Archive for the ‘Digital Art’ Category

Not a whole lot of Space left at Spaces

Jerry Birchfield-This isn't your Momma's Spirograph

arabella proffer-I know what you did last summer

Had a fun time on Friday at the crowded Members shows.  The walls were  littered with works from floor to ceiling as many members of the fine Spaces establishment exhibited a diverse selection of arts and crafts.  It was like trying to listen to the crickets while waiting for the bus in Manhattan. The scene made me nervous that my measly 2 pieces were lost in the cochophonous visual field.  Still, I staked a sweet spot and as I herded myself through to see all the art on the walls I found myself pleasantly surprised by some real gems. I managed to snap a few pics of my favorites, the only one I missed was a quietly contemplative painting no more than 20 in x 20 in of a Morandi like composition of 3 toilet paper rolls. Mysterious and ethereal the painting was mundane yet transformative. Dare I  say it “wiped” me a way…..

On another note, Arabella Proffers -I missed talking to you AP, I saw you but was already talking to someone, when I turned around you were gone, sad face-her selections were like little gems,  quietly sly, portraits that just peered out at the crowds very knowingly like hip Hogwarts paintings with decades of stories accumulated from their existence as wall flowers.

I also was taken by Jerry Birchfields op art CAD inspired constructs.  The subtle shifts of color and line are mesmerizing.  It’s like robot love, nature vs nurture as humans evolve into ever more non-nature beginnings how do we exist and find beauty and harmony. Birchfields pictures somehow find human nuances in the cold and sterile digital design genome mapping today where mystery and the sublime are ever more being taken away through discovery and ordering.  IMO his work took my breath away. I’d like to learn more.

Anyways, I had fun and so did my wife who stalked the food table to see who was eating her cupcakes. She spent the night trying to read the lips of her sweet treat eaters as to gain insight into the confection critique. So for her, in my opinion the cupcakes were best in show.


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Peter Philip Luckner, Glenn Ratusnik, Jon Cotterman

CCW from top: Peter Philip Luckner, Glenn Ratusnik, Jon Cotterman

I walked into Flash Forward on Saturday with the highest of expectations. This was a show that was to showcase the very talented and compelling local artists I have been turning rocks over to find. Even better, the press release highlighted these artists as recent area art school grads who made the decision to explore and expand their art career here in the North-coast rather than exiting stage left to the coast of their choice. Were my expectations fulfilled? Is there a budding Cleveland scene full of talent, brains and commitment?
Well, my initial walk through, I felt a little underwhelmed. But then I started to see the whole picture, the curatorial vision, the sum of all the parts. My light bulb started to flicker.  I slowly started taking in the individual bodies of work, stars started to emerge and my bulb grew brighter. Flash Forward is a show about diversity, just like Cleveland. Represented on the walls at Spaces is a well planned 12 course tasting meal organized to enlighten the many styles, concerns and issues facing our local artists. I get it, Cleveland has artists with serious concerns and dedicated commitment ranging from identity, to environment, to digital media culture to formal aesthetic and artistic theory.
Take for example Glenn Ratusnik’s serial etchings. Mr. Ratusnik chooses to pull only one print each time he alters the plate. This process alone is an interesting juxtaposition to the notion of printmaking as a vehicle for the creation of multiples. However, Ratusnik, by focusing on landscape as a subject, infuses the work with more than just a comment on materials and artistic practice. In doing so he creates a time line of both marks on a plate and about human marks upon the earth. Each plate in succession sees a new building or development. Starting from a rough vast land marked mainly by a tree and a horizon he works the plate like a game of SimCity ending with an over developed yet desolate urban zone. With each mark the plate and the earth become cluttered and built-up until the last plate in the cycle seems to swing back toward depletion. Just like in life, over crowding causes extinction, in printmaking the more the plate is run through the press the more lines get pressed out. It’s a thoughtful exercise in cycles, both life and materials.
Following in the concerns of nature, more specifically the idea of an increasingly digital society is Peter Philip Luckner pulsating and fading animated college video installation.  It’s mesmerizing. The play between repeating fantasy watercolors or colored pencil landscape renderings morphing with spliced video snippets creates a whirling and rhythmic experience that seems oddly familiar. What I wish seemed foreign just seems  like a well choreographed dance between random internet searches and flipping briskly though the channels on cable. I want it to be surreal and odd but it’s more like “Contemporary Life: the musical”.  Of course my only wish is that it was projected on a huge screen so I could get even more lost in the movement without any peripheral obstruction. Although there could be a stroke risk, who knows.
One thing is for sure, despite the weird worlds we find ourselves in these days of digital culture and hyper speed, there are old ideas still lingering between all the contemporary binary signals. We can’t ignore them so how do we deal with them today. Jon Nathaniel Cotterman creates delicate sculptures that find themselves stuck in the middle of such an identity crisis. Cotterman is a sculptor torn between 2 worlds channeling the precision craft of Lalique and the theory of LeWitt.  He perfectly balances the material desires of glass and the history of glass with the pressures of an increasingly conceptual leaning art world. His glass cubes that reference Lewitt with their intersecting and intertwining smooth glass rods suddenly rebel and burst into a suspended masterfully crafted goblet. Its like seeing a business man on the street suddenly throw down and rock the worm on a street corner.  The sculptures are a beautiful exploration of the post conceptual idea of the fetishized art object. Object vs idea. Cotterman convinces me that we can all get along.
What I am also convinced of, is that Cleveland artists are smart, have real concerns and the more importantly the talent to express them.  Despite the heavy subject matter addressed in the work, Flash Forward is a celebration of local talent and perhaps the “gentleman, start your engines” sentiment for Cleveland, the Rust belt and the people who call it home. Let’s hope the race is long and paced and we grow stronger and more talented with every lap.  Go see the show….


horses mouth:

January 30–April 3, 2009 SPACES recognizes the talents of artists in our backyard, side yard, front yard, and driveway in Flash Forward, an exhibition featuring Northeast Ohio college graduates who jump creative fences in the contemporary art scene while continuing to live and work in the region.

2220 Superior Viaduct
Cleveland, OH 44113
Gallery Hours
Tues – Thu 11-5:30
Fri 11-7
Sat 11-5:30
Sun 1-5

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walrus symphonica 16.6 in x 37.5 in Archival Injet Print


lightbulb flower 8.8 in x 7 in Archival Inkjet Print

The best art only asks questions and never reveals its secrets. Cleveland based artist Andrew Raz a Tyler School of Art MFA graduate creates dark muddled works that parse meaning through the seemingly random collision of data and images.  As a body of work Mr. Raz’s digitally created and manipulated images seem like film stills or random data received by radio on another planet. They come together like someone adjusting the rabbit ears on a UHF station trying to grab the strongest signal, sometimes seeing a recognizable image then losing it just as fast to static. Individually, Raz’s images are sublime layers of digital glazes that let snippets of information through while obscuring the rest. The end creation is a dense, textured and rich surface of digital patterns and waves rendered  with an intense array of values. The images allude to a digital mash-up of Robert Rauschenberg, Joel Peter Witkin and random surveillance camera stills.  Some seem oddly religious and others resonate with unease as strange body forms appear as if shots from a gritty 8mm snuff film. Raz’s images occupy a thin edge between an empty, dark and isolated digital world and a the spiritual idea of infinity, time and space. They offer up clues but no answers and force the viewer to conclude what side to take. Darth Vader says “Come to the Dark Side” and God says “Come to the light.”


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