The Galleries at CSU Open Four New Exhibitions, Each Telling a Stirring Story

As the spring semester begins, the Galleries at Cleveland State University are ready to debut the first four exhibitions of 2017 with an opening reception this Friday, Jan. 20. The evening begins with a gallery conversation with the artists at 4 p.m., and continues with an opening reception following until 8 p.m. At 6 p.m. in the North gallery, dance artists Kathy Diehl, Jenna Hanlon and Lisa Yanofsky perform Illuminations of Identity with musical artist Mike McNamara.

“There is no thematic thread that holds this group of exhibitions together other than the intense individuality of each artist’s vision, and the resolute conviction of their artistic pursuit,” says CSU Gallery Director Robert Thurmer. “Each of the presenting artists operates in a method distinctive to their practice; each is deeply committed to their interests, and each is masterfully engaged with their subject and their medium. Whereas there is much diversity in method and medium, as well as content and concept in these exhibitions, all of the artists engage our senses, our sensibilities and our minds in the pursuit of understanding the human condition. There is much here to be seen, felt and understood, both on a deeply personal level and on the scale of universal truths. We hope that these exhibitions will cause you to pause and contemplate the artists’ vision and that your experience with these works of art will enhance your life in a positive way.”

The South Gallery, viewable from the building’s storefront on Euclid Avenue, features Susan Squires’ From There to Here, showcasing her geometric abstractions created by painting with encaustic wax.

“As the title suggests, Susan Squires’ process of making the pictures is a journey of discovery,” Thurmer says. “Her production method is a happy alignment of her physical and mental practice as she develops her images through meditative layering of color, texture, and other meaningful elements such as pages from books, while oil stick and bees wax engender musings full of feeling, mood, and an intuitive interpretation of her subject.”

Meanwhile, Miriam Norris Omura’s Ghosts and Strangers features the artist’s dyed Tensel weavings, which utilize the artist’s personal history as a starting point for her exploration of how memories are layered in our mind, and the abstraction of our past.

Elaborating on Omura’s exhibition, Thurmer says, “In Ghosts and Strangers, Omura adapts a weaving – dying – re-weaving technique pioneered by Hildur Asgeirsdóttir Jónsson who she studied with while living in Cleveland. Using personal, historic photographs as a starting point, she explores her family history and what gets lost in translation. As each image is transformed in the process of re-weaving, a new, perhaps more personal, interior aspect of the subject is allowed to reveal itself.”

The Media Room hosts a special screening of local independent filmmaker Robert Banks’ latest project, Paper Shadows. Using our city’s contemporary urban landscape as its setting, Paper Shadows explores issues of race, class, gender, exploitation and the often distorted images of these subjects across the mass media of contemporary culture.

“Using both old-fashioned and state-of-the art filmmaking techniques, Robert Banks creates a moody and insightful testament to unseen and largely unacknowledged aspects of life in Cleveland in the second decade of the 21st Century, says Thurmer. “With a gripping original score and the emotional power of Black and White photography, Banks drives home the frustration and alienation of the contemporary urban landscape.”

Lastly, the North Gallery hosts Riparazioni, an installation by Anne Kmiek of hand-embroidered christening gowns juxtaposed by other symbolic, handcrafted items paying homage to 11 historic women who made significant contributions to society and the Church.

“In exploring their brave and fortitudinous, and in some instances, tragic lives, Anne Kmieck gives further meaning to the women’s existence by allowing the viewer to be touched in a deeply spiritual, as well as a genuinely aesthetic way,” says Thurmer. “The women’s stories have largely gone unappreciated, however, in this presentation, their legacies resonate with our notions of justice, beauty and truth.”

The exhibitions remain on view through Feb. 25 during regular gallery hours: Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. and by appointment.

(The Galleries at CSU) 1307 Euclid Ave., 216-687-2103,

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