This spring, River Gallery presents the work of two of its own. Wallpaper/Paper Walls
features new and recent work by River Gallery managers Randy Maxin and Mark Yasenchack. In addition to sharing the role of gallery manager at River Gallery for the past year, Maxin and Yasenchack are longtime friends, who share studio space in the ArtCraft Building. The duo have collaborated on several exhibitions at River Gallery, including Cityscapes and Miniatures in 2015 and this year’s Ceramics Invitational XI.
"I am so pleased and excited to show two great artists that express their spirit through their art,” says River Gallery owner Ara Hamamjian. “Mark and Randy's work inspire a wonderful energy that is only specific to them."
The exhibition’s title refers to both artists’ similarities and differences. Maxin finds inspiration in the yellowing of old wallpaper, while the “Paper Walls” ironically refer to Yasenchack’s ceramic slab method, and more appropriately to the artists’ close relationship.
“Though my work emotes obsessive details of the past, it is consciously presented in the now,” explains Maxin. “I like the feeling that I get when I see the yellowing, out of fashion wallpaper still flaunting itself on your grandmother's walls.”
Yasenchack adds, “The title Paper Walls
really seems like an inappropriate metaphor to describe the slab method I use in constructing ceramic boxes, yet perfectly fits the collaboration it inspired with Randy.”
features Randy Maxin’s mixed media paintings and collages and Mark Yasenchack’s mosaics and ceramics. Maxin’s work is characterized by complex textures and patterns.
"I am aware that I perpetually reveal mysterious determination to provoke discussion, mining faded memories of my favorite eras, recomposing them in fairly obscure fashion,” Maxin says. “For example, if I utilize a photograph of a car, cut from an early 1980's sales-floor brochure, my intent is not merely to represent a work about cars but rather a time in my life represented by the car in that space.”
Yasenchack’s recent work revisits an early interest in mosaic lamps, 3D mosaic sculptures and wall mosaics. This recent series is inspired by his work as an arts educator.
"The mosaic pieces in this exhibit are influenced by the mural workshops I have led with elementary students,” Yasenchack says. “My most recent workshop is at Fernway Elementary where I am working with kindergarteners, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders. Kids have the wonderful ability to impose their ideas on a project, twisting and reshaping my demonstrated techniques into new and original methods. This improvisation in turn inspires me to rethink my expectations of what a mural project is. It is most evident my mosaic lamps, where I push to make the mosaic patterning more playful and imaginative than the traditional styles that influence my work. My work with students also reminds me that having a studio to work on art daily is a luxury and also how important that daily artistic interaction is.”
opens with a reception from 3 to 7 p.m. this Saturday, April 30. The artists are currently creating a limited quantity of complementary handmade party favors for attendees at the reception. These special works combine Maxin’s collage skills with Yasenchack’s encaustic resin techniques.
The exhibition remains on view through June 15 during regular gallery hours: Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment (closed Sunday and Monday).
(River Gallery) 19046 Old Detroit Rd., Rocky River, 440-331-8406, rivergalleryarts.com