Exchange Exhibition with the Boston Sculptors Gallery

July 5 - August 12, 2012, at the Boston Sculptors Gallery
Stirring the Waters | Between Two Bodies
Cleveland Sculptors in Boston
Jake Beckman | Elizabeth Emery | Sarah Kabot | Lauren Kalman | Irina Koukhanova | Paul O'Keeffe | Nancy Prudic | Kristin Rogers | Mark Soppeland | Robert Thurmer | Charles Tucker | Christian Wullfen

July 6 | 5:00 - 8:00 PM Opening reception with artists' talks by Lauren Kalman, Irina Koukhanova, Nancy Prudic, Kristin Rogers, and Robert Thurmer

Boston Sculptors Gallery Artists Exhibition in Cleveland
Artist's Essay on Boston Exhibition

Stirring the Waters | Between Two Bodies is the first joint venture and exhibition exchange between The Sculpture Center of Cleveland and the Boston Sculptors Gallery in downtown Boston. This exhibition will bring the works of 10 Boston sculptors to Cleveland and those of 12 Northeast Ohio artists to Boston in order to introduce visitors to the quality and variety of sculptural production in the two regions. The exhibitions successfully speak to the artists' own regional and cultural backgrounds and, more broadly, to the range of the aesthetic and conceptual concerns of contemporary sculpture in the post-modern age.

Paramount to the concerns of much contemporary sculpture is a deliberate breaking down of any hierarchy regarding the mechanisms and organization of artistic creations. Many of the works shown in Stirring the Waters | Between Two Bodies exhibit these creative tendencies, and there is a notable presence of works produced using nontraditional materials. Curator Ann Albano and advisor Robert Thurmer noted the high quality of the production techniques of the Boston Sculptors Gallery's artists, a bias towards repurposing of "found" domestic objects, and a proclivity for sophisticated whimsy or double entendre that extends to irony, as well as a concern for personal and environmental issues. For the Cleveland artists there is a notable use of common construction materials, such as plywood, plaster, roofing tar, and sand, combined with other media and markedly non-high art materials to convey abstract concepts.

Initiated by Boston Sculptors Gallery artist Jessica Straus, cultivated by Boston Sculptors Gallery artist Julia Shepley, and curated by The Sculpture Center's Executive Director and Chief Curator Ann Albano, with the advice of board member Robert Thurmer, also Director of Cleveland State University's Art Gallery, Stirring the Waters | Between Two Bodies brings to each city striking examples of the 3-D aesthetic and artistic concerns of our time. Both the Boston Sculptors Gallery and The Sculpture Center support the development and exhibition of new pieces which exemplify the multi-faceted nature of modern sculpture.

Jake Beckman

Jake Beckman, Terra Firma/De-form, 2012, wood, mixed media, 22 1/2 x 14 x 14 in. Image courtesy of the artist.
The aesthetic goal of Jake Beckman's most recent work is to discuss his "relationship to substance, value, and labor at a time in history when globalization and a post-industrial America seem to create as many disconnections as they do opportunities." The artist aims for an ambivalent tone which crosses the boundary between solemn and playful, mixing the visual cues associated with the Midwest's industrial past with those of the organic world. He is attracted to the decaying forms of America's rust-belt landscapes and the irony and symbolism of their destruction. In particular, Beckman is concerned with the "contradiction" between modern notions of progress and humanity's ecological responsibilities.

about the artist

Jake Beckman grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He graduated with a B.A. in Art from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and completed his M.F.A. in Sculpture with honors at the Rhode Island School of Design in Rhode Island. His work has been exhibited in several galleries and museums in Ohio, Rhode Island, and New York City, including SPACES in Cleveland, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, and a solo W2S exhibition at The Sculpture Center in Cleveland. Beckman's pieces may be found in the collections of the Progressive Corporation and Swarthmore College. He has completed several public art projects, including rotaflora in Cleveland, winner of the Trails and the Arts Award from the American Trail Association. He has been a resident at the Vermont Studio Center and is a resident at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in summer 2012. He lives and works in Philadelphia and is currently a visiting professor at Swarthmore College.

Elizabeth Emery
Elizabeth Emery is a sculptor concerned with how chance, experimentation and intuition affect the "combinations reflective of personal narratives and unconscious beliefs" expressed through various forms and media. One of her current interests is making still lifes, works which represent a single moment in time, a moment in which objects interact and help describe one another. In some works, the objects of these still lifes appear disjointed, as Emery uses "uncanny juxtapositions" to create a sense of instability. Emery is, above all, interested in how connections between forms, whether they make sense or not, become a "form of non-verbal communication, a type of shorthand or sign language, my own vocabulary and gesture."
Elizabeth Emery, you mean she was a good pilot for a woman, 2012, fabric, fake fur, acrylic, altered found objects, 43 x 36 x 30 in. Image courtesy of The Sculpture Center.

about the artist

Artist Elizabeth Emery was raised in both Philadelphia and Lawrenceville, NJ. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in Art History and Italian Studies, she moved to New York and became a textile designer. She discovered her athletic side and decided to make a career change to race bicycles professionally throughout the United States and around the world. Elizabeth later earned her MFA from Alfred University in 2008. She focused on ceramic-based mixed media sculpture and collaborative community projects. Currently, Elizabeth teaches a new generation of artists at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland's after-school program and is the Intern Residence Coordinator at Zygote Press. Locally, she has exhibited at SPACES, William Busta Gallery, and The Sculpture Center with a 2012 W2S solo exhibition. She recently won the Hedy and Michael Fawcett Prize for Visual Arts from Syracuse University. Today, she lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio, where she draws from the rich cultural and industrial heritage of the city.

Sarah Kabot

Sarah Kabot, Summertime, 2012, mylar, acrylic paint, fan, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of The Sculpture Center.
Sarah Kabot's latest works are concerned with the liminal spaces and boundaries which may be crossed by the manipulation or repetition of particular forms. As the artist states, the close reproduction of objects in a single environment invites us to question the significance of that object and "emphasizes the shift between original and reproduction." A sculptor concerned with unmaking structure, Kabot's installation for the Boston Sculptors Gallery toys with and mimics the architectural elements of the gallery to create a tension between the original and recreated objects. Such processes highlight the mutability of each site.

about the artist

Sarah Kabot was born in Royal Oak, Michigan. The artist received her B.F.A. from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design in 1998, and her M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2002. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor and Head of the Drawing Department at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Ohio. Many of Kabot's works are influenced by the visually repetitive landscapes of the Midwestern suburban environment in which she was raised.

Sarah's solo exhibition, Unfolding Space, was on view in 2012 at the Akron Museum of Art. This year she appeared as a contestant on the second season of Bravo's Work of Art reality television program. In 2006, she was awarded the Wendy L. Moore Emerging Artist Grant, and had her first solo museum exhibition and catalog, titled On the Flip Side, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, Ohio. Other recent exhibitions include SculptureX at the Sculpture Center in Cleveland Ohio, and the Erie Museum of Art, Erie, PA, Extended Drawing at Tegnerforbundet in Oslo, Norway, Apparently Invisible at the Drawing Center and Paper City at Mixed Greens Gallery, and One by One (solo) at Smack Mellon. Sarah has also presented work at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, The Sculpture Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and Tracy Williams Ltd. in New York. She has residencies in 2012 at the Headlands Center for the Arts, Marin County, CA and Governor's Island, New York, NY. She was previously granted residencies at Sculpture Space in Utica, New York, Swarm Gallery in Oakland, CA and Dieu Donne Papermill in New York. Sarah received a purchase prize, and was one of ten finalists for the West Prize in 2010. Sarah was also the recipient of a 2010 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award.

Lauren Kalman
In her current work, Lauren Kalman uses the sculptural medium to discuss and modify the experience of illness through performance, video, objects, and photography. By shaping materials like fabric into forms which one intellectually associates with diseases such as cancer, herpes and elephantitis, Kalman creates hybrids "of the grotesque or undesirable aspects of the body and objects we associate with beauty, status, health, or wealth." The artist claims that one of the primary interests of her work is to contrast the imagined body with that of our physical reality. Her bodies are stylized and modified to incorporate an assortment of desired aesthetics.
Lauren Kalman, Spectacular, 2012, video stills, monitors, fabric, metal, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of The Sculpture Center.

about the artist

Lauren Kalman is a visual artist whose work combines installation, video, photography, and performance elements. Kalman's pieces are concerned with various perspectives of beauty, body image, value, and consumer culture. She completed her MFA in Art from the Ohio State University and earned a BFA with a focus in metals from the Massachusetts College of Art. Kalman has taught at various institutions including Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, and exhibits and lectures internationally. Her work has been featured in a number of venues including the Centro Cultural Recoleta, Museum of Contemporary Craft, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, and the deCordova Museum, as well as The Sculpture Center as a W2S artist. Her video work has also been screened in several international film festivals.

Irina Koukhanova

Irina Koukhanova, Iron Enclosure, 2010-12, dimensions variable, nine hand-pulled block prints. Image courtesy of the artist.
Koukhanova, an immigrant artist to the United States, describes herself an object maker interested in the psychological processes which individuals experience in periods of conflict. As such, her work considers the development of the body in different physical states, and in particular, how the body reacts to space and adjacent forms. Koukhanova states that her most recent work was created as a dialogue between two and three-dimensions, and these pieces experiment with the notions of irony, solitude, and personal evolution. Using what the artist describes as "retro" materials, Koukhanova's works are simultaneously of the past and present.

about the artist

Russian-born artist Irina Koukhanova began her artistic education at the Moscow Institute of Art and Industrial Design, a school known for its strong Bauhaus tradition. She later earned a MA in the U.S., whereupon she increased the number and variety of materials found in her work. Koukhanova's pieces often bridge the gap between installation art and object-making. Recently, Koukhanova has also expanded into two-dimensional work with a concentration on prints and drawing.

In the past ten years, Koukhanova participated in numerous exhibitions, including Navy Pier Walk, Chicago, juried by David Pagel, exhibitions at Owensboro Museum of Art, KY, and Marlboro Gallery, MD, among others. Her last solo exhibition was at DKO Galerie, Zurich, a gallery which offered her representation. Koukhanova has received three public art commissions and full scholarship residencies at Sculpture Space, Utica, NY, Santa Fe Art Institute, NM, Vermont Studio Center, VT, and others. The artist is currently an Associate Professor of Sculpture at Cleveland State University.

Paul O'Keeffe
The work of Paul O'Keeffe is engaged with how the artistic audience forms initial reactions to his pieces. He initiates this conversation by distorting the physical and corporeal experience through modifications of color, form, and media. The artist suggests that his goal is to "defy the viewers' desire to make meaning of the work apart from the immediate encounter with the form." However, O'Keeffe's pieces are also imbued with multiple layers of metaphor and often make pop culture references to the music of the late 70s, bands whose presence signaled for some the decline of the modernist era. In this regard, the artist's works contain personal anecdotes, although O'Keeffe maintains that his ultimate interest is in experimenting with viewers' perception of and interaction with these objects.
Paul O'Keeffe, some other blues, 2012, 30 x 37 3/4 x 36 1/4 in., flashe and flocking on steel. Image courtesy of the artist.

about the artist

Paul O'Keeffe was born in Dublin, Ireland. His undergraduate education began at St. Martin's School of Art, London and the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. He later received a MFA from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1981. O'Keeffe joined the faculty of Kent State University in 1983 where he is currently a professor at the School of Art. O'Keeffe has had numerous solo and group exhibitions both in the United States and abroad including exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and Dublin. He is the recipient of a number of awards and honors including a Fulbright Fellowship, a Ford Foundation grant, ten Individual Artist Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, an Arts Midwest/National Endowment for the Arts Award, and several awards from the Arts Council of Ireland. Paul O'Keeffe's work is represented in many public and private collections including The Arts Council of Ireland, Bayer USA, Pittsburgh, Progressive Insurance, Cleveland, Kaiser Permanente, Cleveland, and the Cleveland Public Library.

Nancy Prudic

Nancy Prudic, Exchange: Visibility/Invisibility, 2012, mixed media and performance, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of The Sculpture Center.
Nancy Prudic's contributions to the Boston Sculptors Gallery exchange are works which address the development of the human form as represented in art. As the artist states, the human figure "carries meanings that are broad and deep and its interpretations change with every slight shift in culture and society." Her pieces consider the quality of humanity and the manner in which this quality in manifest in "all living and non living things, mechanical, intellectual, or spiritual."

about the artist

Cleveland artist Nancy Prudic received her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art and her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work is concept-driven and includes performance, installation, and sculpture elements. She has exhibited locally, regionally in Pittsburgh and Toledo, and nationally in New York and Sacramento, CA. Prudic has had held solo exhibitions at Brandt Gallery, Lake Erie College, Ursuline College, and The East West Artists Gallery, in addition to participating in several Light Festivals and Parade the Circle events at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Northern Ohio Live nominated her for an Award in Excellence for "48 Hours of Making Art." The artist has also traveled to China and Thailand where she was a visiting artist at the Thai Chinese International Institute in Bangkok. She has worked cross-collaboratively with dance choreographer Lisa DeCato. She is presently Associate Professor of Visual Art at Lake Erie College. Prudic currently serves on the Exhibition Committee at the Sculpture Center and is a founding member of the Board of Trustees at Arts Collinwood and member of the gallery committee.

Kristin Rogers
An artist who incorporate installation, multi-media, and performance elements into his work, Kristin Rogers is a sculptor interested in trompe l'oeil, narratives, and situations which "both reflect and reflect upon community, the service industry and labor, domesticity, and the 'Do it Yourself' (DIY) ethos." Rogers's works often address social issues and contemporary context, relying on audience involvement. In particular, the artist is interested in the human emotions of hope, fear, and power, all of which may endow us with an unrealistic sense of individual control.
Kristin Rogers, Here to Stay, 2012, mixed media, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of The Sculpture Center.

about the artist

Kristin Rogers is an artist and independent curator living and working in Cleveland, OH. His work often considers issues of social intervention, collaboration, and relational/situational aesthetics, with particular emphasis on exploring the nuanced relationships between art and labor, between art and the viewer/participant, and between art and the community/domestic life. Kristin's work has been shown in both national and international venues. Highlights in the artist's career to date include a 2001 Netherlands exchange event, "Interchange: Simultaneity in Action"; a solo installation at the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center in 2008 as well as his inclusion in the 2009 curated exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Cleveland), There Goes the Neighborhood. Kristin is an art professor and guest lecturer at both the Cleveland Institute of Art and at Case Western Reserve University.

Mark Soppeland

Mark Soppeland, The Shrine to Suspension of Disbelief, 2005-06, acrylic, enamel, rhinestones and gold leaf on mixed media, 26 x 15 x 12 in. Collection of William and Margaret Lipscomb, Shaker Heights, Ohio. Image:Penny Rakof.
The recent works of Mark Soppeland are reflective of the artist's own understanding of the human impulse to possess, find, and transform objects. As such, Soppeland's pieces are concerned with presentation, engagement, and exchange. He states that he is "particularly interested in moments when a collection of materials, ideas, and energy converge to create reassuring events of improbable coincidence."

about the artist

An Ohio-based painter, sculptor and designer, Mark Soppeland has shown his work in over four hundred exhibitions and has been awarded five Ohio Arts Council Fellowships. Soppeland has participated in over fifty public art projects including works for The Bravo Networks; Prague Center for Contemporary Art and the Klenova Institute in the Czech Republic; Kohler Art Center; Cleveland Public Theater; Philadelphia Children's Hospital; Metro Health Medical Center; Suma Health Systems; Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron; Summit County Children's Services Board; and Akron-Summit County Public Library. The artist's work is currently shown at Harris Stanton Gallery in Akron; Art and Soul Gallery in Boulder, Colorado; Hammond Harkins Galleries in Columbus, Ohio and The Art Store in Charleston, WV. Soppeland is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Akron and is finishing his thirty-sixth year of teaching at the Myers School of Art.

Robert Thurmer
Robert Thurmer's sculptures reflect the artist's attempts to create "found" art objects, what he describes as "stand-ins that refer to certain kinds of conventional art objects." Thurmer uses materials which he accrued from recent domestic projects, selected for their color, surface texture, and industrial feel. The primary tone of these pieces is one of both turmoil and structure, expressed through self-referential repetitions of particular forms and content.
Robert Thurmer, Mephistopheles as Self, 2012, 79 x 12 x 13 in., roofing tar, insulation foam. Image courtesy of the artist.

about the artist

Artist Robert Thurmer was born in Vienna, Austria, and began his undergraduate studies at Joseph Haydn Realgymnasium (MATURA). Following his relocation to the United States, Thurmer continued his studies for a BFA at Syracuse University in New York and an MFA at Rhode Island School of Design in Rhode Island. The artist is currently the Art Gallery Director at Cleveland State University, and teaches Museum Studies and Studio Art, including Foundation, Sculpture, and Drawing. Thurmer also serves on The Sculpture Center Board of Directors as Chair of the Exhibition Committee. He has enjoyed exhibitions at The Pickled Arts Centre, Beijing, China, and the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York; his international solo shows took place at Gallerie Satellite, Paris, France; Gallerie Forum Kunst, Weilheim Teck, Germany; and Palace Palffy Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia. In the United States, Thurmer has held group and solo shows at venues in Cleveland, Ohio, and elsewhere in the U.S. He has also held an Artist Residency at Fairmont State University, West Virginia.

Charles Tucker

Charles Tucker, Transelementation (from the Ecology series), 2012, lead, wood, carpet padding, 18 x 20 x 10 in. Image courtesy of The Sculpture Center.
The sculptures of Charles Tucker concentrate on structure and the recognition of boundaries or relationships that we establish within the space we occupy. Tucker suggests that constructed spaces are determined by our individual understanding of that area, which is often manifest in terms of repetition, patterns, and manipulation of context. The artist further implies that when we recognize our tendency to reassemble our surroundings, we begin a necessary struggle to "reconcile our constructed understandings with reality." These structural concerns are the primary focus on the artist's work, especially as Tucker asserts art's ability to address the "poetic implications of non-linear space."

about the artist

Charles Tucker, a native of Alabama and migrant to the Cleveland area, is an independent artist. An installation artist with a secondary passion for research, Tucker has been working on the development of art/science methodology since the mid-1990s. This interest stems from Tucker's graduate experience in the areas of geology and aquatic toxicology. Tucker has exhibited widely, including exhibitions in Italy and Germany with his most recent solo exhibition The Aesthetic Compass in collaboration with art critic Saul Ostrow at The Banff Centre (Alberta, Canada, 2008). Tucker has been awarded residencies at Art Farm (Marquette NE, 2010, 2011), The Banff Center (2008, 2009), and other places. He holds a MFA in sculpture from the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa), a BFA at the University of South Alabama (Mobile), and BS in biology and Geneology from Livingston University (AL).

Christian Wulffen
A "systematic investigation of the possibilities of structuring information and of presenting it via the constitution of an archive of artistic utterances," the recent works of artist Christian Wulffen are sculptures which enhance the existing dialogue between artistic aim and his own actions. This balance gives Wulffen's work a rather analytical quality, wherein the artist's work provokes further discussions on the state of contemporary art. In fact, the artist himself invites such comparisons, describing his sculptures as pieces which are meant to be seen "against the background of the resumption of concrete and conceptual patterns in present day art, and against the background of a binding art-on-art mechanism and of the impetus of the reflection of the compression phenomenon in Western industrial societies."
Christian Wulffen, What Happens to an Object?, 2012, mixed media, 8 ft. x 8 ft. x 14 in. Image courtesy of The Sculpture Center.

about the artist

Christian Wulffen, a resident of Cleveland Heights, OH, earned his MFA from the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart, Germany in 1987, following his time as a visiting student at both the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf and also at The Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Wulffen also received positionas as the Artist-in-Residence at the Art Foundation Baden-Württemberg and the Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris). Before coming to the United States, he was an instructor at the Independent Art Academy (Metzingen) and the Artistic Associate to the Dean at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart.

His work has been exhibited at numerous galleries both in Europe and the United States, including Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX; Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH; Michael Sturm Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany; Stiftung für konkrete Kunst, Reutlingen, Germany; Demmel Gallery, Dsnabrück, Germany; Stiftung für konkrete Kunst, Reutlingen; Durhammer Gallery, Frankfurt, Germany; Municiple Art Museum, Singen, Germany; Köstring-Maier Gallery, Munich, Germany; McDonough Museum of Art, Youngstown, Ohio; Niklas von Bartha Gallery, London, England; and ACP Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland. Christian Wulffen is currently an Associate Professor in the Foundation Department at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

About the Boston Sculptors Gallery

Currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, Boston Sculptors Gallery was begun in response to a perceived lack of gallery space for local artists to exhibit their work. In 1992, a small group of 18 artists and associates founded the Boston Sculptors Gallery. It was only three years later, in 1995, that the Boston Sculptors Gallery was named "Boston's best gallery" by Boston Magazine. The following year, the Boston Globe also regaled the Boston Sculptors Gallery as "the most innovative gallery around". Currently, 36 members are able to show their work every two and a half years.

The gallery has also served as the hosting venue for the Massachusetts Cultural Council Sculpture Fellowship Recipients, has organized exchanges with Arelis, an association of contemporary tapestry artists of Paris France and with The Sculpture Center of Cleveland Ohio, and is currently in conversation with a German curator to orchestrate a Berlin exchange. Boston Sculptors Gallery has mounted exhibitions at the Brattleboro Museum in Vermont, the University of New Hampshire Museum, The Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Massachusetts, The University of Massachusetts Harbor Gallery, The Fitchburg Art Museum, The Attleboro Art Museum, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Gallery.

Caroline Bagenal, Summer Palace, 2010, newspaper, cardboard, wood, 10 x 18 x 18 ft. Shown in Gallery 2 of the Boston Sculptors Gallery. Image courtesy of Boston Sculptors Gallery.
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The Sculpture Center is a not-for-profit arts institution dedicated to the advancement of the careers of emerging Ohio sculptors and the preservation of Ohio outdoor sculpture as a means to provide support for artists and to effect the enrichment, education, enjoyment, and visual enhancement of the Cleveland community and greater region.

The Sculpture Center receives generous support from The Callahan Foundation, the Kulas Foundation, The John P. Murphy Foundation, the Bernice and David E. Davis Art Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, studioTECHNE|architects, the Leonard Krieger Fund of The Cleveland Foundation, Sculpture Center board members, and many individual donors to Friends of The Sculpture Center. Additional generous public funding comes from the citizens of Cuyahoga County and the state of Ohio through:

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