CIA: Portals_Thresholds at Reinberger, Plus a Juried Alumni Show

New shows on view at the Cleveland Institute of Art this season celebrate the college’s legacy and seek to explore our perception of our present and future reality.

The CIA Alumni Exhibition is on view March 2–29 in the Ann and Norman Roulet Alumni + Student Gallery and the Gary Johnson and Brenda Ashley Central Corridor.

And opening March 29 in Reinberger Gallery is Portals_Thresholds, featuring works of video, virtual reality, sculpture and painting by artists operating in an arena where the familiar gives way to the unknown.

“How does our participation with digital spaces alter or manipulate the way we understand the world we live in? That’s the main question we’re asking,” says Nikki Woods. “All of the work references themes relating to the genre of science fiction: altered realities, surreal corporeality, and the desire to reach into the unknown.”

Woods, who became director of Reinberger Gallery this year, curated the exhibition with Samantha Konet, CIA project and visiting artist coordinator. In addition to being a place where visitors from outside CIA can see inspiring work, Reinberger should enrich the students’ experience, Woods says.

“We hope the show is a way for them to see cutting-edge work, where people are problem solving in ways they haven’t experienced before,” Woods says. “We want to expose our students to artists who make work using digital and physical mediums and processes—artists who work in a multiple-disciplinary way. I think that’s a lot of where our students are moving—toward an expansion of what an artist can do and be.”

Works in the show will be by Wickerham & Lomax, a two-man artist collective from Baltimore; Sara Ludy, who lives and works in Chicago; and New York-based Rachel Rossin.

Woods likes that Daniel Wickerham and Malcolm Lomax take seriously their identity as Baltimore artists. “That’s why they’re particularly suitable to show here in Cleveland, because I think a lot of people are here because they love this city, and they don’t’ feel they need to live somewhere else to be an artist.” Their works in Portals_Thresholds will include large-scale digital paintings, a video piece and two Plexiglas sculptures.

Rossin has longtime experience both as a computer code writer and a painter. Her virtual reality works include fragments of recognizable reality, while her oil paintings are derived from imagery that has been fed into, and manipulated by, gaming software.

Rachel Rossin, “Subsurface Scattering,” oil on canvas; courtesy of ZieherSmith, New York

Rachel Rossin, “Subsurface Scattering,” oil on canvas; courtesy of ZieherSmith, New York

“The piece she makes in VR is a simulated reality moving through a digital space,” Woods says. “There are remnants of images from physical reality—maybe it’s a bedroom set or a garden—but everything is spliced into other arrangements. There are supposed to be moments of recognition, but it dances in the space of the ‘uncanny valley.’”

In the gallery’s black box theater will be “Dream House,” a digital space that artist Ludy built in the online virtual world Second Life. The show will also feature two inkjet prints from Ludy that are still images of other architectural spaces she has rendered.

“None of these artists are defined by a single practice,” Woods notes. “We just really wanted to do a weird, cool show.”


“Functional Shift #3” By Wendy Collin Sorin; inventory labels

“Functional Shift #3” By Wendy Collin Sorin; inventory labels

The force behind CIA’s first-in-a-long-time alumni exhibition was, say organizers, the alumni themselves.

“When the council was formally formed two years ago, we established goals to bring additional value to our alumni. It had been one of my keen interests to revive the alumni exhibition as a means of adding value,” said Lauralee Hutson, Alumni Council member and co-chair of the show. “Here we are in 2018 launching this project. The alumni responded extremely well, and our jury did a beautiful job selecting representations of our multifaceted artistic alumni population.”

Jurors Bill Busta, Liz Maugans and Stephen Yusko selected works from submissions by more than 170 artists and designers.





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