Capsule reviews of current area art exhibitions

Cleveland art


Andy Warhol: Prints, Paintings, Photographs It's too bad Andy Warhol didn't live long enough to experience Facebook. He'd definitely have an awesome profile pic, as shown by this exhibit, which boasts his connections and networking skills. The show is composed of Warhol's work from the Allen Memorial Art Museum's permanent collection, including a recent donation of 150 photographs from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. (It probably took some networking to land that gift.) Over the years, Warhol took pictures of the people he came into contact with — people with money, fame, good looks, or all three. The head shots of women with bare shoulders and fire-engine-red lipstick are Polaroids that Warhol took for cash-cow portraits commissioned by members of high society during the 1970s and '80s. They're displayed here alongside shots of celebrities like ice-skater Dorothy Hamill, former Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, and wrestler-actor Mr. T. The exhibition is fleshed out with prints by other big-name artists with whom Warhol worked on portfolios, demonstrating his connections within the art world. The relationship that made this exhibition possible was the friendship between Warhol and longtime Oberlin art-history professor Ellen Johnson, and on display here is a green plastic shamrock hat that ended up in Johnson's possession after Warhol wore the hat to the 1963 opening of Six Painters and the Object at the Guggenheim — a defining exhibition in the history of pop art. Through August 10 in the Ripin Gallery of the Allen Memorial Art Museum, 87 North Main Street, Oberlin, 440-775-8665. — Theresa Bembnister


Artist as Quiltmaker XIII Crafting may be a hip hobby for twentysomethings, but only a hardcore crafter goes beyond the usual projects — jewelry fashioned from PBR bottle caps, crocheted iPod cozies, etc. — to take up quilting. The handiwork of such diehard crafty folk from across the country is on display for this biennial juried exhibition, and it sets the standard for those stocking up on fabric scraps. Here, visitors should be happy to note, quilters avoid common symmetrical blocks, instead making imaginative plays on the traditional bedcovering — moves that involve the same kind of design decisions about pattern, color, and texture made by painters and other less craft-y artists. As a result, these quilts are not functional; they're the expressions of individuals. Rebekka Seigel, for one, uses old yearbook photos to make a political statement in "The Real Cost of War: Class of 1911" and "The Real Cost of War: Class of 1966," in which she recreates the smiling faces of high-school seniors before their lives were presumably altered by the realities of warfare. Molly Elkind's "13 Ways of Looking at Dodd's Creek," meanwhile, features tiny strips of fabric, covered with whirling patterns of stitches and beads, which resemble the movement of running water. With its intimate size and intricate details, Elkind's quilt comes across as a personalized document. Through August 2 at the Firelands Association for the Visual Arts Gallery, 39 S. Main St., Oberlin, 440-774-7158. — Bembnister

Living in Your Imagination For Spaces' 30th-anniversary show, curator William Busta selected artists who displayed work there in each of the last 10 years. The resulting exhibition features not the fantastical, as the title might suggest, but mundane, everyday experiences, filtered through artists' robust imaginations. Florida artist Billie Grace Lynn gives concrete form to the "elephant in the room" with three life-size, puffy pachyderms. Fashioned from a diaphanous nylon, the animals stretch from floor to ceiling, dominating the front of the gallery. Viewers must walk around them to get a closer look at Cleveland artist Amy Casey's acrylic paintings on paper, which present scenes familiar to Clevelanders — drab neighborhoods, dingy industrial plants, and bright orange construction cones. Only Casey removes the ground from her cityscapes. The buildings hang from a system of ropes woven like a spiderweb, or are propped up by the slats of fences normally used to demarcate land and property. But the everyday is most apparent in "North," by Virginia artist Kevin Everson. In this short looped video, a bundled-up man stands near a scenic overlook in heavy winds, trying in vain to refold a road map. His unsuccessful attempts to recreate the original order of the creases mirror the disappointment of being caught in the cruddy weather — something we can all relate to. Through July 6 at Spaces, 2220 Superior Viaduct, Cleveland, 216-621-2314. — Bembnister

They Never Saw It Coming Graffiti is often illusionistic, but there is no illusion in Clevelander Bob Peck's exhibition. He presents his art, both abstract and representational work, in a smorgasbord of media, alongside biographical musings scribbled on the wall. He even includes a video documenting his work process. This provides viewers with insight into how each piece fits into Peck's evolution from street painter to gallery artist. Graffiti taught Peck self-confidence and discipline, and he still draws upon the character traits and the design skills he learned on the street, now that his paintings are executed on canvas and displayed on white walls. "After all these years, I still use the tools of the trade, and each abstract is a snippet of days past," he writes. The assuredness and grace of the line work in Peck's abstract paintings and drawings are stunning. The titles of his paintings — "Action Packed," "More Than Expected," and "Dive Bomb," among others — mirror the forcefulness of the loops and swirls of thick and thin lines that follow the outline of the soft-edged shapes of the background. His deceptively simple abstract drawings with marker and pen on paper have a wide variety of line weights and balanced compositions that undoubtedly reflect his start outside the studio. Through July 20 at Artchitecture Gallery, 1667 E. 40th St. Unit 1A, 216-533-5575. — Bembnister

Scroll to read more Arts Stories & Interviews articles
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.