Charmaine Spencer: A Place To Dwell

The fourth of the 2008 Window to Sculpture Emerging Artist Series

Charmaine Spencer
A Place To Dwell (2008)
Image courtesy of The Sculpture Center.

5:30 TO 8:30 PM
6:30 PM

Spencer’s artwork is green in the making and greener in the message. Using cast offs and reconstituted items she describes as readily accessible, easily processed materials that have been made available by consumer-discarders, Spencer creates bold sculptural works with a subtle social message concerning shelter. She disassembles, reforms, and transforms rough cut oak lath, hemp rope, wood strips, synthetic hair, electrical conduit, and recycled paper pulp into large individual pieces that are to be viewed together as an accumulative installation.

Spencer exploits the inherent qualities of the different materials to make contrasting abstract sculptures with strong outlines and interior patterns. Rough cut oak lathing tied with huge rope knots rhythmically bends and contorts to frame an outdoor entryway. Wood strips selectively stained with concrete dyes make sharp rectilinear thrusts into space from densely built up interior forms that suggest walls and rooms. Bristling with rusted steel spikes, free standing organic shapes, cast from recycled paper pulp similar to sun hardened gray mud, curl upon themselves into cave-like structures.

As social critiques, Spencer’s installations recall the successful use of limited resources in traditional African communities and propose that the critical housing needs in this country could be met with the recycling of the material abundance found in our neighborhoods.

About the artist

CHARMAINE SPENCER, born in Ann Arbor, MI, came to Cleveland in 1999 to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA), where she presented her BFA exhibition in 2005. While there she was a recipient of the William McVey Award for excellence in sculpture and one of two students selected to finish posthumously the last sculpture of David E. Davis, the founder of The Sculpture Center. Her work has been shown in a one-person exhibition at Groop Gallery (2004) and group exhibitions at The Art Gallery at Cleveland State University (2004), SPACES (2005), and Groop Gallery (2006), all in Cleveland, OH, and the B.K. Smith Gallery, Lake Erie College (2006), Painesville, OH. She also designed and fabricated the stage installation and costumes for the SAFMOD Performance Ensemble at Cleveland Public Theater (2004). Spencer is active in community arts and culture outreach projects as Coordinator of the Hodge Youth Arts Project and a Representative for ArtSpace Cleveland.

About Bruce Edwards

Bruce Edwards is a Cleveland sculptor and performance artist. He is involved in an advisory role with many area not-for-profit arts organizations, teaches in the Humanities Department of Metro Tri C, and is a member of the Exhibition Committee of The Sculpture Center


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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 is generously supported by an anonymous donor and other private donors to Friends of the Sculpture Center, Studio Techne Architects, and funding from the Bernice and David E. Davis Arts Foundation, the Kulas Foundation, the John P. Murphy Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, and the Ohio Arts Council. 

Gallery hours: Wednesday through Friday, 10 AM to 4 pm, Saturday 12 noon to 4 pm or by prior appointment (Free Parking, Handicapped accessible)