Continuum: Historical Resonances in Contemporary Art

July 15, 2021-Februrary 27, 2022

Art is not made in a vacuum. Even while trying new things, artists draw on deep traditions. Five special pairings of artworks in this gallery encourage enjoyment of the past alongside the present. These combinations invite you to find surprises and delights, to see the old anew and the new afresh.

Diana Al-Hadid is known for a practice that spans media and scale, and examines the historical frameworks and perspectives that shape our material and cultural assumptions. Al- Hadid’s sculptures, panel works, and works on paper are built up with layers of material and history. Her rich, formal allusions cross cultures and disciplines, drawing inspiration, not only from the history of distant civilizations, but also from histories of the materials themselves. Al-Hadid’s work borrows from a variety of sources ranging from Old Master paintings to the innovative works of the Islamic Golden Age. With an interest in how commonly understood typologies and histories can be distinguished, Al-Hadid’s large-scale sculptures blend figurative and architectural elements into elusive objects that decontextualize the historical circumstances they reference. Evolving from material studies of her sculptures, Al-Hadid’s three-dimensional wall panels emphasize the artist’s quick gestural brushwork. Described by Al-Hadid as “somewhere between fresco and tapestry,” her unique process is entirely additive. Holes and gaps form not from puncture, but through controlled dripping, methodically reinforced such that the image dictates the structure. These works have been made as hanging objects, architectural interventions, and most recently as outdoor installation. She was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1981 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received a BFA in Sculpture and a BA in Art History from Kent State University in 2003, and an MFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2005, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2007. She has been the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Grant, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, and a Pollock-Krasner Grant. She is also a USA Rockefeller Fellow. Her mosaic murals for NYC’s Penn Station were among 100 finalists for CODAawards, an international competition honoring public commissions that integrate interior, architectural, or public spaces. In 2020, she received The Academy of Arts and Letters Art Award.  Al-Hadid has had solo exhibitions at the The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY in collaboration with Madison Square Park, NY, The Frist Art Museum, Nashville, TN, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University, Providence, RI, NYU Abu Dhabi University Gallery, Abu Dhabi, UAE, The Vienna Secession in Vienna, Austria, the Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, OH, the Akron Museum of Art, Akron, OH, the Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA, the Weatherspoon Museum of Art, Greensboro, NC the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX, the Centro de Arte Contemporánea, La Conservera, Spain, the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV, the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA. Her work is included in collections such as the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC, and the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA. 

Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson was born in Reykjavík, Iceland in 1963. She studied architecture at Kent State University, Ohio from 1983-1985, then studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1985-1988.  She completed a BFA at Kent State in 1991. In 1992 she received a Graduate Teaching Assistantship at Kent and studied both textiles and painting, and received an MFA in 1995. Past and upcoming solo exhibition’s include Abattoir Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio, Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio, Tibor De Nagy Gallery, New York, New York, TANG Museum, Saratoga Springs, New York, Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland, MOCA Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio, Pocket Utopia, New York, New York, Turpentine Gallery, Reykjavík, Iceland, Scope Art Fair, New York, Akureyri Arts Festival, Akureyri, Iceland and WBg, Cleveland, Ohio. Jónsson’s work was also included in the exhibition “Pretty Raw: After and Around Helen Frankenthaler” at the Rose Art Museum, at Brandeis University curated by Katy Siegel.  A catalogue was published for the exhibition by Gagosian /Rizzoli 2015. Jónsson’s work has been purchased by both public and private collections, including The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Reykjavík Museum of Art, Scott Mueller, Dealer Tire, The Progressive Insurance Collection, Toby Devan Lewis, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, The Akron Art Museum and Agnes Gund.Jónsson has received numerous grants, commissions and awards, including The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation 2015 Award, The Cleveland Arts Prize in 2008, Ohio Arts Council Grants, and a public commission from the Hilton Hotel Convention Center 2016 and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation 2009.Hildur lives in Reykjavík, Iceland and Cleveland, Ohio.

Lori Kella was born in St. Joseph Michigan in 1974.  She received a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art, and her MFA from Cornell University in 2001.  Kella’s photography explores the complexity of the 21st century landscape by crafting elaborate fictions meant only for the camera’s lens. These images bring to the surface hidden truths that belie our understanding of the natural world and call into question the permanence of our surroundings.  Her newest series titled Vanishing Shoreline examines climate change along the Great Lakes. Solo exhibitions of this artwork have been featured at PhotoCentric in Cleveland, and at the Rosewood Art Center in Kettering, OH. Photographs from this series were also featured in State of the Art 2020 at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  Lori Kella has exhibited in other prestigious venues such as The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Akron Art Museum, Galerie Drei and the Rathuas in Dresden Germany, The Print Center in Philadelphia, Site: Brooklyn in NY, MOCA Cleveland, Artspace in Raleigh, NC, Filter Photo in Chicago, IL, and William Busta Gallery in Cleveland, OH. She has received four OAC Individual Fellowships Awards, a full fellowship to attend Vermont Studio Center, a Creative Workforce Fellowship, and funding from ArtPlace America and the Andy Warhol Foundation.  Lori Kella lives on the shore of Lake Erie in Cleveland, OH and is a faculty member at Laurel School in Shaker Heights, OH.

Marcel Rozek is an abstract artist interested in color relationships and the role of transparency in stain painting. Originally from Akron, Ohio, and now located in Los Angeles, California, Rozek uses a staining technique pioneered by the early abstractionists and Washington Color School artists to create his richly layered compositions. He aligns himself with these influential artists, most notably Morris Louis, while pushing beyond the successes of his predecessors and creating a new branch in the tree of color field painting. He begins with liquefied paint that he has mixed and diluted before pouring it directly onto raw unprimed canvas allowing the paint to generate organic shapes and movement. This method creates puddles of color that overlap and extend into one another while soaking into the canvas. As the colors converge, overlap, and blend they absorb at different rates creating unique color families and blurry, spectral forms. Rozek considers his work a reflection of himself with each piece carrying a unique message that changes for every viewer. How Rozek’s message translates is a rumination into the viewers own perspective. “I try to translate depth and intuition to the viewer in the hopes we can have a conversation and a connection,” he says. In 2017, Rozek earned his bachelors degree in studio art with a minor in drawing and painting from the Myers School of Art in Akron, Ohio. Since completing his undergraduate studies, Rozek has exhibited work with collectors from Istanbul, London, and Rome among others.

Antwoine Washington was born in Pontiac, Michigan, a small city located outside of Detroit. His wife, Carlise Washington, and he has two children named Grayson and Luca. Washington received his BA in Studio Art from Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA. As a kid he fell in love with drawing Saturday morning cartoons like Tiny Toons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Animaniacs, to name a few. While at Southern, Washington learned more about black history and art in America, further inspiring him to continue the legacy of Harlem Renaissance artists like Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, and Jacob Lawrence. Washington decided to continue to tell stories of the black experience in America through his art. After college he moved to Cleveland, OH with his wife, and began working for the U.S. Postal Service as a mail carrier. While working as a mail carrier he began to get the burning desire to make art again, realizing his dream was to create art full-time. He eventually quit this job and began his journey pursuing a career in art. While taking this leap of faith to follow his dreams, Washington suffered a stroke in November of 2018. During his recovery, he used his art to help get through panic attacks and the numbness that he was experiencing on the right side of his body. Since surviving the stroke he continues to take advantage of all opportunities that are presented to him, having shown his work at the Cleveland Print Room in Cleveland, OH, Worthington Yards, The Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Rooms to Let and Artist Archives of the Western Reserve. He also was commissioned to do a mural in Cleveland Public Square by Land Studios. Antwoine also started a non-profit organization called the Museum of Creative Human Art. He uses this vehicle to teach art through his graphic design courses. He currently works and lives in Cleveland, OH.