"Stargazer," 36in x 48in, Oil on Panel, 2022
HEDGE Gallery next week debuts a new exhibition featuring work from its roster of artists, among them some of the most prolific in Northeast Ohio.
Opening on Friday, July 15 at 5 p.m. and running through August 26, the exhibition aims to expose gallery-goers to local artists working in a variety of mediums.
Celebrating 13 years in business, HEDGE, located at the 78th Street Studios, has invested its efforts in local and regional artists since its inception. The gallery represents these artists and promotes them as they work towards elevating their careers and offers developmental support in a variety of ways, including exhibiting their work.
“Each one of HEDGE Gallery's artists are creating work that is distinct in style, theme and materials,” said participating artist, owner and gallery director Hilary Gent. "For example: Sarah Curry explores the lives and personalities of young women through her realistic gouache figures painted on black flocked backgrounds. Jessica Pinsky creates weavings on a jacquard loom with a variety of hand dyed materials exploring the human experience. Matthew Gallagher uses encaustic wax, layering it to create three dimensional, sculptural works that create optical illusions of aerial landscapes. You'll have to come see the exhibit to experience each of our artists' specialized work!”
The exhibition encompasses abstract, figurative and representational work, and will include painting, printmaking, textile, and sculpture. Featured artists include Justin Brennan, with his bright, dashing figurative paintings and abstracted portraits; David King, whose work draws from old family photos and surges with vibrant and whimsical impressionism; and Douglas Max Utter, author, former Scene contributing visual arts writer, and prolific painter with an exceptional career with countless accolades.
Brennan told Scene: “Hedge is an important Cleveland gallery which exhibits important Cleveland artwork of its represented and non-represented artists. I feel grateful about being represented. It is an honor. Hillary and everyone at HEDGE really work for its artists with shows and promotion opportunities. “
Also featured in this exhibition is Katy Richards, whose fluid brushwork in oils conveys light and shadow in such a way as to breathe life into inanimate objects in her still lifes, captures emotion in her subjects’ expressions, and exploits the flesh in her anatomical figurative dissections.
In Richard’s piece “Stargazer,” a woman is pictured floating on her back, submerged in water as the sunlight is refracted and glistens along her body while she confronts the viewer, head tilted and arms spread. The color swishes around the frame like an eel and feels almost as if one could dive in and get wet.
“To create 'Stargazer,' I used a painting that I started in 2017 as the ground to build from,” said Richards. “The original painting was a close up of a stargazer fish. I have recently been interested in creating a pictorial space that fluctuates between flatness and illusionary depth, using layered imagery and with varying painting application techniques. What emerges is a space that is fluid and contradictory at the same time. From a distance you can see a figure floating in the water, but up close the representation breaks down into strokes, and fragments of the original underpainting come through.
"The image I used as reference for the figure is from a Victoria’s Secret swimsuit catalog. These advertisements read as “Birth of Venus” paintings from the past, goddesses emerging from the sea, saturated with desire, and revealing beauty ideals of the time, but in this painting instead of the goddess emerging out of the sea the figure is dissolving back into the waters. She gazes out just like the stargazer, looking beyond as she breaks down into the surface.”
This piece gives us a look into Richard’s process and her state of mind while creating. We can see here there is an inner conversation happening, one that is emotionally moving, the result being a visually stunning piece of work which propels and engages the viewer.
“Katy Richards is one of the most outstanding oil painters in Cleveland. Her themes vary from luscious figurative subject matters to ethereal still lifes and landscapes,” said Gent. “We will be hosting a solo exhibition of her recent work in March 2023, but visitors can view one of her newest paintings in this show.”
The exhibition will be going on during Cleveland’s Front Triennial and CAN Triennial.
A full list of featured artists can be found at HEDGE’s website.
Gallery hours are Wednesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.