'Material Girls' Exhibition at HEDGE Gallery Among Terrific Highlights at Tonight's Third Friday Event

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This month’s Third Friday event at 78th Street Studios is sure to be another busy evening. June’s highlights include: Material Girls by Katy Richards and Nikki Woods at HEDGE Gallery (Suite 200), TRANSOM by Andy Dreamingwolf and Scot Phillips at Cleveland West Arts League (Suite 110) and a $50 Show at E11even 2 (Suite 112). It all takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. this Friday, June 19 (some individual gallery hours may vary).

Katy Richards and Nikki Woods have been friends since attending Cleveland Institute of Art. Richards graduated in 2011 and went on to earn her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2014. Woods graduated in 2012 and joined CIA’s faculty the following year, currently working as the Project and Visiting Artist Coordinator of CIA’s Reinberger Galleries.

“This summer, the walls of HEDGE Gallery will be filled with luscious color and the intimate dialogues that are formed between paintings by Katy Richards and Nikki Woods, both graduates from The Cleveland Institute of Art,” explains HEDGE Gallery Director Hilary Gent. “The show title, Material Girls, refers to the artists’ use of paint as a thick, gestural material and to the feminist attributes in their subject matter.”

Both artists explore the permeable boundary between realistic depiction and emotional abstraction.

“I take pleasure in the sensual aspects of painting, searching through its materiality, slipping between paint and form, to arrive at an image,” describes Katy Richards. “I understand my process as a form of sublimation. Painting allows me to indulge in exploring the body. The surface becomes the site where I take pleasure in manipulating the paint, transforming it through my hand and gesture, creating titillating forms and passages for me to slip my brush through.”

She continues: “My work is about the corporeal body, and blurring the body’s distinctions between interior and exterior. The fleshiness of the imagery and the quality of the paint complement each other in speaking about the materiality of the body, its meatiness and its viscosity of fluids. The viewer is presented with a 'raw' open body, turning the inside out, blurring the two together, dissolving the body’s borders between subject and other into a landscape of flesh and fluids.”
The duo’s work is a natural fit, pairing together as well as the women themselves. Despite being influenced by quite different subject matter, their process and overarching concept are quite similar. The two seamlessly complement each other in this cohesive exhibition.

"I think that Katy and I’s work speaks to each other on multiple levels both visually and conceptually,” adds Nikki Woods. “Though our subjects range from severed meat heads to banal party décor, our work is deeply connected through our relationship with paint as a means of depiction and material conduit. Works compete with each other to find precarious balance; they whisper to the viewer and reveal their dirty secrets. What exists on the surface forces you to a certain visceral awareness, what is seen isn’t always what is there."

Material Girls will remain on view through the summer at HEDGE, and a number of additional artists such as Aleksandra Vandenhove and Ken Love will be exhibiting in HEDGE’s Foyer Gallery. Additional viewing hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment.

Meanwhile, Cleveland West Arts League’s (CWAL) latest exhibition presents a modern twist on the “five and dime” drugstore sensibility of the 1930s. Andy Dreamingwolf and Scot Phillips’ TRANSOM explores the history of pharmaceutical drugs and miracle cure advertisements from the perspective of today’s surreal pharmaceutical ads. With more than 20 works, the exhibition juxtaposes the past and the present, using each to comment on the other.

"TRANSOM promises to be one the more daring exhibitions on our calender this year at Cleveland West Art League,” guarantees CWAL Gallery Director Daniel Neforos.“ Dreamingwolf and Phillips' work address themes including the pharmaceutical industry and nostalgia. This is a salient body of work and I look forward to the public's response to it. It has been an honor to work with both artists and to share in their vision for this show opening at this month's Third Friday."

Both artists are based in Akron. Andy Dreamingwolf is completely self-taught. His paintings recently won first place in ARTneo’s Cleveland Creates, a regional juried exhibition at 78th Street Studios. As a result, he earned an future solo exhibition at ARTneo. Curatorial Collective recently named him “one of Ohio’s rising contemporary art stars.” His thoughtful, highly rendered paintings evoke a strong sense of nostalgia.

“I had been doing some new work with colors which is not my usual palette, and started painting old narcotic bottles,”elaborates Andy Dreamingwolf. “I'm a big fan of the James Fogle novel and subsequent Gus Van Sant movie Drugstore Cowboy, and thought it would be interesting to create a show based on pharmaceuticals and novelties.”
Scot Philips graduated from Kent State University. His work is inspired by hand-painted halftone patterns of analog-era print advertisements; specifically, a process called dithering. Dithering refers to the varying density and pattern of black and white dots to simulate shades of gray. Traditionally, the process is used for offset printing or screen printing, but Phillips recreates the pattern by hand, mimicking a typically mechanical process.

“Scot immediately came to mind as I thought our works would play well together, and I had wanted to do a show with him as well,” continues Dreamingwolf. “Since then, we've been working closely together for about a year and a half. His vision was pretty clear from the start of our discussions as to what he would be creating ; nostalgic drug store shop-keeps, and workers of yesteryear, where I ended up narrowing my scope from Pharmaceuticals and novelties to just focus more on the usage end, and drug companies themselves. I've never worked on a show this long, but feel the time was well spent.”

TRANSOM will remain on view through next Third Friday, July 17, with a closing reception from 6 to 10 p.m.

Just around the corner, E11even 2 presents its latest Fifty Dollar Show, where all the works in the gallery are priced at just $50 each. The show is hung salon-style, with works covering the walls from floor to ceiling. Starting at 5 p.m., this cash-and-carry event is first come, first served, as works are sold right off the walls. Be sure to get there early for the best selection.

“I love the idea of $50 shows,” says E11even 2 co-founder Rich Cihlar. “I've participated in many of them and have had many of my own. It's a great way for artists to sell older work, or smaller work at great price point. And, it's the ideal way for new collectors to get started on a collection. I mean $50 bucks is like a night at the bar, a dinner date, and many other forms of disposable income. When you buy artwork you have it to show off to your friend and decorate your home.”

Participating artists include Sergio Andjuar II, Christina Bender, Rich Cihlar, Katie Harroff, Ryan Kacsandy, Chad “CHOD” Kimes, Steve King, George Kocar, Tessa LeBaron, Billy Nainiger, Bob Peck, Christina Sadowski, Rick Sans, David Shafron, Tracie Szalai, Melanie Victoria and more.

“We're doing a cash and carry event, which means when pieces sell they leave the gallery,” adds Cihlar. “So the earlier you get to the show, the better the selection you have. We try to make a game out of buying art, because it's just fun. That's why the show card image says, ‘The $50 Show, where $50 makes you a winner.’ We have about 18 artists in the show and totaling about 40-50 pieces available including some that are bigger than 3 ft. by 3 ft. So there are some real deals!”

You’ll also have another chance to see Preston Buchtel’s solo exhibition at Kenneth Paul Lesko (Suite 212), Richard Peterson’s show at FORUM Art Space (Suite 103), my own Funny Money II at Tregoning and Co. (Suite 101) and much, much more. I’ll be participating in a gallery talk moderated by William Tregoning III at 7:30 p.m. in the gallery.
As always, Third Friday is free and open to the public. The Touch Suppertruck will be slinging tacos in the parking lot.

(78th Street Studios) 1300 W. 78th St., 330-819-7280, 78thstreetstudios.com

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