace, Carlos Cahuas, and others. Their materials include acrylics and found objects, and their themes range from the mundane to the ethereal. Through April 9 at 5304 Detroit Ave Cleveland. Call 440-320-639 or go to walleyegallery.com.
Waterloo 7 Gallery: Featuring works by Hy Snell, Lisa Eastman, John Davis, and 30 others. Through April 15 at 35005 Chardon Rd., Willoughby Hills. Visit schmidtsculpture.com or call 440-946-0333.
William Busta Gallery: Crossings. Painter Andrea Joki's simple patterns of abstract forms and colorful clusters seem to vie for attention like an eager crowd. Through April 30. Also: Geometry of the Clouds. Georgia Tech architecture professor Mark Cottle's exhibition transcribes a world history of geometry, translating into paint and ink the grammar of Egyptian and Greek architecture, the forms of Renaissance stonework, and the interpretations of Modernist minimalism. Through April 23 at 2731 Prospect Ave. Call 216-298-9071.
Willoughby Hills Community Center Gallery: Work by nature photographer Wayne Mazorow, whose work is featured in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park calendar. At 35400 Chardon Rd. in Willoughby Hills. Call 440-918-8730 or go to willoughbyhillsgallery.org.
Zygote Press: 4U. Biennial gathering of faculty and students from the printmaking departments of four colleges, including the University of Akron, Cleveland Institute of Art, Kent State University, and the University of Toledo. Through April 9 at 1410 East 30th St. Call 216-621-2900 or visit zygotepress.com.
Kokoon Arts: Regional Watercolors: This large exhibition aims at raising consciousness of Cleveland's 90-year history of leadership in watercolor paintings, including works from masters of the 1920's "Cleveland School" to the present day. Through May 14 at 1305 West 80th St. in the 78th Street Studios. Call 216-832-8212 or visit kokoonarts.com.
Tregoning & Company: Through X at 1300 West 78th St. Call 216-281-8626 or go to tregoningandco.com.
Kent State University Museum: Beyond Fashion: Fiber and Fashion Art by Vincent Quevedo. Culled from 20 years of past collections, Quevedo's works range from sculptural clothing to quilted wall art. Through February 2012 at 515 Hilltop Dr. on the K.S.U. campus; call 330-672-3450.
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