Negative Space Gallery Features Two Artists with International Ties

Tucked away on the upper level of Asian Town Center, Gadi Zamir’s Negative Space Gallery is currently exhibiting two Cleveland-based artists with international ties. Crossing Cultures is actually two separate solo exhibitions by Heather McClellan and Nahid Sadrian. Both artists were profoundly influenced by their exposure to and submersion in different cultures.

“Negative Space Gallery is honored to be showing the works of two talented Cleveland artists, Nahid Sadrian and Heather McClellan,” Zamir says. “Both artists have been deeply influenced by their experience living in foreign lands: Heather’s cultural exposure to a variety of countries and Nahid’s immigration from her native Iran to the U.S. In addition, both artists employ unique techniques with varnishes to produce visually striking imagery.”

Inside Negative Space’s main gallery, Heather McClellan’s portraits of women are influenced by her time spent living in the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan and Vietnam. During her time in Vietnam, McClellan learned traditional lacquer painting techniques, and she quickly found herself enveloped in the process. The exhibition includes a recent series of portraits of Vietnamese women, created using these lacquer techniques.

McClellan earned a BFA in Illustration from Cleveland Institute of Art. As a small child, she remembers sketching Ariel (from The Little Mermaid) again and again until she perfected it. As a teen, she was drawn to comic books, particularly the female forms, which can still be found in her current work.

In Cleveland, she has organized and participated in various artistic and community-based projects; including a Native American mural at the Lake County Historical Society, a silk screen project to raise funds for a local orphanage, a backdrop painted for an exhibition of over 500 nativities and the reissuing of Viktor Schreckengost’s iconic Jazz Bowl, created in Cleveland Institute of Art’s ceramics studio.

Across the hall from Negative Space, the upper level’s central area is filled with the work of the first participant in Negative Space’s new minority and refugee artist program. Nahid Sadrian was born in Yazd, Iran, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in art and architecture and her master’s in urban design.

“Nahid Sadrian is the first artist to participate in Negative Space's groundbreaking 'Art Is My Refuge' program, designed to nurture and promote minority and refugee artists in Northeast Ohio,” Zamir explains.

Sadrian currently lives and works in Northeast Ohio with her husband. Her creative process employs “reverse painting,” a technique in which paint is applied in inverse layers on glass and other transparent surfaces. This process complements her typical subject matter of landscapes, trees and flowers.

Both exhibitions remain on view through Feb. 10.

(Negative Space Gallery) 3820 Superior Ave., 216-485-3195,

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