At Pentagon Gallery:
Studies in Compassion
Pentagon Gallery's new show, Conscious Compassion, showcases works by three artists who reflect contemporary life by borrowing styles from the past. Among them is local artist Natalya Romanovsky, whose imagery at times resembles that of Picasso or Klee; in those instances, we find her rendering childish imagery with a conscientious hand and availing herself of warm, vibrant colors. At other times, she draws on nature for her cues. Her "sun figures" ripple as if in dancing in the wind, and her flowers jut and shake as dynamic actors, not mere background props. In contrast, Diane Hoeptner channels the Impressionists, taking their landscape aesthetic indoors and applying it to still lifes. Not only does her method capture the glints of light off ceramics and glass; it lends a gloss both photorealistic and imaginative to familiar subjects like flowers, fruit, and cats. Consider "Look Up" (left), a photo-like piece that reflects all the light cast off its feline subject; only close inspection reveals its novel brushwork. Also on display are Joe Grand's experimental paintings, which engage the viewer both visually and texturally. The show's theme is one of universal compassion and support; we'd say this is as good a place to start as any. It continues through February 4 at 3102 Mayfield Rd. in Cleveland Heights.; call 216-321-3362 to learn more. — Joseph Clark
1 point 618 Gallery: Blueprints. CSU professor Qian Li uses hand prints and minimalistic images to explore how history and society influence identity. The show continues through Feb. 12 at 6421 Detroit Ave. Call 216-281-1618 or go to 1point618gallery.com for more information.
Artists Archives of the Western Reserve: Annual Members Holiday Show & Sale. Featuring works by more than 30 artists in various media, the exhibit continues through Dec. 16 at 1834 East 123rd St. Call 216-721-9020 or visit artistsarchives.org.
Bonfoey Gallery: Return. Cleveland painter Frank Oriti examines the rugged power and solemn mien of America's young, blue-collar work force. In the process, he paints a provocative picture of a generation's dashed hopes when facing a crippled economy. Through Jan. 6 at 1710 Euclid Ave. Call 216-621-0178 or go to bonfoey.com.
Breakneck Gallery: Defending Erie. Conservation and celebration are the dual themes of this surf-centric exhibition of photography, paintings, and surfboards reflecting the joys of winter surfing on our Great Lake. The exhibit continues through Dec. 9 at 17020 Madison Ave in Lakewood. Call 216-767-5610 or go to breakneckgallery.com.
Cleveland Institute of Art Reinberger Galleries: Masters of Abstraction. Julian Stanczak, Ed Mieczkowski, and Robert Mangold, three of the most preeminent modern painters, display the depth and variety of form and expression represented in contemporary abstract painting. Through Dec. 17 at 11141 East Blvd. For more information, call 216-421-7407 or go to cia.edu/reinberger.
Cleveland Museum of Art: Chinese Art in an Age of Revolution. Works from the modern Chinese master Fu Baoshi (1920 to 1965) trace a turbulent time in that nation's history, as placid landscape paintings give way to politicized pieces commissioned to express Maoist ideology. Ticketed exhibition. Through Jan. 8 at 11150 East Blvd. Call 216-421-7350 or go to clevelandart.org to learn more.
CSU Gallery: The Last Exhibition. The final show in CSU's Chester Avenue gallery is a decades-spanning retrospective on the students and faculty who have defined the university's art program since 1975. Through Dec. 10 at 2307 Chester Ave.; learn more at csuohio.edu/artgallery.
Fawick Art Gallery at Baldwin-Wallace: NEO Print Invitational. More than two dozen emerging print artists from Northeast Ohio exhibit works utilizing traditional to cutting-edge printing technology. The show runs through Dec. 9 at 95 E. Bagley Rd. Call 440-826-2152 or go to bw.edu/academics/art/gallery.
The Gallery at Old Stone Church: Junkyard Essays. International multimedia artist Stacy Gibboni uses items from New Jersey salvage yards to tell stories about the art of the working man. Through Jan. 3 at 1380 Ontario St.; call 216-241-6145 or go to oldstonechurch.org.
Harris Stanton Gallery: Small Gems.This Akron exhibition showcases works by nearly 40 local and international artists, all under 11x14 inches (the works, not the artists). The pieces span two- and three-dimensional media, abstraction and representation, and every mood of expression. Through Dec. 17 at 2301 West Market St. Call 330-867-7600 or go to harrisstantongallery.com for more information.
Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery: Atmospheric Distortions. Falling somewhere between landscape, abstraction, and classical Japanese painting, Judith Brandon's canvases feel at once like cataclysmic events and elegant, terrible moments frozen in eternity. The exhibition runs through Jan. 14 at 1305 West 80th St. For more information, call 216-631-6719 or go to kennethpaullesko.com.
Kokoon Arts: Regional Visions. Regional painters and photographers interpret the local landscape in ways both traditional and abstract. Through Dec. 30 at 1305 West 80th St. For more information, call 216-832-8212 or go to wgsproductions.com.
Mastroianni Photography and Arts: How Did I Get Here? Sculptor Ron Knight renders patriotic imagery, military hardware, and staple creature comforts in found materials to comment on the decline of our collective livelihoods. Through Dec. 9 at 2688 West 14th St. For more information, call 216-235-6936 or go to mastroianniarts.com.
MOCA: Sculpture. Nationally recognized artist Ursula von Rydingsvard exhibits monumental-scale wooden sculptures emulating organic forms. Through March 31. Also: The Cuba Project. Hanging art, sculpture, and found-art installations by four Cuban artists speak to a proud heritage. Through Dec. 21 at 8501 Carnegie Ave. For more information, call 216-421-8671 or go to mocacleveland.org.
Opus Gallery: New Museum Collection 2011-2012. Russian-born Yuri Gorbachev, whose pieces have been collected by the Louvre, Kremlin Museum, and White House, will exhibit his signature works rendered in precious metals, gems, lacquers, and oil. Through Jan. 1 at 27629 Chagrin Blvd., Beachwood. For more information, call 216-595-1376 or go to opus-gallery.com.
Proximity: Home. Cleveland artists Jen and James Young investigate notions of place, connection, and history through a series of collaborative prints and paintings. Through Dec. 16 at 1667 East 40th St., Suite 1A. Visit proximitycleveland.com to learn more.
Sculpture Center: Gentlemen of Oddity/Look! See!/Marvel of Marvels. Sculptor Steven Jones and photographer Barry Underwood take advantage of this exhibition's sideshow vibe to experiment with the presentation and content of their work. Through Dec. 17. Call 216-229-6527 or go to sculpturecenter.org for more information.
Seiberling Gallery: Life on the Towpath. The Cuyahoga Valley Photographic Society embarked on a one-year project to document life on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Capturing the resource in all its natural glory, the resulting exhibition is on display through Feb. 25 at1403 West Hines Hill Rd. in Peninsula. Call 330-657-2909 or visit conservancyforcvnp.org for more information.
Shaheen Gallery: Bill Radawec: A Retrospective. The art of Bill Radawec, visual and three-dimensional artist, is celebrated in this career-spanning show. Through Jan. 20 at 740 West Superior Ave., Suite 101. Call 216-830-8888 or visit shaheengallery.com.
Spaces: Boundaries. Experimental composer Christopher Auerbach-Brown creates an installation using the gallery's windows as amplifiers and speakers. Also: Make CATopia Real. Ben Kinsley and Jessica Langley consult cats, through their owners, on the idea of utopia. And: Comfort Women Wanted. Chang Jin-Lee uses posters, photographs, and video installations to recount the horrors endured by Japanese women pressed into sex slavery in WWII. Through Jan. 20 at 2220 Superior Viaduct. Call 216-621-2314 or go to spacesgallery.org.
William Busta Gallery: Ohio Lands Forever. Brinsley Tyrrell uses novel materials to render statewide landscapes in colors and moods tuned to enchant the urban-dweller disconnected from nature. Also: Works by Cecelia Philips, Stephen Yusko, and Barbara Polster are on display. Through Dec. 31 at 2731 Prospect Avenue. To learn more, call 216-298-9071 or go to williambustagallery.com.
William Rupnik Gallery: Big Box of Fun. Czech-born Ales BASK Hostomsky commands traditional print and painting methodologies to address up-to-the-minute popular concerns and pop obsessions. The results are playful at heart while sinister in nature. Through Dec. 11 at 1117 Euclid Ave. Call 216-533-5575 or visit wrgcleveland.com.