Two new BAYarts exhibits highlight the nature of time and shadows

The landscape of Cleveland is charged with emotion through the use of shadows in this photograph by Marcello Mellino.

Brave the cold Ohio temperatures as a badge of authentic Clevelander honor when you visit BAYarts this February. The Lake Road art campus will be featuring two new exhibitions by several regional artists.

In the Sullivan Family Gallery will be the ceramic works of BAYarts 2014 Emerging Artist, Jessica Ramage. The show is called "Forward: An Optimists' View on Nature and Maturation." Ramage describes her show as "looking at mortality" and the "process of time and how we can better appreciate it." Though many people are fearful of aging and time moving along, Ramage takes a different approach. "I'm like, what's coming next? Aging is good. Time passing is not a bad thing."

To illustrate how time passes, elements of decaying leaves, cracked tree bark, overgrowth of vines, the texture of mold, and barnacles are incorporated into the pieces. Transformed through this artist's eye, they manage to appear beautiful.

Though Ramage says she hasn't always been an optimist, she can now claim that title. "I believe that being positive creates positivity."

On that positive front, this show will be raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation through a silent auction for ceramic pendants, as well as the ability to purchase smaller pieces of ceramic art whose proceeds go to the foundation.

Meanwhile, the Diane Boldman Education Gallery is hosting an exhibit called "Cast Shadows." Artists Mary Breiner, Marcello Mellino, Karen Petkovic, Maryann Sedivy and Eliza Wing have paintings and photographs that examine the connection between darkness and light. Their reminder to us is that without both darkness and light a shadow cannot appear.

Why shadows, anyway? "I'm really interested in the shape of shadow as cast by different objects. And everything can cast a shadow," says Karen Petkovic.

The abstract nature of shadows especially captivated photographer Mary Breiner. "When I do a portrait, I look for the light and how it hits someone's face. But when you're looking for shadows you're not really looking for the light. You're looking where the light is not."

In fact, as she worked on this show, Breiner found herself noticing shadows with more frequency. "I'd have to stop and pull the car over because I would see beautiful shadows of a tree going across a bridge." (Talk about working with a passion.)

Both of these exhibits are taking ideas that are often thought of with dislike (aging, dark shadows), and offering a way to see them in a new context. So expand your views on Feb. 7 from 7-9 p.m. when the opening reception for both shows takes places. Vist for more information.

Jessica Stockdale

Jessica Stockdale is a professional writer and a volunteer at BAYarts.

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 10:23 AM, 02.04.2014