With two solo exhibitions opening this weekend, evidence of the greatness of Cleveland-based artist George Mauersberger has never been more obvious. One of the region's most talented still-life artists, Mauersberger's depictions of everyday objects transcend realism. Mauersberger has a way of utilizing his materials to add personality and a life-like quality to his subjects.
Mauersberger's Modern Botanicals opens at the Bonfoey Gallery in downtown Cleveland with a free, public reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 3, and remains on view through April 1. George Mauersberger: Pastel Drawings 1991-2016 opens at the Butler Institute for American Art in Youngstown on Sunday, March 5, with a reception from 1 to 3 p.m which includes a gallery talk by Mauersberger at 2 p.m. This retrospective remains on view through May 14.
"We are thrilled to have this opportunity to exhibit George Mauersberger's majestic watercolors," says Marcia Hall, gallery director at the Bonfoey Gallery. "We have represented him for over 20 years and he continues to impress us with his mastery of both watercolor and pastel. This will be George's third solo exhibition here at the Bonfoey Gallery."
After his last solo show at Bonfoey featured black-and-white imagery exclusively, Mauersberger felt inspired to return to color. Modern Botanicals features the artist's new Flowerama series. Slightly surreal, Mauersberger's compositions enhance the natural beauty of his vibrant subjects, accomplishing something beyond the possibilities of even the most expensive camera. With bold colors and compositions arranged almost like bouquets, these new works have a presence on the gallery walls that draws viewers in for a closer look.
"The Flowerama series of paintings was inspired by summer light, as seen in Ohio and Florida, and by a desire to work with color again, since my last show at Bonfoey consisted mainly of drawings of a black leather motorcycle jacket," Mauersberger says. "Many of the other paintings were inspired by botanical prints and illustrations, in particular the ones I was able to view from the Hunt Collection in Pittsburgh as a student at Carnegie-Mellon University."
In Youngstown, George Mauersberger: Pastel Drawings 1991-2016 is Mauersberger's first major career retrospective. The exhibition includes drawings from throughout his career, featuring an eclectic array of subject matter captured in pastel.
Mauersberger has been the professor of drawing at Cleveland State University since 1987, including serving as art department chair for eight years. His own education began at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, before earning his BFA in drawing from Carnegie Melon University in Pittsburgh and his MFA in painting from Ohio University. His career in Cleveland began in 1986, when he won the top award for works on paper in the prestigious May Show at the Cleveland Museum of Art.