Mary Lou Ferbert’s Sidewalks at Bonfoey Gallery

The Bonfoey Gallery is pleased to present Sidewalks, an exhibition of new paintings by acclaimed watercolorist Mary Lou Ferbert. This stunning show will be on view October 11 through November 19, 2013.  An opening reception with the artist will be held at the gallery from 5 to 8 pm Friday, October 11.

 Mary Lou Ferbert was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Over the past eight decades she has traversed the Rust Belt city’s ubiquitous sidewalks and used the imagery found there to inform her art.  Ferbert is widely known by her past oeuvre: meticulously rendered watercolors of urban infrastructure–manhole covers or chain link fence, rusted and corroded by time and Cleveland’s harsh winters. As with those previous paintings, her Sidewalk series draws our attention to parts of the cityscape that are ignored and often neglected, underfoot and out of mind, but in plain sight to the sensitive observer, walking silently, alone in thought, head low and staring down at ones toes.

 Sidewalks focuses on the remains of an infrastructure destined for extinction. At one time, most of the sidewalks in and around our boroughs were slabs of sandstone.  These smooth, cool stones – a favorite of children armed with sidewalk chalk and champion puddle splashers alike – hold a fond place in our memory. Over time, broken or damaged stones were replaced by the concrete slabs that line the streets of newer developments today.

But unlike concrete, the sandstone sidewalks of yesterday were infused with a subtle, organically formed color and texture, created from a slow build-up of sediment along the edges of shallow salt water seas found in this area over 300 million years ago. Because they were formed under water and resemble –if it were possible–a fossilized liquid, it’s no wonder a watercolorist has found importance in sandstone sidewalks.

Over the course of seasonal change Mary Lou Ferbert captured the effects of Cleveland’s abundant precipitation on these surfaces as well. From leaves blown down off the trees, or “halos” of those leaves created by rain, Ferbert makes a time capsule with this body of work.  These paintings celebrate not only the dynamics of geologic and meteorological change in our area, but the cycle of life and renewal in urban infrastructure. Ferbert continues to draw our attention to the subtler magnificence of our city with her extraordinary capacity to appreciate and interpret the beauty of the ordinary.

For more information about Mary Lou Ferbert: Sidewalks, or upcoming exhibitions, please contact The Bonfoey Gallery, 216.621.0178, or visit the company web site at


Mary Lou Ferbert: Sidewalks

October 11 through November 19, 2013

Opening reception with the artist: 5 to 8 pm Friday, October 11.


Bonfoey Gallery

1710 Euclid Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44114