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News . Feature Stories . Painting chair curates exhibition exploring art, materials


September 10, 2014

Painting chair curates exhibition exploring art, materials

Show featuring three faculty and two grads on view through Sept. 26

CIA Painting Department Chair Lane Cooper has curated an exhibition exploring eight Northeast Ohio artists’ wildly different takes on using materials in their work. The result is a show that invites visitors to linger.

De Materia, on view at Waterloo Arts through Sept. 26, features work by three faculty members and two graduates. Included are works by CIA’s Reinberger Galleries Director Bruce Checefsky, Drawing Department Chair Sarah Kabot, Assistant Professor Barry Underwood, Reinberger Galleries Project Coordinator Nichole Woods ’12, and Katy Richards ’11, as well as Paul O’Keeffe, Charles Tucker, and Gianna Commito.

Cooper, who holds a master’s degree in art history as well as an MFA in painting, titled her show De Materia in reference to Leon Battista Alberti’s seminal 1435 treatise on the art of painting, “De Pictura.”

In her curator’s statement, she wrote, “This show, through the works it incorporates, focuses on the substance of art, the real material of its creation, an unnamable something that marries together the external and internal experience of the viewer.”

She notes the artists represented in De Materia each take a particular approach to the materials they used. For instance, Checefsky used a scanner as a camera for a series of painterly photographs of a garden. “So he’s literally taking advantage of a digital process as a material he’s manipulating. The print becomes a window on the material world,” said Cooper.

Kabot’s piece is a hand-drawn rotoscope of a flag flapping in the wind. Cooper said the piece “raises the question, what does this flag mean. Is it a flag of retreat? Is it a flag of an advancing army? It’s a hand-drawn animation that’s as much about the layers of one drawing on another as it is about a flag billowing in the wind,” she added.

Cooper draws a contrast between these captivating pieces and the fleeting, virtual images and messages that are ever present in the digital age. “Art, when it achieves its greatest resonance, is anything other than the thin, readily consumable experiences that dominate much of our popular culture. Art, at its best, grounds the viewer in a more expansive experience that is “more than” the ordinary and is anything but instant,” she wrote.

Having curated exhibitions in Northeast Ohio and her native Alabama, Cooper said she enjoyed the experience of creating De Materia. “Waterloo Arts asked me to do this so it was just a really nice opportunity pick out work that I like to spend time with,” she said. “This work is so intriguing and engaging that you want to spend time with it. I’m really proud of the show and excited and grateful that these artists all agreed to participate.”

Waterloo Arts is at 15605 Waterloo Road in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood.

Above: "William Baffin Rose," by Bruce Checefsky.

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CIA alumna Josette Galiano’s passion lies in exploring behavior and designing immersive experiences. Fittingly, she’s a consumer insights analyst at @NottinghamSpirk​ and a designer at Florette by Josette​.

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