This is an online publishing of a book compiled by the artists who showed at Brandt Gallery from 1990 – 2000. Each artist was asked to contribute an image and one page artist statement for each of their shows.
What we received is what follows here. A wonderful collection of words, art, collage and musings by the artists from 1990 – 2000.
Special Thanks to Steven B. Smith for his countless hours spent assisting in scanning photos and collecting text from the artists.
- Olde Stuff – A Retrospective
Olde Stuff – A Retrospective
September 28 – December 21, 1990
Me and Jean’s Gallery – by Terry Durst
If I liked sports I would use the “if you build it, they will come” analogy, but I hate sports – I absolutely detest sports, and religion too – all kinds of sports and all religion – I detest them all!
But enough about me.
In 1990 Jean had an idea to use her law office space as an art gallery, and I was pleased as punch to be asked to do the first show.
I hung sort of a retrospective, 22 pieces, I think – time sure fades away and memory sure fails – and called the show Olde Stuff. It was wall-hung found object sculpture from the previous ten years, mostly, and there might’ve been a floor piece too. I hung it salon style in the small room.
We even made little table tents to put at Miracle’s Restaurant to advertise the show.
At the time there were a few fledging galleries in Tremont: Ron Naso’s Studio Gallery, Jim McCall’s. But Jean has a vision of creating a real gallery, with regular shows, regular hours, announcements, and listings. And openings with cheese, wine, beer, and, well, just whatever anybody brought.
The basement was always fun. In 1995 I did an installation there, in the basement, which involved over four hundred men’s socks hung on clotheslines, by one clothespin each. I believe, ahem, that it was the longest running show? We left it up for months.
Dan came into town from Chicago, just happened to stop at Jean’s gallery, just happened to see my work, my socks hung there all forlorn and lonely, and later Jean said to me you gotta meet this guy, Jean told Dan you gotta meet this guy (me), I called Dan for a blind date, and Dan and I have been together since that blind date night. Eight years in December. And until the end.
Over the years I’ve had the privilege of using the gallery space as my own. Whatever I wanted to do, whatever I wanted to show. I’ve always loved the small single room on the main floor, perfect for an intimate show of wall-hung work, or a small installation.
Even a big window at the front sidewalk with a little “stage” area behind it. Once I made this window area into a gym locker room, just because I detest sports so much I guess – it was kinda homo, ya know?
This gallery has always been perfect for me.
Jean has never placed any restrictions on what I’ve wanted to do. She’s fearless that way, as all good gallery directors – needless to say artists themselves – have to be.
Once when showing at Busta’s with Michael Loderstedt, we were not permitted to display blurred naked photographic images of ourselves in the window where we wanted to put them. Fuck that, I say. Later Michael and I showed much of that same work at Jean’s, and she offered us nothing but encouragement to do whatever the hell we wanted. (That was the Jesus H. Christ show)
Artists accepting less than complete freedom to do whatever the hell they want are just spineess fucking sell-outs. I don’t have time or tolerance for this shit. I’d rather not show.
I’ve done many shows at Jean’s – how many? Do I hold the record? Who cares? I loved doing all of them, and Jean facilitated my growth as an artist in a way that’s not often found – it’s been a gift. it’s very hard to find.
One of my favorite shows was in 1997 because I had the main space and Jeesun Park did a beautiful installation in the basement. (Oh yeah, that was the show with the locker room….)
And the time I filled the gallery with thirty-five angel food cakes on little beds having a sleepover, an installation I recently re-created at Lake Erie College.
We hung a show of my dad’s work right after he died.
My last show at Jean’s was in 1999. I called it New Work and it consisted of four black wall-hung sculptures, all pretty much about the death of my dad.
So what have you and I and everyone else you’ve shown wrought upon our community, Jean Brandt?
Just kidding. But now we have committees (!) and stupid fucking painted guitars and even dumber fucking painted fire hydrants, and Tom Mulready telling everyone what’s fucking cool.
Real artists stay home and work, dammit!
Dead Horse is the only new gallery I trust.
And Angle Magazine is a great thing, although they did print that full-page picture of the motherfucking Cleveland Indian. What did that have to do with art, anyway?
Goddamn sports and religion are everywhere! Jesus people in Lincoln Park now!
Oh screw it.
Jean, you got the real thing baby. Ineffable thanks for your impossible dreams.
(But just one thing – where is my DIAMOND DOGS album?)
1st Brandt Law Office/Gallery Exhibition
September 28 – December 21, 1990
Olde Stuff – A Retrospective
- Paintings by Craig Robertson
Alternative Spaces – Craig Robertson: art of a trickster
by Amy Sparks – Cleveland Edition – Feb 21-27 1991
There are several ironies in playing the art game in Cleveland. It requires playing by rules that no one has bothered to write down, or I suspect, have been encrusted in oil and encaustic and are in a vault somewhere on the east side. If you don’t play by the slippery rules – which gets you local notoriety, legitimacy, exhibitions and sales – you can choose two paths. Try bending or breaking the rules (don’t forget to smile), or play off the board entirely.
If an artist says there is no place in Cleveland to show his or her work, you know they are lying. There are many, many places to show work – bank lobbies, restaurants, clubs, vanity galleries, beat-up storefronts, theater lobbies, malls, offices, frame shops, arts and crafts shops, schools. The artists has the satisfaction of knowing that their technicolor hearts and souls grace the bent heads of diners crunching on arugula, prowling shoppers, worried bankers, sleek, numbed dancers, workers who could not care less, people who think looking at art always requires cafe au lait afterwards. But there are very few places that bestow the kind of “legitimacy” that artists need – or think they need. The kind of legitimacy offered those who have successfully passed GO and schmoozed the hotel owners on Boardwalk.
Two individual artists opened solo shows last week that are, if not off the board, off the beaten track. …
Artist Craig Robertson is a trickster, one who shuns the urban art game in favor of his farm and the company of his goat, Satan. He despises government grants for art, academia, and general art-world pretentiousness. His works are by turns raw and primitive, beautiful and disconcerting. A sample of them can be seen at the law office of Jean Brandt, a high-ceilinged storefront in Tremont at 1028 Kenilworth, near Lincoln Park.
This is the second art show Jean Brandt has organized, the first being 22 works by Terry Durst last December. She has minimal guidelines: She will only present work she likes, send out postcards, and buy a twelve-pack of Dos Equis for the opening. This is art among friends, for friends and anyone else who wants to see it. This is about loving art and wanting to be in the midst of it all day long.
Here Robertson shows two large paintings that are strung like hides between heavy wooden frames. Both are lushly painted and varnished, and quite eerie. In Search Party a flat, unbroken field holds four figures: three men searching for something, and a woman, naked and open to the sky behind a wall of spiky red vines. There is disturbing unreality about the painting. The other, Tangle of Incidents in an Angle of Incidence is a night scene of a stout, leafless tree caught in the glare of unseen headlights. Among its bare branches death’s head moths grin and glitter. He also shows four “voodoo boxes” – painted wooden vessels holding images from his farm (chicken leg, larva, his goat, and a gate adorned with bones). Strung onto three poles that act as spiky stands, they are fetish objects caught in a static, unbalanced dance. They are images that capture what it’s like to be an artist who refuses to play the game.
Paintings - Craig Robertson
February 15 – March 31, 1991
- Paintings by Maria Winiarski
The Crow a Symbol in Art
The black crow as an archetype communicates with the creative and the collective conscience stirring ancient memories of myth and depth of spiritual unease, Such is the case of this certain black feathered muse.Maria Winiarski, Paintings April 5 – June 1, 1991
- Sensory Overload Chamber and Black Velvet
The idea of a black velvet show started, as I remember it, in a drunken conversation at Sindy’s bar. It turned out that a surprising number of people actually owned a piece of black velvet art.
In a later conversation with Jean, we talked about me actually organizing such a thing.
I tentatively said maybe and started asking around. Another surprising number of people were actually willing to make a piece with a black velvet theme. Artists included: Joan of Art, Marc Clements, Terry Durst, Bruce Edwards, Frank Green, Ron Naso, Steven B. Smith, Steve Torkar, Laila Voss, Beth Wolfe, Maria Winiarski, and a number of others who I hope are only slightly miffed that I just can’t remember (for instance there was a late submission of a truly exquisite tall black velvet chair sculpture.)
It should also be noted that this show served as a good backup for Charlotte Pressler’s freaky little ride.
Jay Clements, curator
- Mark Alexander – Sculpture
I live in an old, brick house, two story. Wood and steel lean against the outside buildings and weather. Some of the materials make their way into the shop. The shop is where the tools are. The kitchen, where i perk the coffee, is next to the shop. I walk between the two in a pair of well worn boots.
- MAMA Art Movement MAMA Art Movement
Presented by White Wall of Sound
Organized by Jim Clinefelter
November 8 – December 22, 1991
with the Politically Incorrect Poetry Reading
Man, this will be a tough one.
I have no idea of who read at the MAMA show night,
apart from Charlotte Pressler.
Who were the others?….
probably folks Charlotte knew.
I remember someone shouting, “I’ve tasted the Pope!”
during somebody’s turn at reading.
I can come up with a collage or two that I did for that show.
It was a group show,
all ephemeral collages by about 6-10 people,
and I would guess that most of those works no longer exist.
I really don’t remember the exact proceedings of the openings
very well, mainly because they were sort of a usual thing
with the crowd I hung with in Kent
(and who later moved to Cleveland, and points east and west).
They were done for the moment….
an interesting, fun thing to do to for an evening,
and present work that (hopefully) connected with people.
I think that’s really the strength of Jean’s gallery…
it’s a place were an artist/poet/genuine human being can be allowed
to show work that fights the ever-present grey Ohio nothingness.
- ISOLATIONSIT ART GALLERY REVIEW 1992
ISOLATIONIST ART GALLERY REVIEW 1992
Promotes work by artists unaffected by influence outside of themselves. Now accepting proposals for the 1992 season. Seeking artists working on the cutting edge of avant-garde isolationism.
Must be able to provide verification of such. Being isolationists, we are unable to review other artists’ work to verify style.
1992 promises to be an exciting season!
Lower attendance than ever is expected!
Doors locked: Tuesday – Saturday 12-6
Closed Sunday and Monday
Send proposals to
Isolationist Art Gallery
P.O. Box 14025
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
contributors : Wayne Draznin, Tom Stevens, Steven B. Smith, Craig Robertson, Joan Deveney, Kenyette Adrine-Robinson, Terry Durst, Beth Wolfe, Mikel Mahoney
- White Heterosexual Male
. . . Because I Want To Be Terry Durst.
I am a white heterosexual male
Leonard said it best
A feathered, egg-laying animal on a high voltage wire
A paranoid white heterosexual male
I have sexual encounters all night
Next to my wife
Rolling over into it
Afraid of detection
I’m a completely paranoid white heterosexual male
Spurting semen into the sink
Spurting semen onto a shirt
Spurting semen onto her belly
Spurting semen into rubber
Shoot it into the air
Shoot it into the ceiling
I am your cobalt angel
I play all day and all night
I whistle at all in-coming
I look down when birds fly over
I see ears on the ground
I like all forms of velvet
I pray to my big toe
I pick my nose in public
The epitome of the paranoid caucasian heterosexual
A Multi-Media Sensory Installation
White Heterosexual Male
April 24 – June 14, 1992
- Minor Art curated by the REASONABILISTS
1st Prize winner Nora Hartlaub on Minor Art Exhibit
I copied the picture very slowly, and oh-so-carefully. Line for line, form for form, the magazine picture guided my eyes and hand in a pencil and water-color replica of the published photograph. My selected subject was a crumb-ling two-story farmhouse with cows milling around about it. Trying as hard as I could to reproduce perfectly each shabby shingle, every stamped down blade of grass, I fulfilled my high school art assignment in a concentrated effort of unfamiliar enthusiasm. At sixteen, (or was it fifteen) I realized that art school was beginning to creep around the corners.
I believe it may have taken me a few weeks of allocated art class time to complete the painting. I was quite proud of it, as it really did look just like the photograph, which, of course, was really the only goal with art at that point. Upon finishing, I handed it in to my “browns-fan-turned-art-teacher” for grading. Unbeknownst to me, he tucked it under his arm and carted it straight away to the AV room. There he hacked off the bottom portion of the painting in the paper cutter, and then proceeded to feed it through the laminator.
I was devastated. He had ruined the composition, cut off the best cow I had done, and had thrown out the remains with no remorse. Butcher! So effected was I by it, that I couldn’t even begin to entertain the thought of confronting him, I just went home and cried.
About or around this same time, a friend of my Fathers introduced me to the idea of showing some work in a public venue of some sort. Somehow, within some period of time (this is fuzzy), my Mother ended up driving me towards down town into this neighborhood with close set houses and older cars. The name of the neighborhood rolled around in my mouth as I peered out the window at houses, a park, and old storefronts moving by,…Tremont.
Although I had never associated artists with lawyers before, that’s where I was heading, towards both, simultaneously. We were heading for Jean Brandt’s law office slash gallery.
The only thing I remember well at all was the chicken. Walking into the store front, you were confronted by a maze work of two by fours and chicken coup, complete with the cock himself. I could tell my Mom was confused. I, on the other hand, loved it. The art people were some kind of secret organization. They were hip, using words that my teachers would have deemed worth fifty cents. They weren’t like my parents, or any other adults I had ever had contact with. And so I left them two pictures, one being the massacerred watercolor of that old farm house copied form a photograph ripped from a magazine. (one might actually want to explore this idea seriously at this point), and the other, a linolium block print of my Dad’s head, also laminated.
Now things become almost dark as I strain to remember the order of events…I suppose it was a Friday night possibly that I received a call from an unknown man. He was one of the secret society of art people. He was calling to tell me that I had actually won the Minor Art show with my watercolor, that they had thought it was good, and that I should come down to receive my prize. Unfortunately, no one was home to drive me, so I just had to accept over the phone. I guess I really didn’t know what to think. I recall that some amount of money was given as the prize, but whether it was twenty dollars or fifty dollars I cannot tell.
I think I was almost embarrassed about winning with a picture I knew had been ruined by a middle-aged man who was definitely a teacher before an artist. But regardless, I’m sure I was thrilled to tell my parents when they got home. And I’m sure that without realizing it at the moment, the experience of opening myself to a small public was seminal in my young development.
Later, my Mom had the painting framed, which is probably what saved it from getting ruined somewhere along the line. It now hangs in the back spare bedroom where a visitor every few years might glance upon it…. and where I can savor a few memories of high school, my first show, and the mess that has happened since.
1st prize winner
June 20 – July 19, 1992
Minor Art words from Victoria Semarjian
Pot after pot, sculpture after sculpture. In the kiln carefully, but never making it past a first was, my face sculpture, all in one piece, sitting alone and proud in the kiln. Now for a few coats of glaze and out to the gas kiln to perform the ritualistic raku firing. Despite my lack of Asian-ness, I prayed to my Asian gods with hopes that phase two would leave my sculpture unscathed. Low & behold, someone heard my cries. It made it through. For weeks, I coveted my little sculpture like it was the Hope Diamond.
A month or two later, I was asked to participate in a show of young artists at Southside Gallery. Immediately, I knew my masterpiece would finally be seen by someone other than my mom and dad. I eagerly submitted it along with a painting. As Minor Art neared, I could barely contain my excitement.
As a frequenter of the pre-renaissance Tremont, I thought I’d pop into the gallery to see how the installation was going. To my dismay or rather to my horror. There it was the piece de resistance in several (4 to be exact) pieces atop a pedestal. Now, I was pretty sure I hadn’t delivered it that way, but perhaps it really had blown up in the kiln and my in tact sculpture was just a fantasy. Jean Brandt broke it to me gently. There had been an accident, while hanging the show someone had bumped the…and everything seemed to go silent. I could see Jean’s mouth moving, but couldn’t hear a word. All I could hear is the sound of my heart and sculpture shattering. After a moment of silence and a bit of regrouping, we all decided it was worth showing anyhow. My paintings at that time were of a deconstructed theme, so it seemed appropriate.
By the time the show had closed, I was at peace with the death of my sculpture. In fact, I had already planned for it’s rebirth as a part of something far greater. When I went to pick up my work, it became apparent that someone liked my sculpture as much as I did. One of the faces of my sculpture was missing. Yes, gone. Lifted straight from it’s pedestal and pocketed by someone other than it’s rightful owner. It was at that moment in time that I learned a few very important life philosophies that I practice to this day. First, never get too attached to anything material. Easy come, easy go. And second, if someone loves something you have created and it will bring them pleasure from day to day, give it to them… for free. Prosperity can be measured in more ways than just money.
June 20 – July 19, 1992
Reasonabilists David Madigan and Terry Durst
featuring works by individuals between the ages of 13 and 21 years of age.
Three cash prizes awarded on REASONABILIST response to the meaning and feeling of the pieces.
If there isn’t a title card, the piece is untitled and the artist’s name appears on the piece. If there isn’t an artist, or a title card, then you don’t exist.
That poignant moment when the piece fell from your pedestal and crashed to the floor.
No more piece, just pieces – we could commit suicide – and make no more mistakes, or continue to live and fuck-up. WE ARE MORE THAN VERY SORRY.
I couldn’t give a shit about the stupid incident. All’s I know’s that we were measuring and reacted to something else and WHAM!, down it went and I am coming to dinner. I know Terry must feel real bad, I do. Or maybe it’s awkwardness he feels. I think I am a professional sometimes but when something like this happens it makes you question your own position, and respect other’s more, in respect to your own.
“We’re not sure yet” is a common expression of ours, and “Maybe you should stick to vodka” really stuck.
P.S. It’s well-hung, isn’t it? Donations from winners to Church of REASONABILISM are accepted kindly.
REASONABILISM tenet # 14:
Every time you drill a hole you fuck.
- Derek Mason Photographs
I got stationed at Travis AFB right after Tech. School. It’s this large base in northern California, north of San Francisco. From day one I was unhappy. When I was in the Base Exchange one weekend, I bought this really nice 35mm camera because this guy I knew in Tech. School got one. I’ve always wanted a kind of camera like that.
I don’t know if it was right afterwards or sometime later, but I walked into the Hobby Shop. It’s this place where you can work on hobbies…..anything from woodworking to automotives to photography. I noticed that they have classes and so I asked about it. The guy running the darkrooms told me it’s better if I take the class for the darkroom, cause anybody can take a photo, but if you know what’s going on after you take a picture, you can take better pictures. He’s this skinny guy with a limp. There was a class coming up soon so I needed to take a roll of b&w film. Just take pictures of nything……it didn’t matter.
I took random shots of things around me and on the base. I had a few shots left and really didn’t know what to take. I wanted it to be interesting. I looked out of my window on the top floor of a three story dorm building, in the corner. I saw this woman in a long white dress, like a bride or something, standing in the grassy area with some guy talking. I zoomed in to see what they were doing. He walked away and I took a picture. Just then she turned and started to walk. I took a few more before she caught up with the guy.
The class I took lasted about an hour…..I wound up staying a few hours after hanging out with Troy, who was in charge of the darkroom. He was fascinated by this woman in my photos. She turned out to be a girlfriend of my room-mate.
I would go into the darkroom to escape from the crap of the military. So, I was taking pictures that were not necessarily military. I had a particular interest in reflections and objects being reflected. Was I trying for an altered meaning? Maybe.
I don’t know what I was doing or how I came up with the idea, but I decided to see if I could have my photos hanging in the cafeteria in the hospital where I worked. I asked and was able to get permission. I set out to have nine 8.5 x 11 photos matted to 11 x 14. They supplied the frames as part of regs. Funny shit. I used good paper and a process that would preserve them for a long time. The ninth picture got slightly ruined when
I was drying it. I forgot where it is or what happened to it. I made only one copy and one set of the pictures.
I see them as a set. Like a story. The photos hung there until I left the military and went back to Cleveland.
A friend of the family is an artist and was in charge of a gallery in a hallway by Pier W restaurant. She needed to fill up space and I thought why not. I had gotten into writing more and more poetry and started to print up some books. I use my photos as covers for them. I think it made them far more interesting.
I remember sitting in Jean’s office one day and I wanted to have my own poetry reading…..to do something just because. I mentioned to Jean off handedly about me doing a poetry reading and having my photos hanging up. Jean was busy with business and gave a vague answer. All I wanted to do was have a poetry reading and let people see the photos I did. Jean finally told me there might be a weekend where there’s a change of shows.
All I wanted to do was hang up my eight photos, but she insisted that I need more than that. I think I pulled out almost everything I had. We pasted a bunch of contact sheets and 5 x 7’s onto chipboards. Jean kept insisting that there is a correct way of hanging photos up; “….but I want this one here….,” was my only answer. I ended up hanging them wherever I wanted to because I was the artist. As it turned out, the middle spot on the large wall was a blank spot. The arrangement was sort of random, but it formed a certain flow that went thru the room.
Derek Mason Photographs July 31 – August 2, 1992
with the Midsummer Urban Drudge & Sludge Poetry reading
- Editorial Mural – Mikel Mahoney
September 11 – October 25, 1992
- Your Vote Counts TV Repair Shop an Installation by Beth Wolfe
- A Sudden Show (of Interest) A Conceptual Breakfast of Fools
A Letter To The People – City Reports
Valerie Marek and James Welch’s (aka Slowhouse) show is untraditional yet has a comfortable, almost cozy feel to it. The work – chairs, wall hangings, paintings and other furnishings from their home on Cleveland’s west side – is functional as well as decorative.
Most noticeable is a high-backed chair that reaches taller than the height of some people. Built into the backrest is a chalkboard with messages scrawled on it – today it reads “megaphone.”
An old chest filled with feathers acts as a prize box for guests; visitors putting in their hands could pull out anything from radishes to dried poppies to a turtle shell with poetry painted around the rim. A sheer, white curtain hangs from a ring near the ceiling, looking much like a portable shower.
Though it may be hard for some to see the meaning in their art, they insist it’s not just art for art’s sake.
According to Welch, the motto that covers – and may possibly explain – both their art and writing is para-phrased from Voltaire: “All styles are good except the boring style.”
But what they devote most of their time to, when he’s not working at Zubal’s bookstore on West 25th Street and when she’s not at her full-time job as a graphic designer, is their magazine Wray, which imitates their art in its originality.
Wray doesn’t have a formal format or any strict rules; according to Marek, they look for the “exceptional, unusual” submissions, while Welch said they print “stuff that’s involved and not just personal spewing, memories and reminiscing/it is something that reaches, anything from language, poetry and on the surface very academic-looking, to collage, free-form and experimental. We try not to veer too far from the concept of the Negro spiritual,” he said.
The two met when Welch saw a book Marek had made. As a graphic designer, writer and fine artists, she creates books that are a combination of all three.
She makes her own paper and sometimes uses typefaces that drip from the page. Welch felt a connection with what she was trying to do – to work art, writing and life all into something personal, like a book.
In their time together, their philosophies have proven relatively successful. Wray, which they print in issues of 100, has sold out in most bookstores at the price of #3 to $5, and they are always having to make reprints. The library of State University of New York at Buffalo has also become a regular subscriber.
- Tremont Artwalk
In the early nineties, I was fortunate enough to find myself living in Tremont,
at the time a very Bohemian little neighborhood. Even more fortunate to meet Miss Jean Brandt who was my mentor in my Tremont art Experience. Thanks to her,
I was able to start the Tremont ArtWalk in partnership with Miss Jean Brandt. It allowed us to share great works of art and the not so great of my friends and
neighbors with the world.
If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Thanks to Jean for all her support and friendship and maybe even future partnerships always in support of art.
Sandy managed a bar, Edison’s Pub, in the Tremont neighborhood through the nineties. The Tremont ArtWalk (happens the second Friday of every month) originally organized by Sandy Rotkowski and Jean Brandt became the most significant marketing campaign for this neighborhood during the 1990′s and continues to this day.
- Paitnings by Stephanie Haynes
- ISOLATIONIST ART GALLERY REVIEW 1993
ISOLATIONIST ART GALLERY REVIEW 1993
Nothing is ultimate.
Reactionism is emotional at best, irrational at worst.
A little discipline is always a good thing, it enhances productivity.
Always know where your closest razor blade is.
You are always one half inch from perfection.
Being sick is no excuse. (Lou Reed)
Isolation is reasonable.
Isolationists pride themselves on being best remembered for being unknown.
Isolation is not a philosophy, it is a point of reference.
Deviants conform to norms.
The work is more important than the individual.
Quality control comes from within, if at all.
Expectations are best when self-fulfilling.
Don’t disrespect; disregard.
I am all I can know; anything outside of me is an unknown.
Don’t fear leaving/separation. Do what you decide to do.
Anonymity: nothing more to say.
- Work by Victoria Semarjian
The first day of school, the first concert without a parent, a first date. Firsts happen so many times throughout our lives, but always have the same effect, the butterflies, the scary excitement, the sweaty palms. In 1993, Jean Brandt gave me the opportunity to have my first solo show at her gallery. I was fresh out of school and hardly expected that anyone would open their doors to me so quickly. I was honored, appreciative, and horrified. What if it sucked? What if visitors came in and started thrashing my work? Even worse, what if no came at all?
The opening crept up faster than a bullet train. All the “first” feelings took over me. Of course, it’s all such a blur that I can’t remember who was there or really what happened at the reception at all. It was like being a debutante at her first ball. What I do recall is going home with a warm fuzzy feeling just like my first kiss.
A few weeks after the show had been up, I received a call from Jean. The was a woman who had come to visit one of my paintings more than once. She really wanted to buy it (could it be true…my first “official” sale). The woman was on a budget and although probably shouldn’t be making the purchase, hoped that we could work out a payment plan. Of course that wasn’t a problem, but I really didn’t want this woman who clearly was touched by my piece, to put herself out in order to have it. At the end of the show (if my memory serves me right), we gave that piece to the woman for free.
Jean gave me such a gift by allowing me this amazing first. In addition, this experience helped me learn the priceless gift of giving.
- New Produce – Roy Bigler
On August 13th, a 2nd Friday of the month in 1993, the first of two solo shows at SOUTHSIDE GALLERY was called NEW PRODUCE, named in reference to a found object painting in the show titled ‘ S C A P E. The panel features a collaged tomato hovering above a small metal elephant that appears to be running through an imperiled landscape. The piece references a threatened biosphere and the unknown dangers of genetically modified foods. Ten other ound object sculptural paintings hung on the wall and sheets of yellow cellophane hung in the windows, filtering light into the gallery’s stage-like window bay where four more found object sculptures would be found.
One sculpture in the window was a ready made pair of BLACK CAT bundles of fireworks, circa 1980. They were displayed on a small black wooden table. Next to these in the center of the window was a sculpture called PORTASCOPE. Constructed of six wooden honey comb frames from the inside of a beehive, the structure supports collected novelty items and various charms and oddities. Functioning as a generator of ideas, it holds candy, firecrackers and other fragments of ephemera on lines of white suture. Hanging within this construct are five glass tubes containing black and clear glass marbles, honey, glitter and IBM punchcard confetti.
Also in the window was a little wooden box of tempera and egg dyeing colors. Displayed in its lid, a postcard proclaiming LA MOMIA MAS PEQUENA DEL MUNDO portrays a scene of a diminutive dried up baby companioned by three mummified old toddlers and an ancient man’s severed and dehydrated head.
Fourth on stage was a glass fishbowl on a yellow silk scarf placed on a stool. The scarf is printed in a repeating pattern of blue horse heads, each collared by a lucky horseshoe. The fishbowl held tickets for the drawing to decide who would win THE LIFE OF MR. PEANUT. Winner took a yellow Cracker Jack lapel pin of Mr. Peanut, attached by wrapped thread around a small painted box of sand.
The wall sculpture shown here is titled ADJUNCT. A painted bundle of newspaper, it holds miniature elements evoking the sense of an artifact, the vestigial remains of a remote Eden. A brass parrot perches under a line of bone and glass beads that entice the captive spirit tomove them. The caged bird still remembers its native environment. -Roy Bigler
- Peter Mulhern
- Politics as Usual
Being on the ballet is it’s own performance -
During Art Walk that month, my campaign manager and I filled out a UAW questionaire – for the next week’s interview to determine endorsements.
- A Surveilance Installation (West Side Component) – Wayne Draznin
A Surveillance Installation
(West Side Component)
Wayne’s installation included an eye projected onto the front window. One day coming to the office/gallery there was a piece of cardboard taped onto the window with the message in it, “People are trying to sleep.” Suspect the kids across the street were watching out their bedroom window at night and that “thing” was watching them.
Wayne Draznin 1950 – 2001
video and computer artist, teacher, friend
- Jesus H. Christ
Jesus H. Christ
Michael Loderstedt & Terry Durst
Jesus H. Christ was an installation of various materials and artifacts posed as evidence left from an unspecified narrative (a crime, a death, a soured relationship, etc.). The front display wall held a large, framed stone piece made from collected foundation stones carved with names to represent twelve jurors.
The other works – large, collaged photo panels and “shrouds” – were made from photographing and imprinting from each other’s nude bodies. These grisly, disturbing relics were presented as evidential records of an acknowledgement of the transient body.
The exhibition title, Jesus H. Christ, was Terry’s choice after the highly religious “look” of the work. It was meant as a curse, however soft, of a record making treatment of each other as a type of “stand-in” for a deity. As I remember (and I can’t really), the show had a dark, comic undertone.
Our intention was to use only images derived from each other, as at the time, I (and I think Terry) had become exhausted with picture making, especially appropriated images
as a strategy for art.
A more complete picture of the project could be made by speaking to Terry. I would also say I had a great time working on this, and was amazed by Terry’s intensity toward the work.
Jesus H. Christ
We took close-up snapshots of our bodies on an autopsy table and put them together on two separate old glass shower doors, like pieces of a puzzle, to form what appeared to be our corpses – one for me and one for Michael. We embedded the pictures in bees wax directly against the glass, and also embedded other objects like matchsticks and fertility symbols among the photos. The panels were then lit from behind so that the smell of the wax would fill the gallery as the lights heated the wax.
My favorite part of this show was the rock wall that Michael and I created. Each rock had a four-letter name carved into it, like a simple headstone. I got so involved with thecarving I decided I must have been a stone carver in a former life. It just seemed to come naturally to me, like I had been doing it for a long time.
- Paintings by Michael Hurley
Seated Woman – 25” x 20” pastel and chalk on paper by Michael Hurley
I was working a lot on glass at this time. Mostly oil on glass. A few people like Robert Ritchie and myself had been independantly working on glass. I used it as a canvas mostly because I was living in the Joe Scully building down on 7th and Jefferson. There were old windows all over the interior of the place. It was a pretty good supply of these glass canvases. I even-
tually stopped working on this after a lot of breakage when moving pieces between
shows. This show also included some works that were chalk and pastel on paper.
Michael Hurley February 1994 show
- Painter and Musician Collete Gschwind
- Night Fragments – Steven B. Smith
Steven B. Smith
mixed media collage assemblages
Dear Occupants, Accidents and Occidentals
Just yesterday it was yesterday
Now it’s already today
Confuse not mercy with weakness
Confuse weakness not with an upset liver
And confuse not an upset liver with love
It is the shape of the silence
Which defines the sound
Like winter rubbing against summer
Each refines the other
Only certain curtains can be drawn
The rest must be endured
The souring sermons
The centered self serving
The lion den Christians in Coliseum stands
Twixt ape and angel wandering
Torn between the knowledge
And the need
Do I worship the moon or sun
Or yet the blooded one?
I bloat and smell
Decay in age
The focus runs
Steven B. Smith
see more smith at http://www.agentofchaos.com
- Fabulous Ruins – Jim Clinefelter and Denise Cox
Whitewater of Sound #13
photographs by Jim Clinefelter & Denise Cox
May 13 – June 13, 1994
The show I did with Denise….the only documentation for that show was the post card Jean mailed out and a flyer Jeff Curtis did for me. I do have some of the photos Denise did for the show, and I have the ones I did , too. I’m pretty sure that was the evening we ran several 16mm films, one of which was a film about a type of plastic tray for meat that Dow Chemical test-marketed at Fisher Food Stores in Cleveland in the late 50s.
I knew Denise from the camera store I worked at (the now-defunct Modern Camera, in Parma Hts.). At the time, she was a photo student at Kent State, and used to buy her supplies at Modern [her dad was a professional photographer and had an account at the store]. I was scheduled to do a show at Jean’s, and wanted to have someone else’s work up, too, so I asked Denise if she wanted to participate.
- The Queen Said “I’m Aghast” – Eric Susyne
The Queen Said I’m Aghast:
Punk as Fashion had reemerged in 1994 in a way that seemed ironic at first;
Chanel safety pins, Versace bondage trousers, etc., until one reexamined the stylistic basis for the London movement in the first place: rebellious STYLE at 430 The King’s Road.
As a young teenager, the Punk graphics of Jamie Reid excited me; they were raw, visceral, and the antithesis of the slick Modernism that disco/dance music was purveying. I liked both, though. One was full of style and violence, the other full of….well…gay desire. Later, in the early 1980s, as that same bored teenager from a suburban bedroom, I fell in love with the maudlin Smith’s.
This show of prints and paintings and color copies of color copies referenced all of the aforementioned. Queens were obliterated and enlarged; graphics and lyrics stolen, not borrowed, from 1978-1985. A retro-trip as an antidote to the times. Pretty, and pretty vacant those buses — headed to Nowhere, or Boredom.
- Paintings by Bobbie Roach
I HAVE SPENT OVER 20 YEARS IN PAINTING, AND I CAN TELL YOU IT ALL STARTED HERE IN CLEVELAND OHIO.
I AM VERY PROUD TO SAY THAT I HAD A DAMM GOOD TEACHER FROM CLEVELAND OHIO. HE KNOWS WHO HE IS!!, WHO PUT UP WITH MY CRAZINESS AS A YOUNG PAINTER.
I HAVE BEEN KEEPING A JOURNAL FOR 20 YEARS ALSO, AND MY PAINTINGS THAT I HAVE BEEN DOING FOR 20 YEARS IN FACT IS THE COLORFUL JOURNAL.
I AM VERY PROUD TO SAY IT ALL STARTED HERE IN CLEVELAND OHIO… THE PAINTINGS, PAINTINGS, PAINTINGS…
- Additional Tarot Cards – Craig Robertson
September 9 – October 4, 1994
Additional Tarot Cards
- St of Kine – Terry Durst
St of Kine
October – November, 1994
Most of these pieces were made in my dad’s workshop in Wadsworth. I wanted them to have the feel of the pieces he made. He had a lot of wood scraps, trinkets and old toys laying around that he used to buy at flea markets thinking that I might want to use them in my work.
- Work by Craig Martin
The thing I remember about showing at the gallery was how straight forward it all was – there was very little of the usual gallery politics and intellectual preening (“Look at me – I can bench press a year’s subscription to Art Forum”) – it was unusual judging by every other gallery experience I’ve had – I was in a band at the time (Cruel, Cruel Moon) and we played at the opening which was a lot of fun – we were more of a gallery band than a bar band for better or worse – I like to think people enjoyed themselves – I certainly did.
The work was minimal in format with a little bit of pop creeping in – I seem to have been working my way thru twentieth century art and at that point I was somewhere between 1950 and 1970 – lately I’ve been doing pen & ink drawings with a cartooning kiss – I switched gears so that the art thing would be totally new to me again – and it’s worked – I’m having a lot of fun – oh, and chronologically I’m somewhere between 1450 and the year 2000 – I just throw everything I like into the stew which I guess makes me post modern or something – but then aren’t we all?
Interestingly (to me anyway) I see the same themes popping up which suggests either I’m limited or I have an outlook – or maybe just an itch I keep scratching.
Anyway, good luck to Jean and the gallery – I think the down to earth with quality and eclecticism approach of the gallery is very much the way things should be but seldom are.
December 2, 1994 – January 15, 1995
music by Cruel, Cruel Moon
- Trace Elements – David Newlin
February 10 – March 19, 1995
- Making It – Laila Voss and Bruce Edwards
Making It, 1995
South Side Galley. Gallery windows and door, window paint; also latex wall paint, 3’ x 12’ canvas.
This on-going action, a collaboration with Bruce Edwards, deals with many different issues that occur around the subject of art making and “making it” in the art world.
For the five week duration of the show, we worked during gallery hours as well as at other times. Edwards continued to paint the 3 x 12 foot canvas white – over and over with deliberate, repetitive strokes.
Using notes as a starting point, I continued writing, letter by letter, on the gallery windows both inside and outside until it was two and three layers deep.
The information on the outside was gleaned from art research, including quotes from students, etc.
The inside continued a more personal response to the writing on the outside.
The writing covered the view of the interior where the “real art,” the painting, was in progress. The writing started blocking out the light as well. As the layers became more dense, the writing became more and more difficult to read, creating a metaphor for contemporary art criticism.
- Decay the Quiet Side of Plants – Thaddeus Root w/performance with Sally Hudak
Thaddeus Root and Sally Hudak
Decay – the Quiet Side of Plants
July 7 – 31, 1995
a performance / action
Sally Hudak / Thaddeus Root
It was a warm, summer afternoon. Maybe nine
people were in the gallery. No one had a camera.
I waited, lying, curled up on my side, on the floor.
Thaddeus came in the front door and began to
place 5” candles on the floor in a line which moved
towards me. Each time he placed a candle he lit it
with a match. The line of burning candles moved
closer to me until it encircled my curled up figure
closely enough to burn a hole in my cotton skirt.
I waited, I did not move until the last candle burned
out. It took about an hour. Some of the candles
actually burned down right to the floor and scarred
the wood. Jean has since refinished the floor a few times but some of the marks are still there.
- Romantic Hardware – Mark Keffer
Mark Keffer – Romantic Hardware
August 18 – September 17, 1995
music by Cruel, Cruel Moon
Curator Roy Bigler’s hanging of this show made the show. Work by 18 artists, each with their own voice; the talent and acumen that Roy demonstrated in displaying the work was exacting.
Terry Durst took over the basement beneath the gallery. A common area for the building (i.e. laundry area, storage for tenants, etc . . .) Terry helped clean and organize the basement to make a space for himself. Socks: an imposition of more than 100 socks hung from clotheslines created aisles to walk through in the basement. Aisles lined with singular unmatched socks.
Terry’s piece began a tradition of basements shows that would continue for the nest five years. Though the main floor was the the “gallery” with scheduled shows, there was a ready supply of artists that wanted a show in the basement.
Bruce Edwards submitted a piece entitled “White – Out.” Each day he came to the gallery with that day’s Plain Dealer, and placed it neatly on the top of yesterdays newspaper and then dribbled/painted white latex paint across the front page. This was a continuation of the white canvas he painted white during Making It. This also inspired Terry to put “Grey-Out” in the basement directly beneath Bruce’s piece. Each week he would bring in that weeks Free Times and paint its cover with grey paint.
Laila Voss, continuing the Making It theme, installed tape recorders in opposing corners of the gallery. They contained a related taped conversation regarding art and was intended to be fragmented. The space between the recorders created the effect of talking and not being heard. Moreover the two recorders ran at slightly different speeds, further fragmenting the conversation. which added to the effect.
new work by artists
that have exhibited at
Southside / Brandt Gallery 1990-1995
5th anniversary show, Roy Bigler, curator
Roy Bigler, Terry Durst, Wayne Draznin, Bruce Edwards, Frank Green, Stephanie R. Haynes, Sally Hudak, Michael Hurley, David Madigan, Mikel Mahoney, Craig Martin, Derek Mason, David Newlin, Bobbie Roache, Thaddeus Root, Steven B. Smith, Eric Susyne, Laila Voss
- Black Faces – Tina Kellogg
November 9-25, 1995
- Little Albert
Little Albert was a local publication that was briefly published in the mid-1990s in Cleveland devoted to promoting the works of area writers and visual artists . Initially conceived in 1994 by Emily Blaser as Art Editor and Lesa Dieter as Literary Editor, Little Albert was a labor of love. Ah, but what labor… Each issue was hand sewn and bound and contained a fold-out image from a selected artist. In the Fall of 1995, Hazel Reid assumed the role of Art Editor and was a driving force in the publication of this last issue. The closing reception featured an exhibition of work by Steven Smith, Michael Loderstedt, David Newlin and Tina Kellog as well as a poetry reading by many of the poets who had been featured in Little Albert over the course of its brief exhistence. - Lesa Dieter
Little Albert Issue #3
December 1, 1995 – January 12, 1996
Closing and Reception with work by
Tina Kellogg, Wayne Draznin, Michael Loderstedt,
David Newlin and Steven B. Smith
Basement Imposition by Terry Durst
Poetry Reading 8 p.m.
- New Work by David Madigan
- A Beige Moment – Valerie Marek
Valerie Marek – A Beige Moment April 5-28, 1996
- Collage – Cushmere Bell
Most of my photographic work reflects my original desire to be a painter. I’m influenced by impressionism and surrealism.
April 5-28 1996
- basement installation – Jacci Hammer
In the early nineties, I got this gig where I was to create rock and roll mural installations.
These were to be located on 27 storefronts on Euclid Avenue for the Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame groundbreaking festivities. I was given monies to hire a half a dozen artist to
accomplish this project. Stephanie Haynes, CIA graduate, was one of my choices. Due to the magnitude of the job, we desperately needed kind studio space. Stephanie approached Ron Naso ( Studio Gallery) and he volunteered his space. From there, was caught in a whirlwind of fluxism, the moment I set creative feet in Tremont. My art seemed to have a motion of its own. The artist seemed to form another tribe. Jean Brandt and Sandy Rodkowski had organized this little art walk. At the same time, I was involved with the Wild Flower Cafe (in a role I will never begin to describe) and decided to do a solo show for the art walk. The essence of pure salon was a way of surviving.
The Literary Cafe was a juried school of its own. You were either meant in the movement
or you flit, I flew. I became involved with so many strange community projects. The abstraction was often even beyond me. I had no idea what I was really trying to say in these pieces but somehow I had a burning passion to express it.
My first Tremont installation piece/performance was held in the primitive traditional basement in the Brandt gallery. I titled it “Holy, Holy, Holy.” During the opening, an unusual noise was heard out in the street. The guests rushed out of the gallery to find Greek Orthodox priests in parade and everyone was anointed with holy water. What a coincidence or an anonymous miracle. The freedom of unreined conception was the natural in Tremont at that time. There were uncanny thematic connections, I’ll never organize, I did not have to. Actually, embracing the chaos and structure seemed to feed my ideology. The interrelationships of the artist were stormy but passionate. Even in the opposition there was acceptance as though the movement ad its own agenda and no one would dare interfere. Because of that undefined boundary, the capita and surroundings evolved. So be Tremont. Perhaps the creative founders would have chosen a different state if they had any control but frictional creative output has a mind and energy pull of its own.
- New Works – Richard Balogh
My Art Bio An Experience at The Jean Brandt Gallery
It has been quite awhile since I have been to The Gallery. The times were all pleasant and always accommodating. I have shown there turning out my work that is oversized vibrant
paintings of two different styles. One is figurative and the other is symbolic. The figurative stands out the most with my experience at The Gallery. The Trinity piece that started out as a single figure seated against a barren tree wild hair painted into the tree bark as if it were a part of it. The figure symbolically as stiff as the tree itself and giving nothing up willingly stairs abstractly past the viewer as if they were not there.
Not satisfied with the composition I had to add two more figures with overtones of a religious trinity. Each color representing a season.
This painting disturbs many but I find it most fascinating and it grows on me with the passing years. Some have said it appears to be a self-portrait representing my personality.
The symbolic series represented Man & Women, Vaginal & Phallic. Very large abstracted oil pastels the largest reaching 17’ in length titled Dancers. It always humored me, in a good way, to hear conservative or embarrassed responses to something that appeared obviously sexual to many.
Two Artists that remain favorites and I feel influence my work are Salvador Dali and Vincent Van Gogh. The Psychological, emotional, and rich colors and shapes drew me automatically to Salvador Dali. Vincent Van Gogh’s splendidly rich landscapes with textured canvases and emotionally charged paintings told many stories in their vibrant colors. So, when people ask what style I have my response is usually a cross between Dali & Van Gogh hoping to explain.
It was and is quite a joy to be apart of the Tremont Art experience. I enjoyed the community enough to move into it and lend support to our growing rich community. I am proud to see where Cleveland has come and wish many more galleries as warm Brandt’s Gallery were available.
- Richard Balogh
May 3 – 26, 1996
- Split Crimes II – Lang, Gulyas, Thomas and Smith
The Little Vagabond
Dear Mother, dear Mother, the Church is cold
But the Ale-house is healthy & pleasant & warm
Besides I can tell where I am used well
Such usage in heaven will never do well
But if at the Church they would give us some Ale
And a pleasant fire our souls to regale
We’d sing and we’d pray all the live-long day
Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray
Then the Parson might preach & drink & sing
And we’d be as happy as birds in the spring
And modest dame Lurch, who is always at Church
Would not have bandy children nor fasting nor birch
And God, like a father rejoicing to see
His children as pleasant and happy as he
Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the Barrel
But kiss him & give him both drink and apparel
William Blake – 1792
June 7-30, 1996
SplitCity’s Jim Lang Ben Gulyas Mike Thomas
ArtCrimes’ Steven B. Smith
- Sleeps with Angel Food Cakes – An Imposition by Terry Durst
- A Final Auction of her Private Estate – K.L.
I recall this was soon after Jackie O passed on.
The idea of spoofing Jackie O as a theme for the auction at the SouthSide Gallery, was presented to me by Jean Brandt, when I inquired about hosting an auction as a means to liquidate my estate.
I needed to create closure, with freedom to move onward with my life. The artwork was collected during a lifetime spanning 20 years.
The Final Auction of Her Private Estate
What Price Camelot
August 8, 1996
- Hands – Jerry Mann
HANDS – Recollections of Dad
I’d never had a gallery show before. Kind of odd for a photographer who graduated with a BFA and had been working for ten years. But I’ve always been a late bloomer.
After five years in NYC, I eventually moved into the McGuffey School in Ohio City. I met a big group of cutting edge artists,including my partner, Sally Hudak, and the building’s owner, Laila Voss. These exciting people led me down Franklin Hill and up Columbus to Tremont, with all its galleries, bars and other trappings. That’s when Jean cornered me at the Lit, way too late in the evening, and rattled off a list of open show dates for Southside. I committed. Now then, I have a problem. What do I do for my first show. It better be good if I am a professional of ten years and live with a bunch of great artist from the McGuffey School.
My dad died in March of 1996. That mattered more to me than anything else happening around me. And ever since he was gone I kept feeling that he was inside me as I did everything: driving down the road feeling the air ride over my left palm; attempting to repair that fan that he attempted to repair; slumping i n the chair in the TV room. That was it. I would honor Dad with my first show.
As is my usual downfall, I had to do this the hardest way possible. So I chose to use a pinhole camera and Polaroid film—without using the Polaroid holder. And I would make self portraits.
So I went to work, creating a pinhole with the most ridiculous—but crucially important—features. It was a situation where one design decision created the need for more creative solutions. Because I refused to use the 4×5 Polaroid film older/processor, the camera had to accept the film, and be able to do everything the regular holder would do: Keep a light tight seal, hold the negative in place while I pulled out the paper envelope for an exposure, keep the negative from buckling when reinserting the paper envelope, release the film from the camera. I used slots in cardboard and black velour and clips and flaps and strings and wax and tiny brass brads.
Making the camera was nearly as important as shooting or showing the photos. My dad always tinkered out in the garage. As he got older he’d bitch about his ‘Damn hands!’ and he couldn’t do as much as he used to. Well, here I was, tinkering away and loving it. I should have been an inventor. I still wonder if I should change direction. The camera was a triumph. Every bell and whistle worked as flawlessly cardboard, string, wax and velour could.
Now to be a photographer. And a Goddamn artist. Here is what I was avoiding all my life, and for the past three days of camera construction. Time to turn the camera on me. I listed a bunch of situations that were classic Dad moments, I picked the best and started shooting. And it wasn’t enough to set it up, shoot it, and go on: I had to actually get something accomplished. If Dad could do it, so could I. I sharpened a as running short, and this added considerably to the time it took to shoot a picture. Consider that my exposures in direct sunlight were 45 seconds long. That’s doable. When I shot film of repairing my exhaust system with a soup can, I was under the intense heat of quartz lights for 20 minutes per exposure. (And that kind of repair never works.) I also chose to capture simple moments of pleasure: driving down a lane with the wind blowing in the window; slicing a cantaloupe on a warm afternoon; handling his Voigtlander camera, the same one he taught me to use. I felt really good about these pictures.
As I printed the negatives, I kept coming up with more ideas for the gallery that would honor my father. I shot Super-8 film of some of my setups, and would project them at Southside for the opening. I dug up about 80 slides from Dad’s archives, all shots of him, and projected them on a screen. And you could sit in his TV room chair to view them. Finally, I enlisted Ed Caner to record my voice, imitating my Dad calling my name, as he did from our home at dinner time when I was up at the ledges. During the opening, this tape loop could barely be heard above the din of the gallery visitors. It was subliminal. My sister may have been the only one to notice, and she only mentioned it when I told her about the recording weeks later.
I think I got a review in the Free Times. I think it was even good. Everyone had a great time at the opening. I showed up typically late, cramming in the installation down to the last minute, then running home to shower for the first time in a few days. I had a closing party, too. I put the pinhole to use, making portraits of the visitors. We drank beer and went to Major’s for mussel afterwards. It was a sunny Sunday in October, my favorite month, and the month I was born.
Recollections of Dad
pinhole camera self-portraits & mult-imedia installation
September 12 – October 6, 1996
- Thaddeus Root (aka Scott Simmerly) 30th Birthday
I would like to thank everyone who participated and all those who just showed up too.
Slug or Burden
11 October 1996
- Spec – Roy Bigler
SPEC, the second of two solo shows at SOUTHSIDE GALLERY opened on November 8, 1996. In the window I had placed a keyboard from an old upright piano. Positioned as a low table on two ornate blocks, it was covered by a piece of plate glass that I found that happened to be the same length and width as the ready made ivories. Silent, it was a quiet suggestion of the sounds that it once enabled a player to hear.
On the wall were a dozen package-like assemblages in varied sizes. Each under sixteen by nine inches, they embodied ideas surrounding the containment of objects and the ideas that objects contain. A small off-white bundle called SEMBLANCE hints an animal’s face peering through gauze. The wrapped and bound IN SPIRIT presents a golden wish bone, oxidized and coated in verdigris by the reaction of bleach with brass and calcium.
In AN OTHER YEAR, a bound panel of twelve cowrie shells that bleed red signifies a past calendar year. A heavy LODE conceals an early nineties edition of a Cleveland Metropolitan Area White Pages. Its split red hide reveals a vein of gold, resembling a lode deposit embedded in a slab of rock. SPECTIVE houses a veridian taxidermied lizard and white paper grass behind glass.
This exhibit also featured ten cigar box collections of found objects. Held in the gallery’s glass display case, the ROYAL JAMAICA SUITE of five pieces and the SUITE TE-AMO in three were accompanied by the solo MACANUDO and the minute TURKISH SPECIAL. Presently shown is GIANT CORONAS 1 of the ROYAL JAMAICA SUITE.
- unAdorned: a progression of nudes
Why do I paint nudes?
As long as I can remember, I’ve always become mesmerized or entranced by the things that I look at. But looking at my own body, or a body, would capture my attention even more so. I could look at the wrinkles and lines in the skin and wonder why does the skin look like this? I would notice all the different colors of the flesh: blues, reds, yellows, even different shades of gray. I remember always hating the “flesh” colored paint or crayons when I used them because I knew “flesh doesn’t look like this.” I would look at the way this part of the body would look when it was against that part. And how the bones jutted in certain areas and the interesting shapes they made. My attention would become so involved with the intricacies of my body that I would lose track of time, and as I got older I would ask myself “how can I draw or paint this?”
People usually ask me “Why only women?” As I contemplate that question today, I realize that I probably relate to the female form because of the familiarity of my own body.
- Romantic Catharthis – Doug Manry
February 14 – March 17, 1997
- Carvings – Bruce Edwards
March 21 – April 21, 1997
- Recycled Relics – Mother Dwarf
“Florence E. Smith, also known as Mother Dwarf Smith, is tall, stately and on the quiet side. She had a ceramics studio for many years and also did quilting and mail art before going into assemblage / collage. Widowed, she came to Cleveland from her home in Nevada in 1990 to join her son, also an assemblage artist.
Her stamp is brightly appealing narrative pieces with fairy tale themes. Doll parts, trinkets, cutouts, photos and a wide array of found fragments find their way into her works, which project a wistful sense of frozen moments in time. Her works are filled with memories of an Alice in Wonderland world where the mundane turns to magic.”
Helen Cullinan – The Cleveland Plain Dealer May 13, 1994
“Mother Dwarf’s work feels deeply, intrinsically, unnervingly correct in ways that are mysteriously unconscious to me. She is keeping a different sort of record, telling slanted stories. She is mother goose for the intentionally lost and half-enlightened.”
niisha – September 10, 2003
April 25 – May 25, 1997
- Square One – Dan Tranberg
My first show at Jean’s was my first show in Cleveland. It was also the first show I had after taking a hiatus from artmaking, during which time I went back to school to study art criticism. I actually went a year and a half without having a studio. After a while, I craved making things. These drawings were my way of getting back in the game. They were done on small sheets of paper that were stretched on rigid panels. Since I didn’t have a studio at the time, I did a lot of them while sitting in bed, which is why I often refer to them as my “bed drawings.”
June 6 – July 6, 1997
- Kiss Me Quick – Eric Susyne
Kiss Me Quick
July 11 – 27, 1997
mixed media silhouettes
Kiss Me Quick:
There had been two recurring themes in my work up to this point; smouldering images of
gay male eroticism, and English History. The iconic seeming Devil Boy had his roots in sketches of the male models used for phone-sex lines. These tousled hair young mens seemed to fuse the aesthetic of the gay avatar along with a devlish, trashy bad boy image. The blotches of makeup colored paint add to the portrait like quality of this distached heads. Molly houses (the 18th c. English precursors to gay bars) and their inhabitants formed the historically correct images also depicted in this show. The amalgam of camp hijinks and hardcore gay sex that occurred at these early meeting houses somehow seemed an apt counterpart to the unattainable perfection represented by the horned Boy.
- Retrograde Walk – Laurel Link
August 8 – 24
- Sojourn – Charlotte Mann
I remember being
in a field in Kurdistan
nothing to fear
but the Kangol dogs
with the red eyes
and the soldiers of secrets
with the dark glasses
each unreasonable and demanding in his own way
but my god
made it all worthwhile.
Air heavy with ice and noise
and altitude or attitude, one or the other
falling from the sky.
- Spaces – sculptures by Terry Durst
Spaces – sculptures by Terry Durst September 5-30, 1997
Joe sells hot dogs outside on the devil’s strip.
The locker room is in the window, with some socks hanging on the bench, an ashtray and a Pepsi bottle, a baseball cap hanging on the locker. Then you enter through a hall of red white and blue plastic flags that brush your head as you walk under them, coming upon a kitchen sink on the back wall. On the drain board, in the dish drainer, are several Pepsi bottles that someone has rinsed and stacked upside-down to dry.
Around the corner is the trailer park living room of a George Jones fan, with an old tattered couch, mended many times, and scattered beer and Pepsi bottles on the floor. On the wall facing the couch, twenty-five of my favorite albums are displayed on small shelves, in a rigid geometric pattern – one is George Jones.
Through the last doorway you are suddenly outside, in a state park. Two empty Pepsi bottles have been discarded on the grass while two boys in baggy shorts, tennis shoes, baseball caps and no shirts stand entranced by a trail marker.
- Stir by Still – Jee Sun Pak
September 5 – 30, 1997
- Water Colors – John Sumerix
October 9 – November 1, 1997
Water Colors by
- Collaborating with the Art Community
November 1997 & June 1996
Collaborating with the Art Community
Laurel Lampela and Cleveland State University
Teachers Collaborating with the Art Community – The Southside Gallery Collaboration
In the summer of 1997 area teachers from the Cleveland Public Schools, Euclid City Schools and Lorain City Schools participated in a unique professional development experience at Cleveland State University. During a two-week intensive summer art education course the teachers who were graduate students at Cleveland State University collaborated with the Southside Gallery in Tremont, Ohio to get a first-hand look at how gallery owners install art exhibitions and hold opening receptions for the community.
Teachers enrolled in a new course titled, “Teachers Collaborating with the Art Community” at Cleve-land State University during June 1997 for four (4) graduate credit hours. Dr. Laurel Lampela who was an Art Educator and associate professor in the Department of Art at Cleveland State University created and taught the course as a collaborative process linking local galleries, art organizations, and Cleveland-area artists with Cleveland-area teachers. Teachers who enrolled in the course became more aware of their local art community, the larger art world, and how they played an important role in both.
Throughout the two-week course teachers got a behind-the-scenes look at the vast resources available to them and their students. This introduction to the local art community had a lasting effect on the teachers. Teachers took what they learned during the intensive workshop and shared their knowledge with public school students. Participants in the course were art teachers and classroom teachers from the greater Cleveland area. Some of the teachers were practicing artists familiar with the art community and others had little knowledge about the local art community. As part of the class teachers interviewed a Cleveland-area artist and wrote an art lesson plan based on the artists work.
The highlight of the course was the collaboration with the Southside Gallery in Tremont. Jean Brandt, owner of Southside Gallery, agreed to have the teachers exhibit artwork they completed during the two-week intensive course at the gallery. Brandt first provided teachers with an overview of her gallery and discussed the artists she represented. She then invited the teachers to plan and install their own exhibit. Teachers installed photo collages they completed during the class that addressed their view of Cleveland. The photo collages were installed in one large collaborative exhibition. Teachers found out first-hand the challenges involved in installing about 20 individually framed photographs as one group on a large wall in the gallery. Despite the energy and time it took to arrange about 20 photo collages, the teachers were pleased with the end result and held an opening reception for families and friends on a Friday evening. This unique experience proved quite meaningful to the teachers who voiced their overwhelming endorsement of this experience on course evaluation forms at the end of the two-weeks.
The course was offered again at Cleveland State University for the next few years. Many general classroom teachers and art teachers from the greater-Cleveland area were able to learn about their art community and participate in meaningful dialogues about art with area artists and art gallery owners.
Laurel Lampela and Cleveland State University
Collaborating with the Art Community
June 1996 & November 1997
- Photographs by Thea Miklowski
Photographs by Thea Miklowski
December 31, 1997 – January 31, 1998
music by The Conservatives
- Toast Farm – Holly Wilson
December 31, 1997 – January 31, 1998
When Jean and I first sat down to discuss using the basement space for an installation, I had several ideas. The opening was set for New Year’s Eve ‘97/’98 and Thea Miklowski had a photography show in the main gallery.
As I thought about the cold winter in Cleveland, of course my thoughts drifted to my favorite comfort food – toast. Anyone who knows me knows about the toaster collection, some may even remember the one I put wheels on and led around as my pet with slices of
shellacked toast in it that my friend Bruce had made. I decided to create my installation on the premise of mass-produced comfort food.
The basement space was equipped with shelving that could pass for cages. I selected several toasters from my collection and lined them up, much like I thought of chickens on an egg farm. To give the place a warm toasty feeling, I covered the entire floor with aluminum foil. One wall was made to look like a conveyor belt with toast traveling down to drop into bread bags on the end.
To complete the installation, I needed to make 100 pieces of shellacked toast. Oh, how I wished for some warmth and comfort when I was working for days on end in the middle of a really cold December with the windows wide open and fans running to dissipate the fumes…
In the end, it was a terrific experience. I think the installation was successful, I got a lot of good feedback at the opening and during the run of the show. The opening was great, fun and well attended, as they always were at the Southside.
Holly A. Wilson
- AND THE CRADLE WILL ROCK by Edward Ángel Sotelo
AND THE CRADLE WILL ROCK by Edward Ángel Sotelo
In order to more fully adopt the pose of hoary hipster, I have to say things like, “Gah, I remember the Old Tremont.” Well, that’s a bunch of foolishness. I don’t remember the old Tremont. Mostly because i wasn’t there in the raw, grimy days of which I’ve heard tell that happened seemingly indeterminable decades ago. Back then, I was killing time at St. Ignatius High; I don’t think this good catholic schoolboy would have made a proper urban pioneer. Let me retract that now that I think about it. When I was very, very young and my parents were still coping this this new, strange thing called “America”, we lived somewhere in the Pilgrim Church on West 14th. I was apparently baptized at St. Augustine. For the purposes of this story, that’s neither here nor there, other than some vague claim to having known Tremont in its elder days.
The main reason I can’t regale anyone with tales of boho bygones is that I really can’t remember much at all. I wasn’t on drugs, or on the lam, or more of a headcase than I am now. I was, however, barely rubbing two nickels together in the late 90s; I was getting slammed upside the headby serious bouts of unemployment and kicked in the eye by poverty. I’d also like to add that I had a massively powerful heater squatting in my less-than-furnished second-floor dump that NEVER STOPPED GIVING OFF HEAT, even in the sweltering Cleveland summer. Ever go to a run-down Convenient food mart and peek into the grease-caked rotisserie machines and see the chicken bodies baking in the muck. I was that guy. Those heater fumes boiled my memory away.
I can at times, however, strain to recall a distinct camaraderie on Kenilworth, what with my downstairs neighbor Holly and the Southside Gallery only a few doors down from us. That was nice. I knew I could count on free chesse at least once every few months, which would tide me over the upcoming times of cheeselessness. In return for the cheese, I’d occasionally donate my time in rock format. According to the compiler of this tome, Ms. Brandt, an improv group I played with by the name of Hoobajoob regaled people in the basement with horrible noise. Before that, my punk rock combo, The Conservatives, played an opening with a friend who wasn’t really our drummer. Good as he was, I don’t think we really prepared much for the gig. I recall sucking something fierce. Yet I do recall artist Frank Green saying to Ms. Brandt, “You gotta have this kind of stuff here more often!”
And I do recall eating quite a bit of free cheese that night.
live music provided by
Cruel, Cruel Moon - Dec 1994, Aug 1995, Feb 1996
Timothy Beamon - May 1996
Maceo Noisette & Jerome Saunders - June 1998
Hoobajoob - Mar 1999
Flux Up 10% - Sep 1999
- The Gene Durst Show
February 13 – March 17, 1998
- New Work – Judith Brandon
March 20 – April 20, 1998
The March 1998 Southside Gallery show was a breakthrough for me. I had spent the previous two years rehabbing a rental property and moving to the other end of Tremont. I was just experimenting with a calmer, more focused theme in my work when Jean invited me to exhibit.
After working on interior walls, patching and plastering, it was just a small hop for me to incorporate what I had learned into my artwork. I was working on conceptual pieces with an emphasis on texture, line and depth. The more I worked, the more I needed to incorporate the balance or lack thereof in the natural world.
Animals are always falling in my dreams. My readings were almost always were of disappearing environments and species. I had done a frog series years before, and in one of the pieces I had drawn a Golden Toad from South America. I research the animals that I draw, and spend time rendering them, trying to give them a real presence in my work. The Golden Toad went extinct a few years later, and ever since I’ve found it hard to ignore the sadness of a dying planet. It seems to overwhelm me when I’m working.
The great thing about the show was that I was mature enough as an artist to combine the elements of art and find my voice. Animal imagery is a very tricky thing. There is nothing that annoys me more as an artist than triteness or saccharin, and the mere mention of animals brings on those visions to most people. It takes a person of vision to see beyond this particular prejudice and present a successful show. Jean was the one
ho saw my potential and launched a new direction in my career.
The other great part of the exhibit was Dan Tranberg’s review. You never know if people will understand your visual language. Dan totally got it. This not only helped others understand my art, but gave me descriptions of my work that I still borrow. The show was about putting out a new vision, and the positive response to it fueled future work.
- Untitle (Inflated Space) – Vincent Como
Untitled (Inflated Space)
The exhibition which I undertook at the Southside Gallery was an installation where I constructed two large cubes out of plastic sheeting to conform to the dimensions of the basement, and inflated them within the space. The understanding was that the work would lose air throughout the course of the show and the artwork would be in a constant state of change.
I was interested in the idea that a person could have an experience of a particular space without being able to enter into that space. The piece became about the viewer’s engagement-by-non-engagement of the work. Then, coupled with the passing physical presence of the work, it would occupy the space of memory.
- Cathedral – a basement installation by Aaron Beebe
Cathedral – a basement installation by Aaron Beebe
March 20 – April 20, 1998
I never bothered to ask what had induced this skinny, pasty-faced white kid to take such an interest in the Arabic language that he would want to integrate bits of Arabic print into several of his paintings, or to play Arabic pop music (Al-Jazeera meets ‘Nsync) at a
gathering in his Tremont apartment of a New Year’s Eve. But it was the hook that first attracted me to his work. And it was the mystical ambiguity that kept me coming back.
He called the exhibition “White” with good reason. Virtually every piece is comprised of collaged photo, pencil marks, bits of print, strips of masking tape - you name it – all unified by the torn white sheeting that he used as his canvas, and by the white paint that covered – and in many cases obscured – most of the imagery he chose to affix to it.
His assembled imagery ranged from the sacred (angels) to the profane (porn). And maybe it was the calming unification of the whitewash that was the point of this work…where similarities out-did differences. Like bandages on Egyptian mummies. After thousands of years of obscurity under those white bandages, it all boils down to neither “good”
nor “evil”, but simply human.
Or maybe that wasn’t the point at all… what the hell do I know? - Mona Gazala Solymos
- History / Hystery – Mona Gazala
History / Hystery by Mona Gazala Solymos
Below the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, reached by a narrow stairway, there is a small cave that is reputed to be the birthplace of Christ. My mother, who was raised a few miles away in Ramallah, is familiar with the place. The cave has been turned into a chapel, with draperies, candles, icon and other decorations masking the bare rock.
In the basement below Jean Brandt’s gallery, I likewise endeavored to erect a shrine in the dank, broken-windowed cat-piss smelling cinder-blocked and sewer piped storage room. It was a shrine to the female history of my Palestine family and to motherhood in
general. The walls were lined with pictures of draped middle-eastern women and images of my mother and grandmother. There were votives burning and a recording of a story from my maternal family’s origin. . .the surname, dating to the 1700’s, originated from the name of the first woman in the family.
One wall of the room was papered with pages ripped from an Arabic-English dictionary, interspersed with pages from Dr. Lamaze’s amusing little book, Painless Childbirth. The word “painless” appeared in other images around the room, like a running gag. And a favorite page of mine on the wall, the title page of part two, features a singular statement that, despite Dr. Lamaze’s best efforts, becomes a rhetorical question:
“WHAT IS CHILDBIRTH WITHOUT PAIN?”
Mona Gazala Solymos
May 8 – June 7, 1998
History / Hystery
Acre is the name of an ancient city on the coast of the Mediterranean
which is surrounded by massive stone walls that have existed since
before the time of the Crusaders.
Back in the 1790’s, there was this girl named Hishmeh who came from
a family of stonemasons in Ramalleh, and shetraveled with her family
to the city of Acre when they were called on to do repairwork to the old
While she was in Acre, she met this young man by the name of Halil,
and eventually the two were married.
And when the repairwork to the city walls was finished Halil followed
Hishmeh and her family back to Ramelleh, where they spent the rest
of their days.
Now, the thing of it is, that even though Arab society is typically patriarchal,
Hishmeh became the point of reference for her entire family from then on,
because she was the hometown girl in Ramelleh and everyone there knew
her, while her husband Halil was just an outsider.
So Halil was referred to mainly as Hishmeh’s husband, the kids were known
as Hishmeh’s kids, then came Hishmeh’s grandkids and so on, until eventually
the whole clan was named after her, and Hishmeh became their surname.
And that’s how my mom came to be descended from the Hishmeh family,
which was originated by a woman.
Mona Gazala Solymos
History / Hystery
- Quiet Storm – Rick Deering
I have been a self-taught photographer for more than 20 years. My work has covered Fashion, Beauty, Still-Life, and Fine-Art Nudes. Currently I am working on the digital aspectsof photography. I still reside as a Tremont resident. My next exhibit will be a joint showing with another local photographer in the fall of 2004 entitled “Diva’s.”
Rick Deering – Quiet Storm – June 12 / July 12, 1998
music by Maceo Noisette & Jerome Saunders
- jef scharf basement installation
jef scharf basement installation june 12 – july 12, 1998
- Rags of Light – Ben Parsons
Rags of Light
paintings and collages
July 17 – August 28, 1998
music by Hoobajoob
Meanings surface in textured paintings of Ben Parsons
His favorite tools are a rolling pin, razor blade and electric sander. His work is scarred, peeled and gouged. His focus is on surface texture. And yet Ben Parsons is thoroughly a painter, and a formalist at that (“religiously so,” he says). His abstract paintings do not revel in paint, but in the memory of it, ghosted into large-scale canvases that have been cut and puzzled back together.
Rags of Light, a small but powerful solo show at the Southside Gallery in Tremont in Cleveland, is a study in controlled chaos, balanced tension and pure poetry. A cursory glance at three large paintings nd four smaller collages fools the viewer into thinking these are archaeologically layered, as if someone has rescued decaying parts of a large mural. Closer inspection reveals symmetry and armatures for organic forms; swirls; dots; fields of color; and abrupt intrusions of lines, sharp geometrics or drips.
The muted tones of steel blue, pale green, washed-out peach and others belie the ferocity with which Parsons works over his canvases.
In Uncoiled, he has used the rolling pin, not to press in, but to pull paint off certain sections. Deep gouge marks are scars, stitched back together by lines of dripping paint. Culled from three previously painted canvases that were broken apart and rearranged, Uncoiled gets its verve from fresh juxtapositions. Two sinuous black lines snake their way down the canvas, echoing each other, their paths broken by patches of white paint. Once ovals, now cut and pierced back to back, the lines speak of energy released. Bright blue circles have been almost obliterated by deeply gouged black marks, as if such cheerfulness can’t survive in this deceptive labyrinth. It’s a stellar painting.
Adrift, also in acrylic and latex, is pieced together with rectangular shapes whose edges don’t meet, making crevices where the “light” shines through. Overpainted with warm washes of peach, orange and ocher, Adrift seems adrift, indeed, until the viewer “connects the dots”, a bright, rosy rectangle at the top tethered by a long swath of watery black to a smaller black box near the bottom. These narrative hints are beautifully ambiguous – a boat adrift from a dock, a person adrift from another, the self adrift from the soul. Parsons inserts tiny, visual anchors: a red dot, an orange splash, pieces of canvas resembling an eye.
Though they appear built-up, the work is on one plane, an influence of his job as a stained-glass maker and restorer that is evident in several collages made with ink on blueprint and carbon papers. In Becalmed, crayon tracings of old leaded glass become a map of rivers and roads; the lack of road signs indicates the journey is interior.
An old piece of stained glass with a faint organic shape graces others, a repeated image made by placing the glass on light-sensitive paper. The show’s title piece, Rags of Light, is filled with various shades of black and indigo, the color of full-moon skies infused with the feeling of swimming at night.
The overall effect of Parson’s work is ebb and flow, balanced by its underlying vigor and ferocity. There are no gimmicks or kitsch; he never reaches for what’s easy or obvious. The result of deep musings, his work resembles poetry in its compression, requiring long looking as new meanings surface. The way he heals pieces together recalls William Butler Yeats: “Nothing can be sole or whole that has not been rent.”
Rags of Light, in the small, earnest gallery founded by Jean Brandt, is actually missing a painting: it was tapped to be in the Butler Institute’s National Midyear Exhibition. A 1988 graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art, Parsons has shown his work here and there, but Rags of Light signals a bright talent.
Ben Parsons Rags of Light July 17 August 28 1998
- Unidentifiable Moving Object – Dance Improv – Kathy Kish
- New works by Michael Hurley and Smantha Staley
Escape 44”x44” wallpaper, digital images, roofing tar on canvas.
Works were a collaboration between Michael Hurley and Samantha Staley. Samantha set up the model shoots and took digital images of models in various poses. We edited these shoots and I manip-ulated the chosen imagesinphotoshop. I then wrote a program that blew the image up pixel-wise, split into precise divisions and output a set of smaller square images. These digital images were then placed like tiles on canvases that I had covered in wallpaper, painted with roofing tar and painted a sillhouette of the pose. Samantha currently works in the film industry and resides in Hermosa Beach California.
Michael Hurley paints, develops websites, and surfs in Marina del Rey California.
New Works by Michael Hurley & Samantha Staley
November 11-30, 1998
- Submerge – Kenn Louis
I lived upstairs from the Southside Gallery for five years, and ironically never had a show there until after I moved out. During my time spent there, I did several shows around Tremont and always loved sharing the basement below the gallery with the current artist in residence and whoever else happened to be around at the time. The basement became a communal studio space with free flowing ideas always in the air.
It later became a show space with art and performance, poetry readings and music. It only made sense to have my installation, called Suberge live in the fruit cellar of the basement. Since I don’t have any photos of the installation, I’m contributing an image of cartoon characters that I created while I lived upstairs from the Southside Gallery, which were inspired by life in Tremont.
November 13-30, 1998
- Green House – Jee Sun Pak
Where to begin was the quest back then, what one still has to say about anything in the great ruins of post-modern world. One day I bought a few gourds, looking at it closely and amazed by the strange bumps on its skin. It looked as though it should pop like a blister but skin was hard and green. So, I decided to slice them and cast with pink wax,
soldered together and made the 4’ by 4’ panel. The title is “Graft,” it is what it is, not a profound idea, but it is an idea. The ordinary event.
December 5-30, 1998
- Drawings – Gene Merritt
Clyde Eugene Merritt, “Gene”
Folk and Self Taught Artist
Gene Merritt – Drawings
February 6-28, 1999
Clyde Eugene Merritt, “Gene”
Folk and Self Taught Artist
Gene’s subject matter ranges from popular cultural icons, people in his community, landscapes, scuba diving (frog men), cars and animals. The drawings are usually done in pen on sketch or notebook paper. He uses connective contour lines to
define particular features.
Gene decided he wanted to draw cartoons for a living. From that point he created is fictitious “Gene’s Arts Inc./Gene’s Art Gallery”. He has had very little formal ducation. He learns from Television.
Gene began drawing as a natural instinct. He had been an “inventor” creating radio helmets, and home made cable television antennas. He has picked up a pen and a napkin in a local restaurant one day and decided to draw. Since then he has gone from “Gene’s Cartoon” to “gene’s Art’s Inc”. Sometimes he draws “Gene’s Invention’s Inc.”
Gene began drawing on napkins, and local merchant’s began giving him stationary and notebook paper. Since then people have also been buying sketch books for him, and he sometimes draws on the back of Xerox copies. He has also drawn on found wood, and plywood. He uses pens that he finds, or that have been given to him. He also uses magic markers and colored pencils.
Gene has had exhibits in Columbia, Charleston, Rock Hill, SC, and Washington, D.C.
In addition to drawing, Gene also plays the guitar, and has held various other jobs. He was Buttons the Clown with the Charlotte, N.C. Clowns, he shined shoes on the street in Rock Hill. Gene has also played in honky-tonk clubs in Rock Hill, including “The Bloody Bucket” and “The Roadside Club”.
Gene usually dates everything at least one year ahead. Some are dated ahead as far as 1999: He believes he will always stay ahead of himself if he dates things in the future.
Gene Merritt – Drawings
February 6-28, 1999
- New Work – Terry Durst
Building A Bridge – Terry Durst brings together emotion and content
Frank Green – The Cleveland Free Times March 24, 1999 (an excerpt)
If you wanted to build a bridge over the wide river that so often divides artists specializing in crude emotional expression from those who prefer refined conceptual rigor, Terry Durst would be the ideal architect and engineer. He’d insist on building the span with his own two hands, so it might take awhile to complete, but it’d be worth the wait. When construction was finished, people on both sides of the great divide – the raw and the cooked, the heart clan and the mind tribe – could meet in the middle to fornicate and debate. While the elders of both nations marvel at the solid footing provided by technical mastery, whippersnappers could snicker at the trickster bravado of making something brand new look as old as dirt.
Durst’s show, consisting of four new sculptural relief assemblages at the Southside Gallery, is as refined as a mathematical treatise and yet boldly expressive, like a primal scream. Though they’ve been labored over carefully, the sculptures achieve an effect of raw immediacy, a rough expressiveness that belies their finesse. Each sculpture is crafted from cast-off pieces of wood that have been cut, drilled, gouged, filed and otherwise manipulated in the studio, together with found bits of metal, glass, plastic, wire and other materials assembled and over-painted with a dominant black, so that the finished work looks like it was carved from a single block of wood.
The four works in the current exhibition share a number of defining characteristics, including a provocative alteration of interior and exterior forms. Stowaway is divided into eight smaller rectangular sections, each framed with a border of extruding wood. The borders have a bare, skeletal, scaffold-like effect, contrasting with denser areas inside each compartment, which are layered with softer looking material.
It’s as if the walls have been blasted off a house, exposing the frame holding it together and the domestic secrets inside, or as if layers of skin have been peeled away from a body, revealing the bones flowing veins hidden underneath. But due to a dense layering of objects and surfaces, things are shrouded as much as displayed. The teasing inherent in this simultaneous obscuration and revelation of forms lends a tantalizing suggestion of intimacy to the aura of mystery inherent in abstract work.
The old west is conjured back to life in Frontier, a piece that harkens back to some of Durst’s earlier sculptural work with it’s use of odd icons of popular culture. Dual spindles join together to form the horns of a steer at a metaphoric horizon line near the top of the sculpture, surmounted by charred shards of wood radiating out like the rays of the sun. Underneath the horizon line is a tabernacle-like earth emblazoned with galloping buffalo and twin cowboys shot full of holes. This piece shows a deep appreciation of landscape as metaphor and embodies a tribute to the ghost town ambience of the exhibition in general. With their careful decrepitude and use of weathered wood, all the sculptures look a little like artifacts left over from the days of the old frontier.
Another important characteristic of the work is its use of symmetrical duality. Most of the major forms are mirrored on the opposite ide of the construction. The sculptures mimic in an abstract way the structure of the human body, with its dual arms, legs, eyes, wars, nostrils, lungs, hemispheres of the brain, etc. This quality of abstract human figuration becomes very clear in a piece like Denizen, with its central ribcage-like structure, but its present in all the work.
Terry Durst takes sculptural assemblage to new heights, not only locally, but internationally. It’s a pity his work isn’t better known and more widely collected.
Terry Durst - New Work - Sculpture
March 6 thru April 11, 1999 - music by Hoobajoob
- In Between – Emily Blaser
intaglio prints and drawings
April 17 – May 24, 1999
Thinking about the show I had at Southside Gallery in 1999, the first thing that comes to mind is the easy and inspired time I had making the work. I had shown my work in galleries but hadn’t yet had a solo show.
It was an exciting opportunity to transform a familiar space, and I was inspired to make technically and poetically ambitious work, which then led down a path I couldn’t have foreseen.
Looking back, that exhibit at Southside was the pefect opportunity at that time in my artistic life.
- Derive – A Performance – Thea Miklowski
Derive – A Performance
June 11, 1999
- New Work – Judith Brandon
Wishes (was originally made for the 4×8 show that Ron Naso and Tim Herron put together) The show wasn’t as well thought out as I would have liked. I was distracted by the 17 year cicadas that had arrived. I kept finding these beautiful orange insect wings. The 17 year cicadas have bright orange wings, all of the others have a muddy green. My friend Ben had brought me a horrifying bag filled with dead cicadas. I only wanted the wings! To my dismay and eternal gratitude, Ben and Colleen sat in the back yard, drank beer, and snipped the wings off of the critters. I spent a lot of time arranging them and seperating right wings from the more liberal left wings. Two of my paintings wound up with wings in them. (I couldn’t not use them after all of their hard work. ha).
It’s of great interest to me to incorporate natural fragile objects like the wishbones and cicada wings, but sometimes the objects themselves are more interesting than the art. Balance is always an issue. Presenting surfaces and space that highlight an emotion or precious object can be complex. If it looks complex, than I have failed. Most of the work show was successful. One of my favorite pieces is Veal, a drawing of a young cow staring at a box that is “just his size.” He’s innocent and humble, not giving much thought to the box, not unlike the many people who are ignorant of where their meat comes from and how cruelty plays a big part in it’s production. That piece has the biggest exhibition record but no one wants to buy it. Gee, I wonder why?
Living in Tremont has been a blessing for me. When I first moved from Little Italy in 1988 it was a safe haven for artists and criminals basically. Jean was here, and she and some of the other business owners saw the opportunity to use artists as a community draw. Now the neighborhood has something to tout about. The best part is Tremont is still producing challenging art, at one third of the NYC prices and Jean is still exhibiting it.
Judith Brandon July 1999 exhibition
- Recent Work – Lace & Textiles – Christina Cassara
Recent Work – Lace & Textiles
August 13 – September 7, 1999
excerpt from Leather and Lace by Frank Green
from the Cleveland Free Times August, 1999
A noteworthy exhibition in Tremont this month is a show at Southside Gallery of recent work by Christina Cassara, a conceptually minded fiber artist and professor at Cleveland Institute of Art who rarely exhibits locally. She uses Battenberg lace that is hand-made in China and stitched together with images made with computerized embroidery machines. Images of hands predominate, together with texts from songs called “lace tells,” which were chanted by girls and young women to alleviate the tedium of labor- intensive work in 17th- to 19th-century English lace-making shops.
A series called Immigration consists of embroidered images of China, Sicily and the Dominican Republic, three nations known for lace work, each country surrounded by lace that radiates out like ocean currents. This, together with the images of hands and the words from the songs, are a tribute to a stream of tradition, to the makers of lace past
and present around the world. Like a knot in the lace itself, Cassara feels tied to this tradition, carried through centuries and across oceans by thousands of women, arriving literally in a computerized America.
- New Work – Dan Tranberg
My second show at Jean’s was another first; it was my first-ever show of paintings.
In school, I focused mainly drawing, photography, and ceramics. It wasn’t until 1998 or so that I started really focusing on painting, which is what I’ve done ever since.
September 10 – October 4, 1999
- Paintings – Cushmere Bell
Stained Glass (Target)
This is one of 12 16” x 20” collages that were to be a “blueprint” for a larger body of work. At the time I was looking at a dadist construction, primarily the work of Hannah Hoch.
Cushmere Bell October 8 – November 3, 1999
- Things that Pass Through My hands – John Ranally
Here goes an attempt to relive the event of things that pass thru my hands, a show at Southside Gallery in 1999. The old millennium.
For me the opportunity to show at Southside was an exciting one. I had seen many shows there by people I respected. People like Bruce Edwards, Laila Voss, Sally Hudak and others that I found to offer exciting work not seen in most galleries thru out the Cleveland area.
When Jean approached me for the show, I had work in my studio that had no option for easy exhibiting with other galleries handling my work. A lot of the new work recycled materials, were whimsical, or had been created for venues different from the art world’s respect.
Some bronze pieces were so new I was excited for the chance to present them in a more open forum that Southside Gallery provided. As I gathered the work together and worked towards the show, the range of imagery was including religious images I had long ago done as personal investigation. There were also commissions done for a local church that seemed to be right for the show.
My carved wood pieces were connected to my earliest sculptural forays in art. For this show I had taken a huge stump of walnut which had transformed into a torso abstracted and a small turtle that emerged from a cherry log. These two works were reconnecting me to my roots in carving which established me as an artist thru the Cleveland Museum’s May Show in 1976. From that show at the museum I was then picked for other galleries in my start as a sculptor in Cleveland. This show then brought old history together wit the wide range of materials I have come to use in the 25+ yrs I have continued to exhibit here in this town. Restrictions unleashed, as most galleries limit the type, style and format, Southside gave full liberty to my expression and I went to all the materials and styles of work giving me a thrill to exhibit anything! Ceramics and functional ware, new wood, new bronzes, doors and gates for personal friends and for my personal space, these hung off the walls and exhibited nicely. I even showed work from stage set work done for a SAFMOD performance. These were pods used to hang two people for the “Metamorphous” show at CPT. These pods though not generally in the category of sculpture, were so sculptural for me. And they took center stage in the exhibit. And as the doors hung off the walls this work hung from the ceiling giving the ways the sculpture can be presented in the gallery variety.
So this show opened up what I felt possible in gallery spaces. And in many ways I have work that is quite traditional and fits well in the traditional gallery scene, Southside offered me a wider spectrum to bring to the gallery, unencumbered by a history that required a classic approach to art. I do not think the work I exhibited challenged the possibilities in a gallery but it opened me up.
I hope this gives some idea of what this show meant to me. Does it fall into the categories you were looking for in the show’s impact?
Other shows that happened from that show was an exhibit at Saffron Gallery. And that dove-tailed with the work I did for a Parade the Circle float in 2000. The flame forms of the parade device then became the forms used in the show as constructed individual forms for the show there.
John Ranally Things That Pass Through My Hands November 6-30, 1999
- Gestures - Bruce Edwards
January 1-31, 2000
a month long performance
- Pieces. And Measures For Nothing
Pieces. And Measures For Nothing
paintings, multi-media, assemblage
February 5 – March 5, 2000
- Seeking the Ether – Sally Hudak
March 10 – 31, 2000
Seeking the Ether
smoke fired clay
Seeking the Ether
smoke fired clay
March 10 – 31, 2000
photo by Jerry Mann
Using clay from a recycled “home” I had built at the BK Smith Gallery
at Lake Erie College, I continued to explore comfort and nurturing
through the creation of a smoke fired quilt and three pillows. The quilt
squares were painted with a white slip and smoked in an open firing
using sawdust and newspaper. They were then ‘sewn’ together with
rebar wire and coated with beeswax. My hand prints and finger marks
decorate the squares. A part of the installation was video and stills,
documenting the firing process. During the pillow making , each of my
three children pressed the side of their face into the soft clay, leaving
an impression. I wanted it to appear as though they had perhaps
rested their head there for a while and so this work, as I said is about
nurturing and comfort. To me a quilt is the ultimate comfort. It is a
resting place. As a child, I slept under a quilt that my maternal
grandfather had made. My clay quilt is a comfort but it is also
protective as it plated and wired like a kind of armor. Much later, I
discovered that my quilt actually resembles the Early Western Han
“Gold Jade clothes” that protected the bodies of Chinese emperors’
in the burial tombs.
- Proofing the Years - Jerry Mann
Jean cornered me at the Lit, again. I committed to another show, and now I had to show what I was worth…be an artist again. What have I done since ‘Hands’? Well, honestly, nothing. But I realized that I’d been shooting all along, for over ten years, and had thousand of black and white negatives to prove it. I figured why make more negatives when I’ve already got some laying around?
This reasoning grew into a real concept after a while. I created all these images over time, never really edited them, and now I would see what I had. It would be a study on what I perceived as ‘art’ then, and what I thought passed as art now. And I wanted to allow the gallery visitor to see what my choices were. I was ready to cover every square foot of Southside’s wall space with prints. And my ‘picks’ would be somehow framed out from the rest. Or they would be strung all across the gallery. Or there would be stacks on the floor or on a shelf below that year’s pick, set up in chronological, timeline fashion.
That was all too complicated. And what if there was nothing good from 1992? Would I have to show an image from 1992, even if 1992 was not a good year? So I figured I’d start editing and making work prints of my favorites. For a while, I was pretty sure that there was a good reason I never showed my work for ten years. I eventually just went with gut choices. I tried to pick stuff I thought would push peoples’ ideas of what a good photo was. I wanted to avoid typically pretty pictures, technical achievements and sappy remembrances. I had a lot of crap in those ten years of negatives.
But it was crap that was important to me. A lot of them were murky images from a Dianna-type plastic camera. ‘Veselka’ was so dark and abstract, that when I found the print the other day I wasn’t sure if it was an image of anything. I now remember why it was chosen. It was an image of my friend Paul at Veselka Cafe in NYC, our old favorite eatery. There are plates and cups and saucers, and Paul is reaching for his coffee. It was dark, and the camera had a slow lens, but I could do multiple exposures. I just clicked the shutter about 30 times, telling Paul (and myself) to hold still. I had burned enough light onto the film to get an adequate, if unsharp, exposure. That had meaning to me. At the time, I was no longer living in New York, but visiting off and on. My memories were fading, and I was trying to keep up with my friends who were still stomping around in the East Village. A dark, murky and technically desperate photo was very appropriate
I think I found valid visual statements. There was a grainy 20×24 inch print of a roadkill. A triptych self-portrait that I created for a brief NYC flame. A plastic-lensed rendering of a shutdown New Jersey boardwalk. Stark depictions of a fireplug, smokestacks and the iced-over lake. A dreamy document of an early date with my partner Sally Hudak. A print from a muddy (literally) negative I found while walking Jeak at Gordon Park. In summary, some of those pretty
pictures, technical achievements and sappy remembrances crept in. Even my beautiful pinhole portrait of Thaddeus Root had been exhibited before, as part of his Southside ‘Thirty’ show. It’s hard to stick to hard and fast rules when you are just looking for great images.
Then I had to present the whole gob of contact sheets and work prints. I wanted to invite the visitors to peruse the options. I wanted people to take some time with it. So I put our kitchen table in the center of the room, with chairs, good lighting and a magnifying glass. At the opening, the pictures were spread all over. It was great to see people looking through my history. Some people got into single contact sheets, trying to understand why one frame was circled, but not the nearly identical frame beside it. Others just enjoyed searching for mages of themselves or someone they knew. An unfortunate reviewer from Art Papers considered my display a trite attempt to recreate a photojournalist’s editing room. He was full of shit. Obviously it’s upsetting when our intentions are misread. Another reviewer from the Free Times saw it as a unique opportunity to see into the process and growth of a photographer. He was right on.
It’s a good thing I put my shows together for myself, without regard for the viewers or reviewers. That way I get satisfaction from the effort, no matter who comes to see it, or what they think.
I actually thought about one other person besides myself while putting together Proofing the Years. That was Arnold Gassan, Professor of Art at Ohio University, to whom the show was dedicated. During photography practicum class, Arnold told us to bring in our entire volume of photographs. Everything. I obliged, and Arnold’s eyes gleamed as I lifted stack after stack of photos from boxes. Arnold got to work, scanning my work and pacing the room. He found my worst and best, using words like ‘cliche’, ‘movement,’ ‘empty’ and ‘exuberant.’ Sorting and sifting, he found visual meaning amongst work that ranged from wrestlers to fashion models. In the end, I was beat up and uplifted. Arnold taught me to look back at where I’ve been, and he gave me the first notion that my work was valid.
Proofing the Years – black & white photographs April 8 – 30, 2000
- Multisensory Perception - Brenda Stumpf
I am intrigued by a force beyond the personality. Limitation of the five senses urges me to look beyond the realm of time, space, and matter. That has led me to the doorstep of quantum physics where I have begun a new kind of consciousness about the physical world, and embracing larger truths about the nonphysical world. Quantum physics and metaphysics are important ingredients and each have a strong foothold on my perspective of the Universe and ways in which to explore and express it. I present views of multisensory perception, which is a perspective that I believe to be more accurate than that of the five senses alone. The lyrical quality of lines, or the sweeping movement of shapes represents threads of ever-moving energy.
Research is a large and important aspect of the approach. When reading, I am aware there exists an energy dynamic behind, or carried by words and symbols often termed
as alchemical text. When invoked, an ex- change of spiritual currency occurs between
the nonphysical portion of myself and the alchemical text. Then there is a distillation process that transpires after these communications and the output is my personal icon-
ography. Of the interpretations/creations of this alchemy some strike a chord of joy others sorrow, but both compose the symphony of the human experience. Both resound within each of us.
- Only in My Dreams recent paintings by David Szekeres
Only In My Dreams
recent oil paintings
June 3-30, 2000
Jean’s invitation for me to show my work at the Southside Gallery came
at a peculiar time. It was to be the last show before the doors of the Gallery were to close… at least for a while. I was slightly intimidated, as
I had not yet shown in any Cleveland gallery.
I decided to abandon most of my previously visited subject matters and strive to move to a different realm. I delved into my memory bank of
images I had seen or experienced in dreams. This provoked more
emotional reaction than I had expected.
Many of the images had been deeply imbedded in my mindspace. (As
it turned out, I found may others shared some of the same dreams.) Some of these images had been haunting me for a good part of my
life, or were definitely personal to me; others were just plain disturbing. Some were refreshingly serene. Though all were, at this point in my
life, most intriguing for one reason or the other.
Regardless, they proved to be interesting to most viewers. Recalling memories of their dreams long past. Some also not pleasant and others pleasing or amusing.
But what might have been amusing to some proved to be unfamiliar or uncomfortably dark to others. One viewer felt they should be worried about my stability, commenting on the overall dark and depressing tone, and suggesting I was depressed. Quite the contrary; mission accomplished.
I sat in the gallery one Saturday afternoon only to be present for the visit of some very well respected artist friends of mine who just happened to be visiting from their home in Chicago. Actually, one of them had a show the night before in a gallery in Kent.
My experience at the Southside Gallery proved to be a rewarding one in many ways. I would like to congratulate Jean for her motives, successes, and accomplishments in her efforts in creating such a venue in a now thriving Cleveland community.