I Scarce Can Take It: Works by Martha Cliffel, Gadi Zamir, Misty Lindsey & Reverend Albert Wagner

“I scarce can take it” is a lyric drawn from the gospel song “How Great Thou Art,” a Christian hymn based on a Swedish traditional melody. The line was later appropriated into a poem by the well-known nineteenth-century Swedish poet, Carl Boberg. In Boberg’s poem, the line expresses the spiritual force that the reader/listener experiences from a story of inspiration and hope told by an ordinary man seeking solace and inspired by church bells ringing during a wild thunderstorm.

The works of Martha Cliffel, Gadi Zamir, Misty Lindsey and Reverend Albert Wagner possess a rawness and tactility that in each case conveys its own positive spiritual force. As self-taught artists, their work escapes the imprint of formal pedagogy or tradition. Instead, it conveys inspiration and an invigorating beauty, expressed through the lens of their personal and sometimes rebellious views of faith and mysticism. Utilizing cast-out, recycled and reclaimed materials, each weaves romantic narratives of everyday faith and foibles.

Martha Cliffel re-imagines her Catholic upbringing through both irreverent revolt and a progressive look forward. Cliffel “saves” and creates shrines, assembling them from debris discarded from flea markets, bodegas and thrift stores. She praises, preaches, prods, pokes and throws punches as she considers her complex relationship with Catholic life.

Gadi Zamir is an Israeli-born Cleveland-based artist, community activist, and founder of Negative Space Gallery. Zamir scavenges wood and then overlays its knots and grain structure with his own iconography, rendered through carving, marking with a blowtorch and applying fabric dyes. Zamir received a Community Partnership for Arts and Culture Creative Workforce Fellowship in 2013.

Misty Lindsey

Misty Lindsey is a Chattanooga-based artist who has been represented at the Outsider Art Fair in NYC and has exhibited her work nationally. Her work is filled with expressive characters that comment on universal hopes and dreams, fears and worries. Her text-based work is confessional and represents the voice of the last, the lost and those that have the least.

Reverend Albert Wagner was born in 1924 in Bassett, Arkansas. Wagner went to work in the cotton fields as a water carrier for the pickers when he was ten years old. In 1941 at the age of seventeen, he moved with his family to Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked as a dishwasher before starting his own furniture moving company. Albert created over 3,000 paintings and sculptures for 32 years, until his death on September 1, 2006, at age 82.



Meet at Yards for trip to Martha and Kristen Cliffel Studios and the Screw Factory

YARDS Project Space

725 Johnson Court

Cleveland, Ohio 44113