By Danielle Leonard
Cleveland State University’s art gallery recently had their opening night for their new set of exhibits for the Fall of 2017 exhibition season. The first exhibit will run Friday, Sept. 1 through Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Galleries at CSU.
There will be two separate themes for the exhibits during the course of this semester. The first, which is showing now, is a focus on sculptures, which are four one-person exhibitions students can view. The second is a focus on abstraction — a three painting exhibition and installation running from Oct. 27-Dec. 9.
The process for finding the artists who are showcased is very detailed. The Director of Cleveland State’s art gallery, Robert Thurmer, and a committee go through the process every year to find the best artists to showcase their talents. When looking at potential artists, they try to select the artist and not the work itself.
“We go through huge material each session, about 20 proposals,” Thurmer said.
Candidates go through a proposal process where they send in images, narrative and a budget. Once the candidates send the requirements to the galleries, the committee, consisting of 17 members ranging from art faculty to gallery staff, the president of the Student Organization of Fine Arts (SOFA), a graduate intern and Robert Thurmer then decide which artists gets showcased in the gallery.
“The artists send what they’ve done, but there is a two-year lag, so they may change, and we make allowances for that,” Thurmer said.
The selected artist’s work will then be shown at two shows in the fall and two shows in the spring, both shows having a max of four to five slots. According to Thurmer, they are not allowed to pay the artists for their work because it may represent conflict of interest. However, the artists do have an opportunity to be paid by a speaker fee if they choose to come to talk about their work. Artists will also have their travel expenses and lodging paid for.
After picking the artists, the committee then sets to work actually creating the exhibits. For the first exhibit that focuses on sculpture, the four artists who were chosen to do the exhibitions are Elizabeth Emery, Elena Harvey Collins, Jim Leach and James LoParo.
Emery was contacted by Thurmer because he felt she would work well with the focus on the exhibit.
“I started thinking immediately what I was going to do, but started working diligently about seven months ago,” Emery said. “My inspiration was sky, mediation and openness, anything in contrast to chaos.”
Emery created “Push Right Back,” which is shown in the South Gallery. The sculptures are made from colored plaster cast in sewn bag-like forms. The pressure and weight of the material reproduces exact details of the forms, threads and gravity of the process. Emery’s favorite description of her piece is when a student described the sculpture as the bag exploding or imploding.
“Every artist’s favorite work is their most recent one, but I have to say this is one of my favorites,” Emery said.
Jim Leach created “The Beauty of Losing and Forgetting,” which is being shown in the North Gallery. For this piece he used different types of things — like performative objects and installations — to create the final piece. James LoParo created “Harmonic Cycles: Frescoes” and “Archaeofroms” two pieces that will be shown in the Center Gallery. To create his pieces for the gallery, LoParo used abstract, formalist sculptures.
“Leach is young, but definitely emerging, sort of a rising star,” Thurmer said. “James LoParo is very established.”
The last artist that will be showcased is Elena Harvey Collins, who created “Final Boss” and “Soft Regards,” which are shown in the Media Room. Unlike her peers, Collins has a video that she created. Her video is on the experience of mothering, the gender fluidity of video game avatars and open-world games to explore the role of technology in structuring children’s identities. The viewing hours of this video are Friday and Saturday from noon to 7 p.m., or by appointment while the exhibit is showing.
For the artists who were chosen to be showcased in the exhibit, this is a very exciting opportunity to get their work shown to a larger audience. Each artist brings a different style to their exhibits that is sure to interest guests of the exhibit for the months to come.