Springtime at Waterloo Arts Brings Color and Joy

Judy Giera, Happy Wife, Happy Life (so they say), mixed media and needles used by the artist for intramuscular injections for HRT prescribed as part of gender affirming care on wooden panel, 4.5 X 6 inches, 2022.

On view in Waterloo Arts’ main gallery through March 25 is I Paint Houses, a site-responsive collection of three-dimensional paintings by Alex Vlasov. Undercutting the art historical weight of the term “painting,” Vlasov’s newest body of work playfully constructs a relationship between raw building materials, fluorescent color, and the everyday as a canvas.

Mitered angles of construction lumber halo lively and structural configurations of paintings on treated plywood, metal studs sandwich layers of composite drywall, and concrete blocks appear to prop up the limbs of the artist’s sprawling artworks. Vlasov’s presentation of an alternative concept of value, technique, and labor in contemporary art echo his commendation of experimentation and amusement in the studio.

Judy Giera, Peep Show 1, acrylic medium, fiber paste, color pencil, curling gift wrap ribbon, adhesive foam, spray paint, and epoxy resin on panel, 6.5 X 16.5 X 4.5 inches, 2022.

In April, Cleveland-born and Brooklyn-based artist Judy Giera presents And it can give some joy, a multidisciplinary exhibition intent on elevating the artist’s non-cisgender experience of womanhood. Giera’s colorful, intensely-layered artworks attract the eye to then reveal tensions about their own makeup. Craggy, bulbous canvas edges evoke a feeling of growth and spillage, while glitter, fringe, and looping pink threads call to socially-established ideas of the feminine. Video performances nestled within draping, collaged, and heavily-sculptural works visualize a connectedness amidst turmoil, envisioning euphoria and camaraderie as ways to thrive in a volatile climate. With the exhibition, Giera brings social mixers and a generous, collaborative spirit to render transgender joy through community events.

Opening concurrently in our auxiliary exhibition space is Bingo, I’m the King Now,a collection of ink drawings by Elena Masrour. In co-opting the brushy, tightly-framed aesthetic of American comics, Masrour invites Western viewers into a critique of the oppression of Iranian people. The artist illustrates smiling women, taunting and engaging beastly demons drawn from the style of historic Persian miniature paintings, as a means to champion a non-restrictive future for Iranian women.

Leading into May, Fatima Al Matar shares a new series of painted glass called Windows. Al Matar began repurposing fragile, salvaged windows as surfaces for intricate and glistening Arabic calligraphy as one way to keep her first language close after seeking asylum in the United States. Gilded script framed by flowing geometric and floral patterns, reminiscent of those on fine textiles, is meant to inspire and strengthen those experiencing similar hardship.

Information about Waterloo Arts’ programs and visiting hours is posted online (waterlooarts.org), on Instagram (@waterlooarts), and on Facebook (@waterlooartscle).

15605 Waterloo Road
Cleveland, Ohio 44110


I Paint Houses, February 3–March 25. Opening reception 6-9pm Friday, February 3

Back in the Day, February 3–March 4

And it can give some joy, April 7–May 20. Opening reception 6-9pm Friday, April 7

Bingo, I’m the King Now, March 18–April 11

Windows, April 22–May 20

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