Black Artists from Cleveland and Beyond, at Framed Gallery

In the heart of the Waterloo Arts District, fashionista Stacey Bartels–owner of Framed Art Gallery–offers an impressive array of wooden and clay sculptures, oil on canvas paintings, photo-realistic nudes, and more from internationally and locally acclaimed Black artists that elevate and celebrate Black beauty.

Presently on display, Cleveland native piercer, muralist, and other mixed media abstract artist Honey Pierre’s central tenet revolves around naturalistic posing and the everyday activities of the African American family. Many of her sofa-sized, mixed-media fiber and canvas works use rich blue skin tones making the work relatable and appealing to the universal collector. In these works, I found a personal narrative. Pierre engages treasured family moments as snapshots of a moment in time, reminiscent of many of our own.

Honey Pierre, Sea of Changes, 48 X 56 inches, Yarn, paper, and fabric

Raised in France, fiber artist Beatrice LeBreton identifies patterns as a “different type of writing” and paints in a series often focusing on women of color. In her recent series, Tree of Life, she uses varying shades of colors and mixed media to depict the skin tones choosing to focus on the subject’s face and upper torso in these works.  Lebreton captures women in a way that reflects the essence of their spirit. Mostly nude expressionism, pure and void of salaciousness, provides us with an exuberant experience when engaging a piece such as “Life In” which feels like a celebration of just that, in all the pieces in this series I find a type of vibrancy, youth and dreamlike sweet relief amongst the geometric patterns derived from the many cloths worn across Africa.

Beatrice Lebreton, The Stargazer Solice in the Stillness, 57 X 71 inches, Mixed media

Ontario, Canada-born teacher by day and photorealist pencil artist by night, Michael C. Gibson’s linework is sublime in his new works as petitioned by Bartels to focus on the modern African American woman. This exhibition, all done in pencil, is a stunning example of technical mastery. His colored works are even more stunning as the photo-realism must be seen in person to understand how remarkable the work is. If I had my way, I would commission Gibson to create a piece exclusively for me, he tenderly accents every curve of the female form and unapologetically celebrates the subject, the works do not feel posed but natural. but she is lucky enough to sit for his musing would surely melt and see herself unlike anyone else can.

Michael Gibson, Symbols of a Black Man, 17.25 X 27 inches, Pencil on Paper

Sculptor and author, Chukes focuses on well-defined bone structure, ethnic hair, and dazzling color in his busts and illustrated book, “Identity Theft.” His ceramic and clay creations are reflective of over 40 years of knowledge and discipline leading to these masterfully crafted collections. From highly defined cheekbones, and a lovely arch of the neck, to the regal nose and the lush textured coiffures, Chukes undeniably invites the viewer’s gaze. All his works are conversation starters, for me, Neptune is reminiscent of who we once were and who we want to become.

Chukes, Neptune, 21 X 7 X 11 inches, Ceramic

Cleveland native David Buttram uses fluid brush stokes to highlight street scenes and urban landscapes as the backdrop, while capturing the magnificence of the African American experience. His canvases are an array of casual everyday scenes in Cleveland. From a bustling city life, peace governs our too’s and fro’s to our babies simply enjoying a summer’s day, childhood as it should be. What a wonderful way to capture nostalgic Cleveland. Buttram does well to paint on planes, his creations draw us in to behold every detail within the frame.

David Buttram, Park Bench, 24 X 36 inches, Oil on Canvas

In her gallery, Bartel lovingly displays these works and many more, she wants buyers to know that the works featured here not only support our communities but also sustain artists and our narratives, to understand that these acquisitions are an investment, as she states, “The second largest investment one can make outside of real estate”. She wants to bridge us to high-end art that is accessible offering layaway payment plan options for buyers. These works are sure to add value to your collections within your home or office whether you are new to buying art or a seasoned collector.

The works cover a wide range of pricing from $500 to over $20,000.

Interested parties can visit her amazing online gallery which allows the viewer to see the works in any room.

Framed is set to feature new works from Marnetta Johnson, Honey Pierre, and Michael C. Gibson and more for Summer 2024.

The opinions expressed on CAN Blog are those of the individual writers. Art is somewhat subjective. Well, somewhat. But yes, everybody's a critic.