Friday, February 23, 2018

Scale exhibit

Yesterday, I drove to Elyria to attend the opening of Scale, a group exhibit at the Stocker Gallery curated by Nancy Halbrooks, longtime professor at Lorain County Community College. I had no idea what a huge affair this would be! Outside the main gallery space was artwork by Rhodes Rozman (whom I had met years ago when she was a papermaking intern) and Tyler Heganbarth, alongside a public and collaborative piece to its right.
People were welcome to add to the sign that indicated the show around the corner, encouraging a lively exchange for the entire duration of the 4-hour opening. You can see Rhodes' mother, Susan, in the long coat busy adding to the piece. Susan runs Fiddlehead Gallery in the Larchmere neighborhood of Cleveland, a longtime, passionate advocate and resident of the area.
Also outside the gallery is a case of artwork by artists in the show as well as selections from the Joan Perch collection of Russian Miniatures. Nancy conceived this show as not only a way to feature artists we don't always get to see in the region (and managed to represent every decade from artists in their 20s to their 80s!), but as a valuable teaching exhibit. You can see Gene Epstein's and Amy Fishbach's work, and a couple of my dresses. There was so much more of Amy's prolific book art inside cases in the gallery; I wasn't able to shoot it all!
Upon entering the main gallery, Jan Zorman's striking string drawing greets you. I talked to her about how challenging this install was, and admire her commitment to making it. I used to constantly imagine installations that required tons of rigging from the ceiling, but often scrapped the ideas because I knew how difficult they were. I always loved Fred Sandback's work whenever I encountered it, but it's even more satisfying to know the artist—Jan was the curator who gave me my first solo exhibit in Cleveland years ago!
On the other side of Jan's work is a lovely niche for my paper dresses. Nancy said that hanging the large hanbok and a couple of other larger pieces helped act as anchors to install the rest of the show. I do not envy her and her installation team, but am glad they managed so well: 16 artists + an existing collection = a TON of work to display in a cohesive manner.
Looking past my work, there are fantastic miniature ceramic pieces by Diane Marrapese, plenty already sold, and the large and ambitious ceramic and enamel work by Brinsley Tyrrell.
These two wall pieces are enamel on steel, though you could easily walk by assuming they were paintings on canvas. Brinsley also did the ceramic sculpture in the corner, as well as a few others in the show.
This one was one of my favorites, by Stevie Lee Tanner. A printmaker (and the new printmaking tech at the Cleveland Institute of Art), she creates painterly landscapes and renders them even more desolate through manipulation of the mulberry paper they are printed onto.
I met Stevie as well as her husband Ryan Craycraft, whose large drawing in charcoal you can see in the center. They offer a full-circle story of artists who grew up in the area, went to LCCC, went away for a while to get more experience and training, and then returned. Ryan now teaches at LCCC and helped hang the show.
This gallery has gorgeous floors. In the case: Amy's books, Russian miniatures, and one of my small hanbok. The large portrait is by Tony Trunzo, and the white balloon tethered to an 8-pound weight is by Blake Cook. The smaller paintings and tiny but intricate graphite drawings to Blake's work's right are by Russ Revock, with Dennis Long's large canvas and wood piece to the left (another of Dennis' paintings is behind the balloon). The colorful tag drawings to the very left are by Catherine Rozmarynowycz.
Gallery shot from another end
I loved the title on this pair by Diane, "Pete and Repeat".
More of her ceramic pieces, miniature and not, are on the pedestals to the left. There was so much to see that I recommend multiple visits, or a long chunk of time to enjoy everything. I walked around the hallways to see student work and thought about Nancy's legacy as a teacher and art dept coordinator at LCCC: she has shepherded an enormous number of students through this program and encouraged them to achieve beyond what they could imagine at the time. She has nurtured a wide community and given so much of her life to teaching, while also making her own art (her show is still up in Oberlin). This kind of dedication is not for the faint of heart, and I'm grateful to be in her large orbit.

Scale is open through March 23 and even features a series of four talks given by the artists. Visit if you can!

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