Brownhoist Gallery honors Cleveland's industrial past:
Form, Function & the Factory
The inaugural exhibition at Brownhoist Gallery, The Form of Cleveland, is a rare opportunity to experience "industrial archaeology" at its most poignant. After 107 years of operation, the Elwell Parker Electric Company was bought out, and its St. Clair factory was shuttered. Two Cleveland Heights artists, sculptor Timothy Riffle and photographer Jerry Mann, saved all they could, loading up their pickup trucks with discarded equipment. "We wanted to glorify and honor these works of industrial art," says Mann. The result of this haul — and ten years of research and cataloging — is now the subject of their first exhibition exploring Northeast Ohio's manufacturing history. The archivists saved artifacts from every aspect of factory life: custom work stools, girlie calendars from tool retailers, and wry advice for newcomers included. (A checklist commands: "Discount irritated attitudes — you are the low man on the totem pole.") Some artifacts and practices remain mysterious. Of the large engine molds painted vivid orange, red, yellow, and black, Riffle says: "The colors have a meaning we haven't deciphered yet. It was probably color-coded to label a finish or grade of steel." The function of some scalloped, red, wooden pieces remains anyone's guess. Riffle and Mann relish the challenge of decoding such mysteries and are open and affable in their guided tour through the decades. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, and other times by appointment. The show runs through July 30 at 4403 St. Clair Ave. For more info, call 216-789-2998 or visit studiostclair.com/brownhoistgallery. — Joseph Clark
Akron Art Museum: Kaleidoscope Quilts. Fiber artist Paula Nadelstern's quilts capture the symmetry, luminosity, and intricacy of kaleidoscopes, and inspire makers of these instruments in return. Through Oct. 2. Also: The Vogel Collection: 50 Works for Ohio. Featuring works by 26 artists, the paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures in this exhibition are part of a far-sighted private collection amassed over a 40-year period. Through October 16 at 1 South High St.; call 330-376-9185 or go to akronartmuseum.org.
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.
Feinberg Gallery at Cain Park: Camera Ready. Two photographers make very different use of darkness. Brad Cohn explores nighttime scenes on a digital camera, but shoots precisely to avoid the need for after-the-fact editing. Ronnie Pyles uses a black-and-white camera to capture architecture and vintage shoes. An opening reception will be held July 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. The show runs through August 13 at 14591 Superior Rd., Cleveland Heights. Call 440-371-3000 or go to cainpark.com/arts_gallery.asp.
Harris-Stanton Gallery: Introspections. Kent State University instructor Patricia Zinsmeister Parker displays real affection for the homey subjects of her impressionistic still lifes. In Clevelander Lee Heinen's paintings, viewers can recognize drama and significance in the deceptively simple, even whimsical, compositions, even without knowing they are sketched from family photos. Through July 16 at 2301 West Market St., Akron; call 330-867-7600 or go to harrisstantongallery.com.
Kenneth Paul Lesko Gallery: Two-Man Exhibition. Though separated by two generations and vastly different mediums, sculptor Marco Vaccher and photographer Casey Callender capture the irony of images that contrast nobility and strangeness. An opening reception takes place on July 15 from 5 to 9 p.m. Through September 10 at 1305 West 80th St. For more information, call 216-631-6719 or go to kennethpaullesko.com.
Kokoon Arts Gallery: 100th Anniversary Celebration. Historic treasures from the original Kokoon Arts Club keep company with contemporary works inspired by the theme of metamorphosis. An opening reception will be held July 15 from 5 to 9 p.m. Through September 10 at 1305 West 80th St. Call 216-832-8212 or go to kokoonarts.com for more information.
Legation, a gallery: Climbing Through the Keyhole. Newly transplanted Lakewood emerging artist and designer Oliver aims to break down traditional artist-viewer barriers with a series of paper dolls and marionettes intended for audience handling. An opening reception will be held July 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. The exhibit will run through August 6 at 1300 D West 78th Street. For more information, call 216-650-4201 or go to legationagallery.com.
Local Girl Gallery: Bears on Bikes. Kris Williams combines her experiences as a graphic designer, a mom, and a third-grade teacher to produce a series of whimsical, kid-friendly animal illustrations. An opening reception will be held July 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. Through August 3 at 16106 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood. Call 216-228-1802 or go to localgirlgallery.com.
Morgan Conservatory: Pulp It Up, Break It Down: Artists Get Real. Local and nationally-recognized artists contribute pieces showcasing pulp in an array of mediums. Through July 18 at 1754 East 47th St.; learn more by calling 216-361-9255 or go to morganconservatory.org.
Museum of Contemporary Art: Delicious Fields. In an homage to Man Ray, nine Ohio photogs invoke surrealism to reframe or reassert psychological and social issues. Also: Terrain. Julianne Swartz's soundscape is a multilingual audio-ecology as winding and mysterious as the subconscious. Through August 13 at 8501 Carnegie Ave.; call 216-421-8671 or visit mocacleveland.org for more info.
Pop Shop/(art)ificial Gallery: Avenging Cleveland. An exhibition of studio art celebrating Marvel Comics' superheroes draws from the creativity of a host of local artists. Also: Midnights on Oak: Amber McElreath and John Hill collaborate on 200 "Artist Trading Cards" in ink and mixed media, exploring music, culture, and the sources of creative inspiration. Both shows continue through August 6 at 17020 Madison Ave., Lakewood. Call 216-227-8440 or go to popshopgallery.com.
The Sculpture Center: SculptureX: 6 Sculptors of Ohio & Western Pennsylvania. This curated exhibition highlights the work of six prominent sculptors teaching at universities in Ohio and Western PA. Their works draw upon everyday materials to reflect the intersection of urbanization, nature, and the use of manufactured objects. Through August 20 at 1834 East 123rd St. Call 216-229-6527 or go to sculpturecenter.org.
Shaheen Gallery: Art, Life & Fashion. Born in Cincinnati and based in New York, painter Keith Mayerson returns to his home state for a show that provides a thematically broad sampling of his works, including portraits of fashion icons and historical figures. Through August 18 at 740 West Superior Ave. Call 216-830-8888 or visit shaheengallery.com.
Solon Center for the Arts: La Bella Vita, the Beautiful Life. Painter Diane Arthurs exhibits works inspired by the Mediterranean. Through July 29 at 6315 SOM Center Rd. in Solon. Call 440-337-1400.
Tregoning & Co.: I/Travel/Eye. San Francisco-based fiber artist Libby Chaney returns to her native Cleveland to exhibit textile works that are not "problems to be solved," but "meditations for the eye" and celebrations of color's power to move. There is no apparent order to the multitude of shapes and shades, but each piece has its own harmony. Through August 31 at 1300 West 78th St. For more information, call 216-281-8626 or go to tregoningandco.com.
We Gallery: Elephant in the Room. Bob Peck's abstract paintings channel the spontaneity and energy of his earlier artistic endeavors in graffiti with fearlessness and humor. An opening reception will be held July 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. at 20 North High Street. The exhibition continues through July 30. For more information, call 330-252-0988 or go to thewegallery.com.
William Busta Gallery: Self Storage. Aaron Koehn's paintings depict architecture, but their subject is alienation. Also: The Playboy Covers. A series of reinterpreted covers of Playboy magazine by local artist Derek Hess channels the artist's punkish sketchbook style. View both through July 30 at 2731 Prospect Ave. Call 216-298-9071 or go to williambustagallery.com.
Willoughby Hills Community Center Gallery: The Photography of Marcello Mellino & Joseph Zupko. Two photographers take you around the world and back, presenting landscapes and urban scenes from Italy, the Far East, and local sites. Through September 5 at 35400 Chardon Rd., Willoughby Hills. For more information, call 440-918-8730 or go to willoughbyhillsgallery.org.