The unique challenges of rendering nocturnal scenes long have inspired artists to use the night as a laboratory for experiments in shading and color. In her newest work, artist and gallery owner Hilary Aurand uses the night to explore pure form. A series of landscape pieces, all drawn from the overgrown cityscapes immediately surrounding her studio, make up her new collection. The scenes are lovingly familiar, filled with the furniture of the environment: We may see a dumpster, a semi-truck, and a few trees examined from different angles and distances, and avowedly impressionistic. The effect Aurand hopes to achieve in works like "Luminous Flux" (detail, left) is the look of "2D cutout layering": the appearance that objects take on when darkness hides their depth. Shapes are rendered not so much to accurately depict objects, but for their own sake as visual experiences. "I wanted to put aside the distraction of details and focus on the paint, rather than objects themselves," Aurand says. "In coloring, layout, and details, you can lose that first impressionistic moment that inspires a piece. I'm letting drawing come back into play." The show runs through July 2 at Legation, Aurand's studio and gallery at 1300 D West 78th Street. For more information, call 216-650-4201 or go to legationagallery.com — Joseph Clark
Akron Art Museum: M.C. Escher: Impossible Realities. This crowd-pleasing show features more than 130 of Escher's works, including such instantly recognizable pieces as "Drawing Hands." Extended through June 5. Also: All-Star Jazz. Jazz history comes to life in the photography of Herman Leonard, who captured greats like Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra in moments of staged glory and private vulnerability. Through July 10 at 1 South High St.; call 330-376-9186 or go to akronartmuseum.org.
Artists Archives of the Western Reserve: May Members Show. Featuring works by 45 of AAWR's member artists, this show reflects the collective's depth of creativity and diversity of expression. Through June 17 at 1834 East 123rd St. Call 216-721-9020 or go to artistsarchives.org.
Beachwood Arts Council. Inspirations: Fiber/Paint/Glass. Works by fiber artist Jodi Kanter join paintings by Lynn Kaye and glass creations from Mark Sudduth in this new exhibition. An opening reception on May 28 from 5 to 8 p.m. offers a chance to meet the artists and enjoy food, drink, and live music by cellist Marlena Ballena and violinist Filip Lazovski. Through June 19 at the Beachwood Community Center, 25225 Fairmount Blvd., Beachwood; call 216-292-1492 or go to beachwoodarts.org.
Bonfoey Gallery: In, Around & About. Painter Randall Tiedman creates sprawling, fantastic cityscapes based on the industrial districts of Cleveland. Though colored in rusty, muddy browns and shades of twilight, spare points of light suggest enduring and dynamic life. Through June 1 at 1710 Euclid Ave.; call 216-621-0178, or go to bonfoey.com.
Cleveland Museum of Art: The Lure of Painted Poetry: Japanese and Korean Art. Designed to illuminate the intricate connections between Chinese poetry and its reinterpretation as visual art by Japanese and Korean artists, this exhibition features 80 diverse works spanning nearly seven centuries; almost all of the pieces are drawn from the museum's preeminent collection. Through August 28. Also: Indian Kalighat Paintings. Highly stylized and brightly colored, these works were originally created as souvenirs for 19th-century tourists. Today, they are highly regarded as marking the beginning of modernism in Indian art. Through September 18 at 11150 East Blvd. in University Circle; call 216-421-7340 or visit clevelandart.org.
CSU Art Gallery: Presence. This exhibition features works in a variety of media by artists Phillip Buntin, Blake Cook, Jeesun Park, Dan Tranberg, and Lizbeth Wolfe. Through June 18 at 2307 Chester Ave. Call 216-687-2103 or go to csuohio.edu/artgallery.
Harris Stanton Gallery: Extraordinary Environs. Artists Charlotte Lees and Linda Zehler approach nature through diverse media — sculpture and oil paintings — yet each comment on the relationship between humanity and nature. Through June 4 at 2310 West Market St. Call 330-867-0590 or go to harrisstantongallery.com.
Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery: Transmutations. John Nativio exhibits paintings, drawings, and sculpture, including his signature surrealistic paintings of powdery pastel furniture and everyday objects containing miniature landscape scenes, meant to signify, among other things, the intended and unintended consequences of urbanization and the marginalizing of the rural and unspoiled. Through July 2 at 1305 West 80th Street. Call 216-631-6719 or go to kennethpaullesko.com.
Kokoon Arts: Eternal Vibrations. Three artists draw upon mystic spiritual traditions for their inspiration. Through July 9 at 1305 West 80th St. For more information, call 216-832-8212 go to kokoonarts.com.
O Gallery: On the Wall/Off the Wall: A Functional Art Show. Russian-born artist Alice Kiderman reasserts the value of art in hard times by producing a series of abstract sculptures with every-day functional applications. Through July 1 at 2101 Richmond Rd, Beachwood. Call 330-921-1234 or go to kocustoms.com.
Pop Shop Gallery: 6 Degress of Juxtaposition. The Pop Shop celebrates its sixth year with this retrospective featuring more than 20 artists, including some who were there at the beginning. Also: Connect the Dots, a "rad" exhibit at next-door's (art)ificial gallery inspired by the pop art of the '80s and '90s. Through June 4 at 17020 Madison Ave. in Lakewood; 216-227-8440, popshopgallery.com, or whatisartificial.com.
Proximity: Lucid in the Land. Cleveland-based artists James Quarles and Robert Krumholz find inspiration in childhood toys, memories, and pop culture for a show that communicates both whimsy and grandeur. Through June 10 at 1667 East 40th St. For more information, call 216-262-8903 or go to proximitycleveland.com.
River Gallery: Ceramics Invitational. Local ceramic artists of every stripe showcase a diverse selection of functional yet decorative pieces at this exhibition. Through June 11 at 19046 Old Detroit Rd. in Rocky River. Call 440-331-8406 or go to rivergalleryarts.com.
The Sculpture Center: Locating Eden. Annie Strader combines sound, video, and subtly but profoundly altered everyday objects to embody, explore, and vindicate the experience of nostalgia. Also: Declarations of Truth. The discovery of historical revisionism inspired Elaine Hullihen to engineer this participatory piece providing a space for attendees to make their own "declarations" of truth from their perspective. Both shows run through June 4 at 1834 East 123rd St.; call 216-229-6527 or go to sculpturecenter.org.
Shaheen Gallery: Oil Studies 2006- 2010. Faris McReynolds' paintings range from caricatured representation to the expressionistic and borderline abstract, often featuring groups of bare-limbed young people in dynamic action. The exhibition continues through May 27 at 740 West Superior Ave. Call 216-830-8888 or go to shaheengallery.com for details.
SPACES: Pink Milk Mild. Rainbow Lightning, the creative duo of Chelsea Blackerby and Erica Hoosic, sew memories into a tunneled environment that is traveled and experienced rather than viewed. Also: All That Glitters. Tamar Harpaz combines sculpture and projection to create shifting patterns of line and shadow as part of a 9-week residency exploring parallels between Western and Israeli cultures. Also: Farmed: The New Agronomists. This hands-on educational exhibit seeks to de-romanticize farming via a series of workshops and lectures by international and local horticulturalists. Through July 10 at 2220 Superior Viaduct. For more information, call 216-621-2314 or go to spacesgallery.org.
Tregoning & Company: Aspects of Modern Life. Matt Dibble's abstract works use thick, muscular brushstrokes to transcribe a simple vocabulary of rough geometric forms from which emerge striking compositions. Through May 31 at Tregoning's North Gallery, 1300 West 78th St.; call 216-281-8626 or go to tregoningandco.com.
William Busta Gallery: Memory's Witness: Pamela Dodds, known largely as a painter of pastel-bright but quietly dignified works, departs from the familiar with dark woodcuts exploring loss and anguish. Through June 9. Also Passionate Blessings: Mark Howard eschews narrative for a sequence of free-standing "signs" which refocus the viewer on the use of meaning in social interactions, media consumption, and personal reflection. Through June 1 at 2731 Prospect Ave. Call 216-298-9071 or go to williambustagallery.com.
Zygote Press: Three Artists: One Exquisite Wall. Corrie Slawson, Melissa Daubert, and Melinda Placko were given free access to a bare wall to build off of the others' contributions with paint, wire, and sculpting materials. See the result through June 11 at 1410 East 30th St.; call 216-621-2900 or go to zygotepress.com.