Satterwhite, Alumni Among CIA’s FRONT Artists

Jacolby Satterwhite, Dawn, HD color video and 3D animation with artist-designed wallpaper on masonry wall, 2021. This project was commissioned by Cleveland Clinic in collaboration with FRONT International, with community support from Karamu House. Image courtesy of Cleveland Clinic, the artist, and Mitchell-Innes & Nash.

When FRONT International returns this summer, the Cleveland Institute of Art again serves as a partner and host site. What’s more is that CIA will be home to one of the triennial’s most anticipated exhibitions and will welcome back two alumni.

Oh, Gods of Dust and Rainbows is the title for this year’s triennial, which opens Saturday, July 16 at sites across Northeast Ohio. CIA will stage solo exhibitions by four noteworthy artists: Jacolby Satterwhite, a New York City-based artist who works in video, performance, 3D animation, fibers, drawing and printmaking; CIA alum Dexter Davis, a Cleveland-based multimedia artist whose career and artistic influence within the region spans decades; CIA alum Loraine Lynn, a Toledo-based self-described “conjurer of tactile sensational experiences”; and Alexandra Noel, a Los Angeles-based painter whose small-scale works often focus on subjects shown in a manner that is simultaneously surreal and familiar.

“I think it’s a tremendous opportunity that CIA will share the work of four radically different artists who are working in varying stages of their careers and are recognized by communities at regional, national and international levels,” says Nikki Woods, director of CIA’s Reinberger Gallery.

“I think these exhibitions represent four unique and extraordinary artistic visions,” she continues. “Though their strategies are different, each artist invites viewers to consider the depth of experience within ourselves and challenges us to consider the world more tenderly.”

Satterwhite’s Dawn is one of FRONT’s headline exhibitions. Installed both as a virtual reality arcade in Reinberger Gallery and as a freestanding sculptural screen outside Cleveland Clinic’s new BioRepository, it will employ traditional and digital media to create artistic encounters centered on the question posed to residents of the city’s Fairfax neighborhood: “What does utopia look like to you?”

“An artist like Jacolby Satterwhite, whose work is represented in museums all over the world and is centered in the present art discourse, helps to legitimize FRONT’s goal of bringing cutting-edge contemporary art to Cleveland,” Woods says. “Satterwhite’s vision draws from a well of source materials. Many artworks are expansions of previous works, giving the effect of an ever-evolving and sophisticated codex of signs, symbols and imagery.”

Noel’s works are rooted someplace between personal memory and collective experience. At CIA, small gem-like paintings will line the Donna and Stewart Kohl Corridor and invite viewers to engage in both close examination and thoughtful introspection.

“I’m interested in the ways Alexandra’s work invites a slower pace of looking, in opposition to our impulse to scroll,” Woods says. “Seeing Alexandra’s small paintings are akin to making a discovery. Their unassuming scale and the way paint is applied produces an image that is indeterminate from afar, demanding a closer examination of their contents.”

Davis’ exhibition will take place in a completely transformed gallery space within Reinberger Gallery and will consist of paintings, mixed-media collages and sculptures based on the artist’s personal history. The exhibition, The Less Dead, will be divided into three distinct sub-themes titled Ritual, Ghost and Birth.

Loraine Lynn, Untitled Installation, 2021. On view as part of the FRONT 2022 preview exhibition Grand Prototypes, Humble Tools at Transformer Station. Photo by Jacob Koestler.

Lynn plans to create a series of vibrant textile works that invite touch. This exhibition will be installed in the Mary Ann and Jack Katzenmeyer Student Lounge and the John and Sally Schulze North Lobby, where an accompanying program with Dr. Lady J, renowned Cleveland drag queen and the world’s first drag queen with a PhD dissertation on drag history, will be hosted in the fall.

“I’m always excited for the chance to support alumni artists through exhibition opportunities at CIA,” Woods says of Davis and Lynn’s exhibitions. “I think that as a college gallery we should be generating creative opportunities that celebrate the wealth of talent that has been nurtured within these walls as well as work to build greater systems of support for alumni artists. Exhibitions are just one example, and I am thrilled that FRONT supports that.”

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