The director of YARDS Projects at Worthington Yards discusses “Fabulism: Meta Fact & Fictions,” an exhibition that opens from 6 to 9 p.m. May 9 and remains on view through June 28.
What can visitors look forward to from “Fabulism”?
The biggest draw is the artists and the art they create. All of these artists are looking differently at this idea of a fake, blurred, undefinable (or impossible) reality. There exist these initial buoyant, pleasant prompts to come closer to investigate, whether it be something that looks like a spring floral pattern on silk yardage, or a 24K gold surfacing on a cherry blossom. Instead, you see and discover something very different. At first, much of this work presents a seemingly approachable idea, but then you see there is something deeper, much more subversive and political that delivers something more rigorous and provocative.
What inspired the theme for this show?
The current political circus that we have been experiencing every day. How do we find those escape rooms in our lives that allow us not to retreat altogether, but to have a reprieve in understanding fantasy, daydreaming, wondering, longing and just being determined in our positions for social change in the world? An inexhaustible coverage of a reality that you very much cannot believe is happening. This term, “Fabulism,” is borrowed from the literary genre of Magical Realism, which illustrates such things as Alice in Wonderland, Gulliver’s Travelers and Grimm’s Fairytales. Think the fantastic, subversive side of these narratives!
Which artists will be in “Fabulism”? How or why were they selected to participate?
The artists are Danté Rodriguez, Claudio Orso, Laura Bidwell, Arabella Proffer, Kristen Cliffel, Meng Hsuan-Wu, Omid Takavoli and Antwoine Washington.
I selected these artists because they all bring a different angle into this concept of a constructed reality that is embedded in illusion. They all bring their A-game, from the surrealist abstractions of Proffer to the exacting obsessive drawings of Washington. These artists all deliver varying approaches to how we construct our own identities and connect or divide ourselves within our immediate local and our expanded global sense of place.
As with every exhibition this year at YARDS Projects (which are all group shows), I desire a representation of Cleveland, with emerging and mid-career artists that may have never shown before at YARDS or with each other. I see those artists like a seating arrangement at a dinner party, where they all get to meet, develop relationships with their respective work and generally connect with each other’s audiences and those who patron them. I really take my time with making sure this composite exists in each exhibition.
What programming — artist talks, workshops, happy hours, studio visits, etc. — is scheduled surrounding “Fabulism”?
ART/VENTURES (10 a.m. to noon May 18) is a really great way to spend your Saturday morning. This one is going to be fantastic at Claudio Brown’s home studio, which he shares with his wife and fellow artist, Rian Brown. We will meet at YARDS, have doughnuts, coffee and hear about Claudio’s work, then we venture to their home studio in Lakewood and get to hear more about their work and see their studios and process. We’ll end the day with a walk across the street to Lakewood Park’s Solstice Steps for a great view of this public art project that looks upon the great Lake Erie!
ART BAR (6 to 8 p.m. June 13) provides a deeper dive into the work of the artists, who get to talk a bit more about their work, but I am also featuring some of the “collective hive” studios — Hamilton Collective, 78th Street Studios, Artful, Screw Factory Artists — and other places people in general need to know about!
YARDS Projects is relatively new. Aside from “Fabulism,” what can first-time visitors to the downtown Cleveland gallery look forward to?
During the exhibition, at about 7:30 p.m., we’ll provide tours of the permanent collection called the Dalad Collection. The Dalad Collection is on all the floors above the gallery, with more than 40 local artists and more than 100 pieces of work represented.
At 7 p.m., the artists all talk briefly about their work and give folks an idea of current projects and where they can see more.
Musician Titus Golden will also be performing solo. Here’s a taste.
Compiled by Michael C. Butz
Lead image: A piece by Arabella Proffer, courtesy of YARDS Projects at Worthington Yards