When Canopy Collective opened its doors at 3910 Lorain Ave. last spring, we told you to expect big things. Over the past year, Canopy has continued to evolve beyond simply retail and consignment sales with innovative and engaging programming, quality exhibitions by talented, emerging local artists and exciting special events. This weekend, Canopy begins a new chapter with the first of a series of themed group exhibitions. Canopy co-founder Erika Durham has chosen Modern Sexuality as the first theme in this ongoing series. The exhibition opens with a free public reception on Friday, Feb. 5, from 6 to 10 p.m.
"The series of group shows is going to be interspersed throughout the year with solo exhibitions," reveals Durham. "Each Canopy group show will feature artists who show their work in the Canopy shop. We will have an annual themed show at the beginning of each year that is open to all artists we work with (currently 70-plus). The shows that follow during the year will feature smaller, curated groups of four to six artists."
The theme of Modern Sexuality was chosen for its ability to both intrigue and discomfort. From this starting point, the artists were free to express themselves in any way they wished. The works range from intimately personal to universally applicable. While some artists have created serious work, others approach the subject with humor and absurdity. Through these different lenses, the artists examine the subject from virtually all angles. As a result, the artists explore and illuminate the complexity of their theme.
Modern Sexuality is designed to encourage a dialogue of a subject some may find uncomfortable. Durham hopes the exhibition will initiate a discussion that will carry on far beyond the gallery walls.
"With the Modern Sexuality show, I am hoping to create, along with the other artists, an environment that will encourage conversation and debate on the topic. Sexuality is something all of us experience, and in many cases can be an enormous part of our lives. The more opportunities we have to confront it with openness and acceptance, the better understanding we will have. Everything else aside, sexuality is just that: sexy. It's a mysterious and alluring topic and I can't wait to see what all of these amazing artists create."
Modern Sexuality features work by nearly 40 artists who regularly sell their work through consignment at the Canopy shop in the front half of the space. These artists have created an eclectic array of artwork, including photography, painting, sculpture, illustration, woodworking, glass, apparel and more.
"Canopy has an incredible diversity of artists showing their work in the shop," Durham explains. "The goal with the group shows is to give those artists further opportunities to have their work be seen, and to challenge them to create something that may be outside of their norm. Canopy's mission has always been to create more chances for more people to expand the reach of their art, and to foster the beautiful community of people who have come together because of a shared love for their craft."
Participating artists include Abbey Blake, Adam Jaenke, Ali Phillips, Allyson Humbert, Amber Esner, Andrew Gabriel, Angela Oster, August Antoinette, Brittany Barnhart, Caitie Moore, Christophe Kochheiser, Domenic Fiorello, Erika Durham, Erin Costello, Erin Elizabeth Wehrenberg, Haley Morris, Jason Look, John G., Jordan Wong, Julie Schabel, Katy Kosman, Lisa Paulovcin, Lauren Feighan, Marjorie Harris, Martha Clark-Plank, Micaela Colleen Barrett, Michael Hudecek, Mike Sobeck, Nikohl Gallas, Patrick Jenkins, Phoebe Thomas, Rob Benigno, Robert J. Knauer, Skip Streeter, Spare Parts, Steve MacAdams, Steve Simmons, Todd Feichtmeier and Two Foxes Taxidermy.
Additionally, Canopy promises a special interactive element for visitors on opening night. "I'm going to keep the interactive element a secret because I'd like for people to be surprised with it," Durham says.
Modern Sexuality remains on view at Canopy through Feb. 19.
The next show in this ongoing series will take place in March. Although the date, title and theme have yet to be announced, the show will feature new and recent work by Alan Dunn, Erika Durham, Gabby Cryer, Todd Feichtmeier and Adam Jaenke.
Canopy Collective is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and for special events.