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