**Note: This show has been extended until Saturday, January 21.**

A rainy winter day seemed perfect for stopping in to Bonfoey Gallery to see work by Laurence Channing.  These moody, hyperrealistic, mostly black and white drawings of Cleveland’s urban landscape present city streets, structures, and bridges as tranquil environments devoid of people or traffic.  Channing’s choice medium is charcoal and he wields it in combination with a variety of handmade tools with incredibly precise application.  The result gives the viewer plenty to do: lean in close and marvel at the way the tiniest of strokes have transformed pockets of the piece into mini-abstractions of the subject; step back and watch the elements swirl together into a practically photo-real vision.

Laurence Channing, Luzerne–In Memory of John Beck, 2016, charcoal on paper, 10″ x 34″

Channing’s scenes are paired with additional views of Cleveland by Columbus-based artist, Christopher Burk.  Working in both watercolor and oil paint, Burk renders utility poles and electrical wires across bright blue skies while rooftops and chimneys peek up from the bottom of his compositions.  Like Channing, Burk’s paintings seek to show us the magic of the mundane.  Things that we pass by every day and pay no notice are for Burk the stars of the show.  Telephone poles create amazing webs of wire, the pattern of a building’s brick façade beautifully catches the light, and a row of roof peaks suddenly has rhythm.  With the exception of a few large pieces by Channing, most of the works in the show are small.  The format suits both artists’ quiet, precise approach to the landscape.

Christopher Burk, Connected–Cleveland–Ohio City, 2016, oil on panel, 12″ x 12″

Less typical of Channing’s work is a street scene depicting a swarm of pedestrians seen up close, filling the composition.  Even in this scene of downtown “hustle and bustle” our eyes are drawn to a lone still figure in the middle of the drawing, lost in thought.  Another standout piece is his Portrait of the Artist as a Large Tree.  Digesting the detail with which Channing has rendered the tree bark surface is an adventure for your eyes.  I found both of these works delightfully meditative, and fun to spend a few extra moments viewing.

Laurence Channing, Portrait of the Artist as a Large Tree, 2016, charcoal on paper, 26″ x 33″

There is still time left to see Surface.  The exhibition of works by Laurence Channing and Christopher Burk runs until Saturday, January 21 at the Bonfoey Gallery.  The gallery is located in the Theater District of downtown Cleveland at 1710 Euclid Avenue and hours are Monday – Thursday from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm, Fridays from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, and Saturdays during the winter from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.

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