Six in Studio is an annual, month-long project organized by the Cleveland West Art League (CWAL). Each year, CWAL invites a guest curator to select six member artists of CWAL to share its gallery space at 78th Street Studios as a communal studio. At March's opening reception, this year's artists presented the initial stage of their creative process. This Friday's closing reception takes place from 6 to 10 p.m., as part of this month's Third Friday open studios event. During the reception, the artists will reveal the results of their residency.
"Six in Studio is one of the founding shows of CWAL and is designed to foster collaboration between the artists selected," says CWAL gallery director and programming committee chair Daniel Neforos. "The diverse work and themes created are always a surprise each year, and I could not be more pleased with this year's showing. The organic nature of the works created communicates with each other and the architecture of 78th Street Studios itself."
This year's guest curator is Cleveland-based artist Arabella Proffer. She selected Abbey Blake, Marissa Bona, Gabe Kenney, Carmen Romine, Catherine Spencer and Theresa Yondo.
"All of the artists I selected I find do something relating to the word or notion of 'organic,' or organisms," explains Proffer. "I wasn't sure there would be a cohesive theme in who I picked, but when we met, each artist mentioned the word 'organic' when describing their work, so that was a relief I wasn't just imagining it. Almost all women too! That was not intentional when I looked at the submissions of images, but everyone has commented on it and seems glad it worked out that way since it is, sadly, unusual in most art shows."
Entering the gallery, Gabe Kenney's light box (X-ray viewer) and projections are sure to draw you in. Kenney captivated viewers last month when he "quarantined" his section of the gallery in semi-transparent plastic and (somewhat ritualistically) cleansed the space while wearing a hazmat suit. This Friday, Kenney will present work exploring fractal (aka sacred) geometry. Fractal geometry is the fundamental pattern of division found at every level throughout nature. Kenney's installation is influenced by the work of brilliant minds like Buckminster Fuller, Terrence McKenna and Nassim Haramein. He studied printmaking at Pennsylvania State University.
To the right of Kenney's projections is a larger wall shared by Carmen Romine and Marissa Bona. Last month, Romine presented three empty frames to symbolize the work she will be presenting this Friday. Romine's work is created by repurposing, or upcycling, discarded materials. Through her process, Romine gives new life to obsolete objects. Romine's background in fiber & material studies at Cleveland Institute of Art continues to play a role in her work.
Marissa Bona is a current junior at Cleveland Institute of Art, majoring in printmaking. Her education, as well as her current occupation in a retail clothing store, had a major influence on her project. Bona's portion of the wall is lined with strips of printed register tape of varying lengths. These paper strips document sales at her job. Some strips are only about a foot long, but some are so long that they spiral to the floor. All the receipts were collected during the month-long residency, and each chronicles a different day of her life. Through this visual representation, it's clear that some days are much longer than others — both literally and symbolically. Bona will graduate from CIA next spring.
The back "wall" of the gallery is filled with windows. In previous years, resident artists have been very inspired by these windows. This year, Abbey Blake's cut paper installation takes full advantage of the benefits of this space. The work resembles a fungus spreading throughout the gallery. It might sound off-putting, but it's actually a beautiful and captivating installation. The work extends across the windows and over part of the ceiling. As the day turns to night, the light coming through the windows directly affects the work. Be sure to get to CWAL before dusk to see for yourself. Blake is another recent graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art — which is clearly well represented in this year's Six in Studio. Additionally, HEDGE Gallery (Suite 200) will host WIRED and Ready to Hang, a juried exhibition of work by current CIA students on the second floor from 5 to 9 p.m.
Continuing around the room, the last wall is shared by Catherine Spencer and Theresa Yondo. Last month, Spencer displayed a few blank canvases — similarly alluding to her final project as Romine did with her empty frames. Spencer has created a series of nine colorful abstract paintings. CWAL's exhibition space and her studio-mates inspired her to create larger work. She'll be presenting three larger paintings and six smaller works. Spencer was born in Cortland, New York, and studied fine arts and art history at NYSCC at Alfred University, as well as the Santa Reparata International School of Art in Florence, Italy, in 2012. After receiving her BFA, Spencer relocated to Cleveland.
Theresa Yondo's portion of the gallery will be filled with small, ceramic windows. The overall composition of her installation was inspired by the aforementioned studio windows and the industrial architecture of 78th Street Studios, which was once an electric car factory, before serving as the world headquarters for American Greetings. Through holes in the windows, viewers see different imagery placed behind the ceramic material. The use of ceramics is ambitious for a month-long project. She hopes to have about 16 windows for this Friday's reception. Yondo studied ceramics at Kent State University.
The closing reception for Six in Studio — along with the rest of Third Friday at 78th Street Studios — is free.