A Legacy and Re-Invention at Artists Archives of the Western Reserve


On Thursday March 10 the Artists Archives opens Reinvention, a selection of works by Ruth Bercaw, Kim Bissett, Terry Klausman, Andrew Reach and P.J. Rogers. The exhibition documents the story of five artists who reinvented themselves and their work in order to overcome limitations forced on them because of traumatic injury, aging or disease. For each of them, the acceptance, adaptation and evolution resulted in the production of powerful, original bodies of work in divergent directions.

Bissett, Klausman and Bercaw all turned away from making sculpture to working on paper.  Bissett suffered from nerve damage, which made it impossible to continue her work in bronze and stone. She literally was told to not “use her hands.” Her determination to continue working and communicating as an artist led her to start drawing with her feet.  Some time later, when she regained use of her hands, her evolution resulted in a body of work that could be categorized as paper reliefs constructed by layering, laminating, sanding, tearing, cutting and reassembling.

Klausman worked as a welder for over 20 years and had just reignited his artistic practices fabricating steel sculpture when an accident at work nearly cost him three fingers on his right hand. After a brief period of post-surgery depression, he decided to figure out how to draw with his left hand. The line that he developed during this time became the basis for a whole new body of work, which he has explored in many different directions for the past 5 years.

Bercaw, a painter, had gained much notoriety for her large geometric wall reliefs which combined aspects of sculpture and painting. As she aged, the demanding reliefs caused her constant pain in her hands. She contemplated giving up life as an artist but eventually found a creative solution in the use of printed papers collaged into a “visual manifestation of our knowingly positive attitude toward life, and beauty in a variety of forms.”

Reach and Rogers both turned to the computer as their tool of choice, and to digital prints as a chosen mode of expression. Rogers was a nationally known print maker who developed allergies to her materials and eventually wound up making digital prints. Her search to recreate the tonal qualities of the aquatints she loved led her first to photography, electrostatic prints and finally to working with Photoshop on a PC, well into her last years of life.

Andrew Reach, disabled because of a spinal disease, had to give up his career as an architect. For Reach, making art is a daily therapeutic regimen that keeps him balanced both physically and spiritually. When describing his sizable canvas prints he writes “Using color and geometric fragments akin to bits, I recombine them, in a visual dance of color, composition and optic play to imbue in them a kinetic sense of movement–a stand in for my ability to move freely through the world without pain.”




2016 Annual Members Exhibition January 15 – February 27, 2016: Forty pieces were chosen by juror Anna Arnold from 130 entries for this ecclectic annual show.

Jennie Jones at Judson Park, a Satellite Exhibition: January 15 – February 28, 2016

Conseration of Objects and Paper-related Works: ICA Program: February 17

Out of the Archives! Pop up Exhibition, March 1 – 5, 2016

Reinvention:  works of PJ Rogers, Andrew Reach, Terry Klausman, Kim Bissett & Ruth Bercaw: March 12 – May 7. Opening reception Thursday, March 12.

Reinvention Studio Tours: Join us in April for up-close and personal tours of the artists’ studios. Please contact AAWR for times and details

The New Now: submission period opens March 15. Online submissions only, via artistsarchives.org


Collecting Art Series:  Collecting Contemporary Ceramics with Garth Clark, a leading expert in the field will discuss the new role ceramics is playing in the 21st century and why. May 5, 6:30 – 8 pm

No Art Left Behind: a Fundraiser for the AAWR Oral History Project that guarantees everyone leaves with an original piece of beautiful artwork! Sunday May 15, 4 – 7 pm. For details and tickets contact AAWR

Ceramic Invitational:  A selection of Ohio’s finest ceramic artists, curated by Lakeland College Gallery Director Mary Urbas:  May 26 – July 9. Opening reception 5:30 – 8 pm Thursday, May 26.

Out of the Archives: Selected work from the AAWR collection: June 22 – July 13, at the Beachwood Community Center.


Adele Marihatt: Presented by ArtSource and the AAWR Legacy Society at the Penton Media building, 1300 E 9th St, Cleveland, through July 1, 2016


Artists Archives of the Western Reserve

1834 E. 123rd St.

Cleveland Ohio 44106