This Saturday, Feb. 6, Cleveland’s newest gallery opens its doors to the public for the very first time. Carus Gallery’s (2585 Euclid Heights Ave. Apt. 5, Cleveland Hts., Caruscleveland.com) first exhibition, no bosses, no boyfriends, opens with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. The following day, Sunday, Feb. 7, Carus hosts a discussion with the artists at 3 p.m. The show pairs Cleveland based Emma Pavlik with Cameron Coffman of Austin, TX, and features photographs and sculptures that reintroduce us to the common and everyday through alternative encounters.
Cameron Coffman received her BFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin. Emma Pavlik studied sculpture at Kent State University. She received her BFA in Sculpture in 2012.
“The experience of my work appropriates cultural relics to construct humorous human qualities, making memorials from material that can be employed to suggest the body,” Pavlik explains. “While poking fun at our obsessive desires manifested in objects, I subvert the unguarded and vulnerable nature of figuration.”
Carus Gallery was founded by Oakland-born, Cleveland-based artist Frances Anne Lee and her partner, Akshai Singh. Lee earned a BA in studio art from Oberlin in 2013. In 2014, 78th Street Studios’ Micro Art Space hosted her first solo exhibition, Ambiguous Flags. Last year, she participated in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Summer Studio Program with Cameron Coffman.
Just days before Carus’ opening, Lee took time to discuss the gallery and its first exhibition.
SCENE: How did the idea for Carus first manifest? How did you select the name? Did the idea for the gallery come before the house or vice-versa?
I got the idea for the “home gallery” from Michelle Grabner’s space, The Suburban, in Chicago. I really loved her words in describing the exhibition space, “The Suburban is not driven by commercial interests. It is funded within the economy of our household. Its success is not grounded in sales, press or the conventional measures set forth by the international art apparatus, but by the individual criteria set forth by the artists and their exhibitions.” (http://www.thesuburban.org/history.html). I wanted to create something like that in Cleveland. I want to facilitate a salon where an artist’s ideas are presented and discussed; a place that is disconnected from a conversation around economic development. So, my partner, Akshai Singh, and I have cleared out our living room and built a gallery that works outside of the normal Cleveland rules.
The name comes from the name of the apartment building that is carved in stone above the front entryway. Carus was a Roman Emperor, for a short period of time, 282-283. I like to imagine what was happening in Cleveland when this row of apartment buildings was built, and why the builders chose to reference the Roman Empire in the construction of the dwelling. It is like naming the building, “Power and Prestige”, which I find both odd and amusing. I’d like to think that the gallery, both the artwork and the community, could embody that noble spirit.
As you prepare to open, what are your ambitions for the gallery?
Carus is a project to support young artists. We have ideas that are imagined and realized in the studio, but the ideas will be propelled further through the intentional space and interaction with an audience. Carus is a space for visual artists to build complex immersive installations of their work. I would like to provide the venue for an individual or group to experiment and push an idea that needs an exhibition but may be trickier for a more conventional gallery to facilitate.
Can you tell us about the first show, no bosses, no boyfriends? How did you select the artists, and why did you choose to pair them together for this first exhibition?
The work of the artists, Emma Pavlik (Cleveland, OH) and Cameron Coffman (Austin, TX), in the first show challenges how we encounter the common and everyday. In both artists’ work there is a feeling of over-saturation. The images that Pavlik produces are ubiquitous, built through easy to use photographic technology. We can make one at home. Similarly, Coffman’s material for her sculptures is a collection of things you might find, in purgatory, half opened and returned at the home depot counter. An over-saturation of products that overflows from domestic space into public space. Both artists are exploring these moments of consumption, showing us how they play within the ubiquitous to show their own individual voices.
By curating a show of their work, I was able to introduce these two artists and start a dialogue between them that will hopefully outlive Carus. The gallery is a way to build connections between artists and their ideas.
What kind of artists and exhibitions can we expect in the future? How often will Carus host new exhibitions?
I anticipate that Carus will hold exhibitions every 6 weeks or so. The exhibitions will have an opening event to fit the need of each project, and advertised open hours. In addition, I would like the artists to hold a Q & A or conversation about their work.
I would like to grow a local dialogue by working both with both local and visiting artists. I am currently coordinating with artists in California and Chicago. In addition, I would like to afford more opportunities for women and artists of color to exhibit their artwork in Cleveland. I encourage anyone who is interested to send inquiries and proposals to Carus.email@example.com.
no bosses, no boyfriends is on view at Carus Gallery on Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. through Mar. 13, or by appointment.
(Carus Gallery) 2585 Euclid Heights Ave. Apt. 5, Cleveland Hts., Caruscleveland.com