Arts » Visual Art

On View

Capsule reviews of current area art exhibitions

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George C. Rousch II: Contemporary Abstracts -- Akron-based painter George C. Rousch II plays the part of the wandering loner in this show of recent work. On a sign at the door, he confesses that "mental driftwood" inspires his blurry abstracts. If that's true, the driftwood comes from a modern-art history course, because the majority of the work here seems plainly derivative of 20th-century masters. It's not bad; it's just not original. Painting with acrylic, Rousch appears to work quickly, smearing and cross-hatching a broad range of colors. Above this surface, he often adds thicker horizontal or vertical white lines that look like bars, imprisoning the image. Problem is, the foundation too closely resembles work by Gerhard Richter. Rousch's "Nichtziel Durch Vier," a much calmer painting divided into quadrants of deep red and purple, brings Barnett Newman to mind. A pair of diamond-shaped canvases, upon which the dominant of two colors has been slightly streaked, suggest the great Dutch modernist Piet Mondrian. Rousch's own vision emerges most clearly, even memorably, in a serene painting titled "True Gate." Here, long vertical red stripes tinged with yellow and green evoke a dense forest of birch trees as they would appear at sunset. Through January 31 at E. Gordon Gallery, 2026 Murray Hill Rd., 216-795-0971, www.egordongallery.com. -- Zachary Lewis

ONGOING

Drawn to Nature -- Christopher Pekoc is known for his photography, but his works incorporate a variety of media, here including shellac and gold leaf, giving them the appearance of richly hued patchwork quilts. Jagged sewing-machine stitches outline images of birds and flowers collaged over a glowing amber polyester film that's lined with a grid pattern. "I Heard the Noise of Wings" shows two hummingbirds flitting above the silhouette of a hand, its fingers crossed. Round orbs float in the empty space beyond, while stitches connected to dots crisscross the hand's palm. The work gives the impression of being fraught with mystical symbols. On view through December 31 at Bonfoey Gallery, 1710 Euclid Ave., 216-621-0178, www.bonfoey.com. -- Tami Miller

Dukes and Angels -- This exhibition transports modern viewers to the court of Burgundy in the 14th and 15th centuries. Included are luxury objects belonging to the first Valois dukes of Burgundy, Philip the Bold and John the Fearless: portraits of the dukes, illuminated manuscripts (such as Aristotle's Ethics), crowns, stone sculptures, and devotional images. Though requiring a lot of reading and concentration, this exhibition inspires a sense of awe at the power and wealth the dukes wielded. Through January 9 at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7350, www.clevelandart.org. -- Miller

The History of Another: Projections in Rome -- In an intriguing series of photo collages, installation artist and photographer Shimon Attie projects black-and-white historical images of immigrant Jewish workers onto contemporary locations near where they would have lived and worked, then photographs the result. Heavy wooden doorways and cobbled alleyways become host to the ghostly figures. "On Via Della Tribuna di Campitelli" shows two girls leaning against a building, gossiping. One looks coyly over her shoulder at the viewer. Her pale form contrasts eerily with the heavily saturated colors of the rest of the image, an element consistent throughout the artworks. Attie's juxtaposition of past and present questions the place of immigrant workers in history, asking viewers to consider their relationships with the countries they inhabited. On view through December 23 at the CIA's Reinberger Gallery, 11141 East Blvd., 216-421-7407 -- Miller

Katarina Sevic: New Work -- After six weeks as artist-in-residence at SPACES (part of the gallery's World Artists Program), Budapest artist Katarina Sevic has produced a six-minute video and an apparently unrelated proposal for a Free Shop in Cleveland, where "items can be donated and taken with no exchange of money." The video consists of an absurd collage of images, such as floating bagels, glazed doughnuts, and raspberries, in front of black-and-white cutouts of skyscrapers, along with urban scenery, a green extended-cab truck, and a piano, with young adults dancing and walking amid it all. One can hear the familiar tune, "Don't Worry, Be Happy," in the background. Sound annoying? It is. The Free Shop proposal lists Sevic as the contact. But it is unclear how this is connected with the video, or how either resulted from her stay as artist-in-residence. This project is not cohesive or effective. Through January 7 at SPACES, 2220 Superior Viaduct, 216-621-2314, www.spacesgallery.org. -- Miller

Luc Delahaye Photographs: History -- French photographer Luc Delahaye's 4-foot-by-8-foot images are narratives -- sometimes direct, sometimes subtle -- of world events. "Taliban," from 2001, shows the corpse of a man crumpled on a dusty road. His clothing blends with the rocks and fallen leaves around him; the only contrast of colors within the image is the brilliant red slash across his neck. "The Milosevic Trial," from 2002, is deceptively plain. Without the title, the image might be mistaken for any ordinary government conference room. Delahaye's compositions are often beautiful, even when the subject matter is disturbing. Their large size and wide views make them particularly effective. On view through February 23 at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7340, www.clevelandart.org. -- Miller

MOCA in the Making -- Graduate students in the architecture and environmental design programs at Kent State University were asked to design a dream building for the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland as the cultural hub of University Circle. A jury selected the four strongest proposals, and their computed-generated images and models are now on view in MOCA's sky lounge. The ideas are exciting, but the exhibition does not provide enough explanation of the students' decisions. There is also a disconnect between the 2-D designs and 3-D models, due to poor layout. Through February 20 at MOCA Cleveland, 8501 Carnegie Ave., 216-421-8671, www.MOCAcleveland.org. -- Miller

The Serenity of Harsh: Watercolors by A. Dale Harsh -- A. Dale Harsh is an elder statesman among Chagrin Falls' many watercolorists. This show of his recent work -- landscapes, street scenes, and a handful of bright floral still-lifes -- is not momentous, as subjects go. But anyone with an interest in the area will enjoy picking out familiar landmarks. There is much to admire from a technical perspective too. Harsh's fondness for old buildings is evident from the care he takes in bringing out the rough grain of wooden barns and the scraggly grass surrounding them. His floral images differ from countless others in the way outer petals merge softly into the background. And Harsh has a touch for gleaming white snow and rushing water. Most of the paintings in the show reveal a certain measure of spontaneity: The artist doesn't seem to mind the occasional splash. In fact, at times he seems to add them deliberately. Through December 17 at The Artist's Loft Gallery, 89 North Main St., Chagrin Falls, 440-247-3541. -- Lewis

Streetscapes -- Looking at life from behind her steering wheel, gallery owner and frequent driver Lissa Bockrath found inspiration in the passing city street scenes. Bockrath's oil paintings on top of photographs present a unique melding of media. Thick brushstrokes blur the surface, making details of street signs and fire hydrants barely visible. Many of the pieces reflect rainy Cleveland weather, awash in luminescent tones of gray. The sensation of seeing the world through the water-smeared glass of a windshield is palpable. The images are softly soothing, as if seen from the vantage point of a meditative passenger. Unfortunately, this exhibition marks the last for the gallery, which closes its doors at the end of December. On view through December 20 at Bockrath Gallery, 2026 Murray Hill Rd., 216-721-5990, www.bockrathgallery.com. -- Miller

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