Two Artists Examine Race and Diversity in Latest Exhibition at FORUM Artspace

The latest exhibition at FORUM Artspace showcases the dynamic watercolors of Darius Steward and the enigmatic mixed media collages of Clotilde Jiménez. The show opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 20 as part of Third Friday at 78th Street Studios.

The exhibition’s title, "I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world," comes from the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates. Through their choice of subject matter, both artists explore and comment on modern society and their/our place within it. Both artists utilize bold, expressive imagery to convey sophisticated concepts and ideas.

“The struggles of racism, diversity and the ‘other’ have been pushed to the forefront of our nation's collective conscience,” says FORUM co-founder Karl Anderson. “Darius Steward and Clotilde Jiménez are using their practices to examine and comment on how their own lives are being shaped by the choices and expectations of others, the trials of the world's cultural capital and the capital of culture. Their art embodies a shared desire to confront inequalities and social judgment, challenging us to reevaluate and find a way forward. As Ta-Nehisi Coates said in Between the World and Me, ‘I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world.’”

Darius Steward received his MFA from the University of Delaware in 2010 after studying Drawing and Painting at the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA). Since graduation, his work has been exhibited at the William Busta Gallery, Zygote Press and even the Cleveland Clinic. His work resides in the permanent collections of the Cleveland Clinic, University of Delaware and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. A visual artist and educator, Steward teaches at Saint Ignatius High School, the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Clotilde Jiménez was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1990. He attended the Charter School for Architecture and Design in Philadelphia before earning his BFA in printmaking from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2013. Earlier this year, Jiménez participated in the London Initiative at Slade School of Fine Art in London, UK.

In 2016, Jiménez’s work is scheduled to be exhibited in Australia, Chile, NYC, Columbus and locally at the Cleveland Print Room and the Galleries at Cleveland State University. This year, his work has been exhibited locally at Transformer Station, MOCA Cleveland, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Fine Print Fair, Ursuline College, Heights Arts, Waterloo Arts, SPACES, the Morgan Conservatory, as well as NYC, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, France, London and Iceland. Did we mention he’s just 25 years old?

“Collage is a tentative name for my current body of work,” Jiménez explains. “It is an assemblage of abstracted colored cut outs alongside pastel and painterly marks that form my life’s tapestry. It transcribes and reconstructs the societal Idée fixe of the black body in popular culture, and undermines the notion of gender normatively within a black subjectivity. I equate the queerness and race body at the same time by critiquing the notion of ‘Black Is…Black Ain’t’ (rigid definitions of ‘Blackness’ that African Americans impose on each other), and the inherent set of rules and standards governed by our cultural hegemony. It is my own quest of a kind of self-definition and analysis of what I know as black masculinity, and what it means to just ‘Be.’”

The exhibition will close with a reception during next month’s Third Friday event from 6 to 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 18. Note: To enter FORUM, use their separate entrance through the main parking lot by the W. 78th Street side of the building.

(FORUM Artspace) 1300 W. 78th St., 216-288-5858,
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