Cleveland Artist Laurence Channing’s “Paintings and Pastels” Opens at Bonfoey Gallery Friday

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Scaffold, 2020 - LAURENCE CHANNING
  • Laurence Channing
  • Scaffold, 2020

Depicting various Cleveland scenes, acclaimed Cleveland artist Laurence Channing details overlooked corners of the city's architectural and industrial landscapes.

He brings his latest works to the Bonfoey Gallery for "Painting and Pastels," an exhibition that opens this Friday, Nov. 12 from 10 a.m to 7 p.m. and runs through Dec. 30.



Most recognizable for his monochromatic charcoal drawings, Channing steps aside from this in the exhibition, injecting color pastels into his scenes and most of this collection is surprisingly in color.

“Paint. Color. The work of other painters over the centuries. If painting were code it would be open-source, a toolbox constantly augmented by those who use it. I’ve admired it for years, but now I want to use it too,” said Channing. “This is a hike through different territory. After thirty years of shadowy, monochrome drawing and printmaking, in this exhibition we are trekking through the land of color in paintings and pastels. This means a big change of mood and a tremendous enlargement of the pictorial space, because of the additional dimension generated by the advance and recession of color. And paint is such an expressive material, recording emotional nuance in gesture and pressure.”



Channing’s work looks photographic in its detail and precision and he uses his 35 mm camera to capture his reference material of bridges, city streets and buildings. However, this series seems more abstract and impressionistic in its qualities like in the piece “Scaffold, 2020,” which depicts two bridge-like structures mirroring one another, casting shadows from the imagined daylight and enlivened with cool blues and turquoises, supple oranges, copper tones and lush purples capturing an ephemeralness separate from the reality of the shapes in the frame.

Over the years he has showcased his work at the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art with numerous one-man exhibitions at the Bonfoey and William Busta galleries. His work has been included in many public collections, including University Hospitals of Cleveland, the Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western Reserve University.

“Cleveland and I have a lot in common: age, seen better days, hopeful, refusal to go away—and a preference for home cooking, in that we prefer art made here rather than in New York,” said Channing.

Born in 1942, and influenced by movements of the 1960s, Channing has developed his talents over the decades.

When I asked Channing what is next, he said: “Think I’ll paint a bunch of naked models blue and ask them to roll around on a big canvas—wait, that’s been done. Maybe I’ll tape a banana to a gallery wall—oh, that too? Well, how about some more still life? Neutral subjects that will permit us to concentrate on painting for painting’s sake. Check back in a couple of years.”

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