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Offerings from your friendly local galleries and museums

Natural Impulses

Harris Stanton Gallery's Extraordinary Environs offers two deeply divergent ways of approaching nature. Charlotte Lees is historic in her orientation, referencing the styles of African, Egyptian, Greek, and Indian designs, as well as 20th-century artists who drew on those traditions. In studying both ends of art history, Lees surveys and comments on the two extremes and finds materials with which to make her own sculptural statements about the relationship between humanity and nature. Human agents are absent from Linda Zehler's oil paintings (left). She engages with environments directly, taking in unspoiled hills, streams, and forests. When she conveys them to her audience, she expresses emotional impressions just as readily as sensory ones, rendering her scenes with impressionistic strokes. Her choices are unexpected, but they communicate feeling with fluency. An opening reception will be held for both artists on Friday, May 6, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The show runs through June 4 at 2310 West Market St. in Akron. For more information, call 330-867-0590 or go to harrisstantongallery.com. — Joseph Clark

Akron Art Museum: M.C. Escher: Impossible Realities. This crowd-pleasing show features more than 130 of Escher's 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. 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 staged glory and private vulnerability.Through July 10 at 1 South High St., Akron; call 330-376-9186 or go to akronartmuseum.org.

Arts Collinwood Gallery: New Work. Painter Liliane Luneau's abstract works contrast rigid quadrilaterals with free-form blotching brushstrokes to promote the reconciliation of order with accident, and intuition with rationality. Through May 15 at 15601 Waterloo Rd. Call 216-692-9500 or visit artscollinwood.org.

Bonfoey Gallery: In, Around & About. Self-taught local painter Randall Tiedman creates sprawling, fantastic cityscapes based on the industrial districts of Cleveland. Though colored in rusty, muddy browns and shades of twilight, spare points of light suggest enduring and dynamic life. Through June 1 at 1710 Euclid Avenue. For more information, call 216-621-0178, or go to bonfoey.com.

Cleveland Museum of Art: The Lure of Painted Poetry: Japanese and Korean Art. Designed to illuminate the intricate connections between Chinese poetry and its reinterpretation as visual art by Japanese and Korean artists, this exhibition features 80 diverse works, including calligraphy, painting, and decorative arts, spanning nearly seven centuries; almost all of the pieces are drawn from the museum's preeminent collection. Through August 28 at 11150 East Blvd. in University Circle; call 216-421-7340 or visit clevelandart.org.

John F. Seiberling Gallery: Earth & Sky. Painter Donna Drozda, a Cleveland native, unveils works inspired by the birds of the Chesapeake Bay area. Through May 14 at 1403 West Hines Hill Rd. in Peninsula; learn more at conservancyforcvnp.org or call 330-657-2909.

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; call 216-631-6719 or go to kennethpaullesko.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. Learn more by calling 216-832-8212 or visit kokoonarts.com.

Legation, a Gallery: To Each His Own. Kent State graduate Justin Pierce mixes painting, drawing, and mixed media to explore what makes moments memorable and authentic or artificial. Through May 20 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.

Pop Shop Gallery: 6 Degress of Juxtaposition. The Pop Shop celebrates its sixth year with this retrospective featuring more than 20 artists, including some who were there at the beginning. Also: Connect the Dots. A "rad" exhibit at next-door's (art)ificial gallery inspired by the pop art of the '80s and '90s. An opening reception will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 7 at 17020 Madison Ave. in Lakewood; 216-227-8440, popshopgallery.com, or whatisartificial.com

River Gallery: Annual Ceramics Invitational. Local ceramics artists of every stripe showcase a diverse selection of functional yet decorative pieces at this exhibition. Through June 11 at 19046 Old Detroit Rd. in Rocky River. For more information, call 440-331-8406 or go to rivergalleryarts.com.

The Sculpture Center: Locating Eden. Annie Strader's interdisciplinary presentation combines sound, video, and subtly but profoundly altered everyday objects to embody, explore, and vindicate the experience of nostalgia. Also: Declarations of Truth. The discovery of historical revisionism inspired Elaine Hullihen to engineer this participatory piece providing a space for attendees to make their own "declarations" of truth from their personal perspective. Both shows run through June 4 at 1834 East 123rd St.; call 216-229-6527 or go to sculpturecenter.org to learn more.

Shaheen Gallery: Oil Studies 2006- 2010. Faris McReynolds' paintings range from caricatured representation to the expressionistic and borderline abstract, often featuring groups of bare-limbed young people in dynamic action. Through May 27 at 740 West Superior Ave. Call 216-830-8888 or go to shaheengallery.com for details.

Tregoning & Company: Aspects of Modern Life. Matt Dibble's abstract works use thick, muscular brushstrokes to transcribe a simple vocabulary of rough geometric forms from which emerge striking compositions. Through May 31 at Tregoning's North Gallery, 1300 West 78th St.; call 216-281-8626 or go to tregoningandco.com.

William Busta Gallery: Memory's Witness: Pamela Dodds, known largely as a painter of pastel-bright but quietly dignified works, departs from the familiar with dark woodcuts exploring loss and anguish. Through June 9. Also Passionate Blessings: Mark Howard eschews narrative for a sequence of free-standing "signs" which refocus the viewer on the use of meaning in social interactions, media consumption, and personal reflection. Through June 1 at 2731 Prospect Ave. Call 216-298-9071 or go to williambustagallery.com.

Zaller Gallery: Clampdown: Labor, Management, and the Recession. Twenty regional artists address issues of unemployment, wages, and the value of work in this new show, in the hopes that through art they can contribute to the larger dialogue about labor-management dynamics. The gallery is open noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through May 21 at 16006 Waterloo Rd.

Zygote: Three Artists: One Exquisite Wall. One by one, three artists (Corrie Slawson, Melissa Daubert, and Melinda Placko) will be given free access to a bare wall to build off of the others' contributions with paint, wire, and sculpting materials. The opening workshop, with an artists discussion, will take place May 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. You'll have to go to see the final result, which will be displayed through June 11 at 1410 East 30th St. For more information, call 216-621-2900 or go to zygotepress.com.

Convivium33 Gallery: 21st Century Expressions of the Second Sex. This exhibition boils down to the strength and fascination inherent in personal experience, and the way that an image or a story can sum up hardships, insights, and triumphs. In other words, it's simply a really good show about life. (Douglas Max Utter) Through May 8 at Josephat Arts Hall, 1433 East 33rd Street. For details, call 216-881-7838 or go to josephatartshall.com.

Custom Picture Framing Gallery: 15733 Madison Ave. in Lakewood. Call 216-221-1327 or go to custompictureframingoh.com for more info.

The Bonfoey Gallery: 1710 Euclid Ave. Call 216-621-0178 or visit bonfoey.com.

Forum Art Space: 1300 West 78th St. Learn more at forumartspace.blogspot.com.

Pink Eye Gallery: 3904 Lorain Ave.; call 330-671-6123.

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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