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William Busta Gallery exhibits the work of Northeast Ohio artists and strives to have an ongoing relationship of gallery representation. The gallery accommodates a wide range of artists from emerging to mid-career and established artists. Additionally, William Busta represents artists from a variety of media from painting and printmaking to new media and installation. This past month William Busta Gallery showed the work of four Northeast Ohio artists who embody a diversity of interests, representations, and stages of career. The main exhibition space featured Michael Loderstedt, and a smaller room off of the main exhibition area spotlighted printmaking by Loderstedt’s students at Kent State University.
Michael Gill: Common Household Rhymes for the Modern Child
December 2 through January 28, 2012
In Common Household Rhymes for the Modern Child, Michael Gill displays his most ambitious book yet. The edition is comprised of 17 multicolor woodcuts from 83 individual woodblocks with hand-set type, which were printed locally and bound by hand. The individual rhymes are vignettes into the daily life of a child. A series on riding a bike reads:
“It’s a gyroscopic feeling
when we go out wheeling.
That’s what we find appealing when we ride our bikes.”
Within each vignette, there is a strong sentiment about being in a space that is all yours. In this case, it is a city at night while riding a bike and wheeling through town without a care in the world. There is something relatable about the sensibility of a child, which might make some adult viewers yearn for one’s own childhood. In a sense, perhaps the “modern child” is an adult who wishes so badly for the simple cares of childhood that he becomes, if only for a moment, a child again.
Michael Loderstedt: Menagerie
January 6 through February 5, 2012
Through a diverse range of media including printmaking, sculpture, and photography, Michael Loderstedt presents an assemblage of works that hints at the artist’s personal narrative while avoiding a singular theme or motif. Perhaps the most concrete personal account comes from two works of the same name (Schiff Geschicte), which represent a screenprint of a German steamship in two versions. One version is the constructed 3-D object made of cut, folded, and assembled paper, while the other is the un-erected 2-D counterpart with text in English (set against German in the sculpture version). The text explains Loderstedt’s beginnings: his birth in Germany and his parents’ journey to the U.S. via steamship, a narrative unknown to the artist until adulthood.
A fascination with Germany extends to floating paper houses in the rear of the gallery (all with German names) and photographs from Berlin and Saxony. Much of the photography in the exhibition exists as artist books, which are organized by place—all of which seem to have importance to Loderstedt. A sense of place is woven throughout the exhibition with the artist’s interest in architecture, including the towering “Rembrandt’s Skyscraper,” made of screenprinted, cut, folded, and assembled paper. While there are sub-themes throughout the exhibition, it remains difficult to find over-arching connections. Since many works are seemingly unrelated to one another, perhaps we are forced to avoid our tendency to find relations and simply enjoy the variety of material Michael Loderstedt affords us in this exhibition.
Barbara Polster: Space Elevator
December 2 through January 28, 2012
Barbara Polster’s Space Elevator is an installation of sculpture and video, which centers on concepts of weightlessness, movement, and moment. A white sculpture in the center of the darkened room is a foam-core replica of a construction elevator, meant to carry people and supplies vertically. The video, which stretches across the elevator and onto the wall behind the elevator, consists of a loop of a man running in slow motion along a track, who moves laterally. During the video sequence, the figure wraps along the side of the elevator until he figure finds the wall to ground him again. The viewer is unsure how to grapple with the idea of weightlessness and the vertical movement that the elevator embodies while the figure moves laterally in moments of being grounded and instances of jumping in the air. However, the confusion of being grounded and of floating, of order and disorder, and of directionality and randomness heightens the viewer’s awareness.
Brinsley Tyrrell: Ohio Lands Forever
The lustrous enamel paintings in this exhibition by Brinsley Tyrrell could be from any breathtaking landscape in the world. It is all the more poignant these works all come from Ohio near Tyrrell’s home in Freedom Township, Portage County. Tyrrell’s paintings of landscapes with vibrant color and unexpected texture ask the viewer to look closer, to spend more than a mere moment with, and to explore what might be unseen on a first glance. Put together, many of the paintings begin to resemble each other due to Tyrrell’s fascination with returning to a location time and time again to begin anew—this time at a different time of day, a different time of year, or simply with a different outlook.
Stylistically, the paintings relate to the patches of pigment of the Impressionists due particularly to Tyrrell’s process of allowing clumps of pigment to meld onto steel followed by slight reworking by the artist. For the novice, anticipating just how the pigment will look
after firing may be difficult, if not impossible. For Brinsley Tyrrell, who received the 2011 Cleveland Art Prize for Lifetime Achievement, the result is foreseeable, but for the viewer these
paintings have a feeling of spontaneity, as if we are seeing these familiar landscapes for the first time.
Gretchen Ferber is an artist and writer based in Cleveland, Ohio. View more articles by Gretchen Ferber.