Roy Bigler and Terry Durst at AAWR
There’s a certain rawness to our region—one forged out of our industrial past and the ensuing decades spent forming and reforming our identity from the rusty pieces left behind. It also fuels our creativity, and perhaps no artistic medium better captures this drive to repurpose and redefine than assemblage. Whether it’s the abundance of source materials or an innate desire to summon beauty out of salvage, Northeast Ohio is host to a wealth of assemblage artists that call the region home.
In May, the Artists Archives will host the inaugural show of Terry Durst and Roy Bigler, two artists who use found objects to peel back the layers of society as well as of their own complex psyches. Though both craft evocative narratives out of cultural detritus, their work originates from almost polar impulses.
A graduate of Kent State University and former assistant director for Gallery East at Cuyahoga Community College, Bigler employs the rigid borders of his sculptures to contain, catalog, and document his reality. Using cigar boxes, plaque-like mounts, or tightly-wrapped parcels as bases, the artist combines psychologically-charged bits of ephemera to suggest oblique and sardonic relationships between history, consumer culture, and nostalgia. Objects often appear in test tubes, or behind glass—reminiscent of Victorian displays which pinned and labeled the natural world to control its perceived chaos.
Far from wanting to contain it, Durst offers himself up as a conduit for that chaos, pulsing frenetic energy and rock ‘n’ roll through dripping composition and a confrontational aesthetic. Though large in scale, the sculptures are alarming in their intimacy; they create a profound sense of discomfort, as if the memories they emit might be contagious if approached too closely. Also a graduate of Kent State, Durst was initially torn between film and sculpture, ultimately choosing the later because of the ability to work independently, reflecting that “making film was expensive and involved a lot of people.” The exhibition opens May 19 and will be on view until June 25.
Looking ahead to fall, the Archives will host W/O Limits, an exhibition which exclusively features the work of regional artists experiencing chronic illness and/or disability. Curated by Megan Alves and Mindy Tousley, the show will include the powerful work of Sarah Brown, Kristi Copez, Chappelle Letman Jr., Mandem, Arabella Proffer, Nate Puppets, Andrew Reach, and Kate Snow. The exhibition is generously supported by a grant from Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities and will open on September 22. Visit artistsarchives.org for full details.
Roy Bigler, Guided Missile, 1995. Collection of the AAWR.
ROY BIGLER AND TERRY DURST | MAY 19–JUNE 25
MANIFESTATIONS: PAPER & CLAY | JUNE 26–AUGUST 7FEATURING MINDY TOUSLEY AND GEORGE ROBY AT THE MANSFIELD ART CENTER
OPENING RECEPTION SUNDAY, JUNE 26
The Mansfield Art Center is located at 700 Marion Avenue in Mansfield, Ohio.
CAN TRIENNIAL | JULY 9–SEPTEMBER 3
ARTISTS ARCHIVES OF THE WESTERN RESERVE
1834 East 123rd Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44106