On deck

Event details provided by the entities featured. Compiled by Becky Raspe.

Editor’s note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, museums and galleries may change how exhibitions are able to be seen and might not allow in-person visitation. Visit their websites for updated information regarding exhibition visitation prior to visiting. 

Valley Art Center

50th anniversary programming | Through May 21

Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and with it will exhibit work by its alumni and begin a community art project in May.

On view through May 12, the center is hosting an exhibition celebrating alumni who have gone on to successful artistic careers over its first half century. “Illustrious Alum” will feature the work of artists who got their start at VAC, such as Judith Brandon, a mixed-media landscape artist; H. Craig Hanna, a landscape and figurative painter; Jeremy Galante, an animation artist; Kate Kaman, a sculptor; and Judy Takacs, a figurative painter.

And for the community art installation, internationally known fiber artist Carol Hummel will wrap the trees in front of the VAC building in color. “Fantastic at Fifty – Valley Art Center’s Anniversary Community Art Project” asks volunteers to create crocheted circles to encase the trees in vibrant spring colors. The display will be installed from May 15-21, and will be accessible to the public throughout this year.

Valley Art Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. The center is at 155 Bell St. For more information on upcoming programming, visit valleyartcenter.org.

Above: “Love Denied” by Dale Goode. Oil, latex and enamel on canvas, 96 x 1.5 x 62.75 inches. | Photo / Aireonna McCall

HEDGE Gallery

Dale Goode – “Paintings and Printmaking” | Through June 18

Cleveland artist Dale Goode’s work will be on display as a satellite exhibition at HEDGE Gallery at the 78th Street Studios in Cleveland’s Edgewater neighborhood. The exhibition, which features some of Goode’s more recent paintings and prints, employs both figurative and abstract works on paper, as well as some of his older, never-before-seen paintings on canvas. Goode’s work is created with layers of bold color and expressive mark making, using varieties of paint including oils, enamel, acrylic and latex combined with other found materials. He also works on large-scale sculptures that influence his painting and printmaking.

Shown in the Suite 215 Gallery, hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays, or by appointment. 

HEDGE Gallery is at 1300 W. 78th St. Visit it online at hedgeartgallery.com. For more information, contact Hilary Gent at hilary@hedgeartgallery.com or 216-650-4201.

Above: “still waters run deep / fall in your ways” (2021) by Shikeith. Site-specific installation commissioned by moCa Cleveland as part of “Imagine Otherwise.” | Photo / Field Studio.

Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland

“Imagine Otherwise” | Through June 6

As part of a three-location installation, “Imagine Otherwise” is a group exhibition on display at moCa Cleveland that expresses the boundlessness and fierceness of Black imagination and love, despite ongoing anti-Black violence and demonstrations. Using Christina Sharpe’s book “In the Wake: On Blackness and Being,” the show features work by artists Shikeith, Imani Dennison, Amber N. Ford and Antwoine Washington. The multi-media exhibition, which also has work on display at ThirdSpace Action Lab in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood and Museum of Creative Human Art in Lakewood, spotlights Black pathways to self-determination and collective liberation through various artistic media. Organized by La Tanya S. Autry, founder of the Black Literation Center and Gund curator in residence, the moCa installment features work by Shikeith. Dennison and Ford’s work can be viewed at ThirdSpace and Washington’s will be at Museum of Creative Human Art. 

moCa’s hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. The museum is at 11400 Euclid Ave. in Cleveland’s Uptown District.

For more information about the show and its locations, visit mocacleveland.org/exhibitions/imagine-otherwise.

Above: “Sadie” by Karen Novak for “Furtography: Another Show for the Dogs.” | Image courtesy of Cleveland Photo Fest.

Cleveland Photo Fest

“PHOTOTHON 2021” | May 1 – June 30

After debuting in 2019, Cleveland Photo Fest is returning with PHOTOTHON 2021. The show will feature seven photography exhibitions: three drawn from international submissions, three of local talent and Cleveland Photo Fest’s own “I Identify As: Portraits in Black and White,” a Cleveland portrait project of 60 white, Black and those who identify as “other” photographing portraits of each other. The other exhibitions are “Furtography: Another Show for the Dogs,” which features photos of man’s best friend – dogs; “Deja Nude: Not Another Nude Show!” featuring nude photos; and “Dear Diary: Show Us Your Secrets,” featuring photos by women looking to visually share their favorite secret. Additionally, there will be a high school student exhibition, interpretive photography of poetry and an exchange show with photographers from Kerala, a state in southern India. The exchange will be from 6 to 9 p.m. May 26 at BAYarts, 28795 Lake Road in Bay Village.

PHOTOTHON 2021 will be housed at Bostwick Design Art Initiative, 2729 Prospect Ave. in Cleveland. Gallery hours will be noon to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Visit it online at clevelandphotofest.org.

To read more about Cleveland Photo Fest’s inaugural year, visit canvascle.com/developing-landscape.

Above: The 2019 Alumni Exhibition at CIA’s Reinberger Gallery. | Image courtesy of The Cleveland Institute of Art.

Cleveland Institute of Art

“2021 Alumni Exhibition” | June 4 – Aug. 13

The Cleveland Institute of Art and the CIA Alumni Council will present the 2021 Alumni Exhibition this summer in Reinberger Gallery. This juried exhibition will showcase work by CIA alums from different graduating years and artistic practices, and it will offer viewers the opportunity to learn more about the college and its influence on art in the region.

Emily Carol Burns, a multi-disciplinary artist who has curated exhibitions across the U.S. that highlight visual art from emerging artists, will serve as juror for the Alumni Exhibition. She is also the founding editor of Maake Magazine – an independent, artist-run publication – and is an assistant professor at The Pennsylvania State University.

CIA’s Reinberger Gallery is at 11610 Euclid Ave. in Cleveland. Visit
cia.edu/exhibitions for the most current visitor policy and check
cia.edu/alumniexhibition for updates regarding public programming.

Above: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her husband, Marty, with their daughter, Jane, in 1958. This photo is on view with “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. | Photo / Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage

“Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” | Through Aug. 29

A traveling museum exhibition, “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage explores the life of the late Supreme Court justice, known simply and commonly by her three initials, who passed away at age 87 due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer on Sept. 18, 2020 after almost 30 years on the bench. The exhibition, created by the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles that opened in October 2018, is based off a book focused on Ginsburg’s personal and professional life by journalist Irin Carmon and attorney Shana Knizhnik. The exhibition is broken into seven parts of RBG’s life, each named after lyrics from the late hip-hop artist the Notorious B.I.G. 

The exhibition is included in regular museum admission and is open during regular museum hours, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Tickets are by advanced registration only.

The Maltz Museum is at 2929 Richmond Road in Beachwood. Visit it online at maltzmuseum.org.

The director of HEDGE Gallerydiscusses “Cultural Mysticism,” a solo show featuring new work from Brian Mouhlas. The exhibition opens with a receptionfrom 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 20 at HEDGE Gallery — during 78th Street Studios’ monthly Third Friday event— and remains on view through Nov. 2.

What can visitors look forward to at “Brian Mouhlas: Cultural Mysticism”? 

Visitors can look forward to seeing a very diverse exhibit, featuring four fairly recent Cleveland Institute of Art graduates with examples of their new bodies of work, including painting, sculpture and textile. 

Brian’s new work includes many large-scale oil paintings that address contemporary culture in our media-based world. His narrative work is imposing and sometimes dark, detailed with rich subject matter and color palettes. Mouhlas’ featured piece, titled “Institutional,” deals with sociological issues of control and manipulation; a must-see painting by this skilled young artist.

“These Memories Lose Their Meaning” by Brian Mouhlas (2018). Acrylic and oil on canvas; 42 x 76 inches. Courtesy of HEDGE Gallery.

Mouhlas’ work has been on view at HEDGE Gallery in the past as part of group shows. What led to this, his first solo show?

Brian has been working on his narrative style of painting, but also experimenting with abstraction. He has created a significant body of work, and it was time for a solo exhibition.

How has Mouhlas’ work evolved in recent years?

Mouhlas has been experimenting with abstraction and electric-florescent pigments, as well as different styles of painting narratives. 

“Seance” by Brian Mouhlas (2019). Acrylic and oil on canvas; 48 x 51 inches. Courtesy of HEDGE Gallery.

Other artists will be involved in this show. Who are they, and how does their art work with Mouhlas’ art?

HEDGE Gallery Represented Artists have the opportunity to “co-curate,” in a sense, other artists who inspire their work or who have motivated them along the way into their exhibitions.

Brian Mouhlas is the first of our artists who has chosen to include three other artists’ work alongside his own during his solo exhibit. 

Artists Suzanne Head, Thomas Kassai and Kim Menapace’s recent work is featured in this show, creating dynamic dialogues with Brian’s color palette, narratives and figurative paintings.

These three artists graduated with Mouhlas from the Cleveland Institute of Art.

What programming do you have planned surrounding “Cultural Mysticism”? 

The Gallery will host an artist talk, date to be announced, as well as a closing reception on Friday, Oct.18.

The exhibit is on view until Saturday, Nov. 2. HEDGE Gallery’s hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as evenings and weekends by appointment. 


Lead image: “Institutional” by Brian Mouhlas (2019). Acrylic, oil and mixed media on canvas; 55 x 75 inches. Courtesy of HEDGE Gallery.

Lead image: A still from Robert C. Banks Jr.'s "Epic Stillness" and "Woman #9" by John W. Carlson.

HEDGE Gallery’s “Don’t Be Still” stirs emotions, spurs conversation about gender inequality

By Michael C. Butz

After watching several minutes of Robert C. Banks Jr.’s haunting film “Epic Stillness,” which depicts a woman nightmarishly contorting her body while donning a restrictive, eyeless white hood, on the far wall, one will turn around to face the rest of “Don’t Be Still,” HEDGE Gallery’s current exhibition.

John W. Carlson’s striking figurative paintings, capturing that same woman and about a dozen others wearing a little black dress and that same white hood, all motionless but expressing fear, despair and defenselessness through posture and positioning, will be looking back.

In that instant, surrounded by portrayals of anguish and pain, viewers will almost certainly realize they’re surrounded by such women — survivors of psychological or physical abuse and sufferers of institutionalized gender bias, many of whom mask their torment — in real life, too.

As one absorbs the totality of the artwork, personal questions will arise: Who in my life is affected by this? Do I fully understand the scope of this issue? What can I do? What can we do? Where should we start?

That dynamic represents just one powerful moment in an exhibition filled with them. The show is meant to evoke emotional reactions — and it shouldn’t be missed. “Don’t Be Still” is on view through April 27 at HEDGE Gallery, inside 78th Street Studios in Cleveland. An artist talk is scheduled for April 12 at the gallery.

A still from Robert C. Banks Jr.'s "Epic Stillness."

A still from Robert C. Banks Jr.’s “Epic Stillness.”

“Don’t Be Still” doesn’t seek definitive answers those questions, nor can it offer any solutions, but it certainly sparks conversation. The dialogue begins between Banks’ films, of which there are several, and Carlson’s oil paintings. Their interplay is palpable, clearly communicating the artists’ dissatisfaction with the status quo of misogyny.

The films are absent of color and jittery in nature, gritty effects that set the tone for the entire show. They require time to process and offer slightly different experiences depending on whether the viewer is watching up close or from across the gallery. Their cryptic nature and the models’ distressed gestures draw in the viewer, and in engaging with the films, viewers are rewarded with Banks’ masterful storytelling.

Carlson, ever adept at capturing the human condition in his artwork, is on top of his game in this show. Each work — black, white and gray with pink and red highlights — captures a moment of impact. Some are physical, like a last-second attempt to fend off an attacker or falling to the ground. Others are cognitive, like cowering in a corner when succumbing to defeat or holding one’s head in disbelief after coming to a painful realization.

The models are the same in Carlson’s paintings and Banks’ films, a dynamic that offers viewers a fuller perspective. In Carlson’s “Woman #3,” a model, Kai, is shown on the ground with her head lowered in defeat. In Banks’ film, the struggle that leads up to and follows that moment for Kai can be seen. Taking in the bigger picture challenges viewers to do the same in their day-to-day lives, when all too often, snap decisions are made during fleeting interactions.

The conversation continues via the female models depicted in the paintings and films, many of whom wrote impact statements about participating in “Don’t Be Still.” They’re posted next to the Carlson painting that represents them, lending female voices to a show about gender inequality largely produced by two men.

Carlson_Woman#4 "Woman #4" by John W. Carlson

“Woman #4” by John W. Carlson

Next to “Woman #5,” the model wrote, “I did not balk at putting the bag on my head, but neither John nor Robert know I am claustrophobic. When we took a break, I left, vomited, returned. I put the bag back on my head.” Her account suggests not only that she believed in the artists and the project, but more importantly, it offers viewers a glimpse into the type of physical and psychological pain endured by women subjected to abuse.

Serving to punctuate the conversation is a plaster cast of the suffocating white hood by Nico Pico Train.

Worn by the models in the films and paintings, the hood (akin to something a Medieval executioner’s target might wear) represents suppression — of voices, views or most anything else women endure on a day-to-day basis. The cast, however, isn’t worn or shown on anyone’s head, symbolic of the hood — and those hardships — being lifted. To suggest such suppression should be a thing of the past, the piece is titled “Relic.”

In addition to conversation, action is incorporated into “Don’t Be Still.” Ten percent of all proceeds from artwork sold at the show will be donated to the Douglas MacArthur Girls Leadership Academy, which is part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The academy aims to provide a rigorous academic program tailored to the way girls learn best as well as hold them accountable to high behavioral expectations designed to make them future leaders, according to its website.

Though “Don’t Be Still” was in the works for about two years — well before sexual harassment scandals in politics, journalism and entertainment started grabbing headlines — it unmistakably adds to the ongoing national dialogue spurred by the #MeToo movement. But it does more than that, too.

Where daily news reports fall short, this exhibition succeeds in personalizing these matters. It communicates complexities, adds nuance, and should spur some level of involvement. Whereas viewers are helpless to assist or aid the women in the artwork that surrounds them in the gallery, such is not the case in real life. In other words, whatever form it takes, don’t be still. CV

On View

WHAT: “Don’t Be Still”

WHO: Robert C. Banks Jr. and John W. Carlson

WHERE: HEDGE Gallery, 1300 W. 78th St., Suite 200, Cleveland

WHEN: Through April 27: the gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and on Third Friday (April 20) until 9 p.m.

PROGRAMMING: “Artist Talk with John Carlson and Robert Banks,” 6 to 7:30 p.m. April 12 at HEDGE Gallery

MORE: Read more about Carlson from a 2016 issue of Canvas.

Lead image: A still from Robert C. Banks Jr.’s “Epic Stillness” and “Woman #9” by John W. Carlson.