PHOTOSTREAM: Lissa Rivera/Laura Bidwell Opening at Cleveland Print Room by Anastasia Pantsios

Fri 9/8

A who’s who of area artists and art lovers turned out for the opening of a pair of shows by northeast Ohio’s Laura Bidwell and NY’s Lissa Rivera at the Cleveland Print Room. Each artist used images in a different way to evoke a narrative that was mysterious but intriguing, allowing the view to provide some of the backstory.

Bidwell’s show Gratiot in particular required a user’s leap of imagination to link seemingly unconnected sets of photos into a coherent narrative that may or may not exist. How does the young couple relate to the tangles of foliage and portraits of dead animals, or the age-scuffed album filled with red snapshots surrounded by old picture postcards of places with “Gratiot” in their name, hotels and resorts probably long gone? Spend some time absorbing them images and speculating.

Rivera’s detailed portraits of her genderqueer domestic partner suggested advertising or fashion photography from another era, elegantly composed and beautifully lit to bring out sumptuous textures of clothes, furniture and curtains. But each has a strangeness about it that told the viewer the perfect, glossy world depicted isn’t quite what it seems, as the subject adopts a series of poses and costumes that indicate different aspects of femininity, seeming to both model them proudly and undermine them at the same time.

If you weren’t mingling at the opening, never fear. The show remains on view through Sat 11/4 so you can still catch it — and you should.

View the PHOTOSTREAM here.

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