The Transformer Station Opens Its New Fall Shows

Fri 9/1 @ 7-9PM

The Cleveland Museum of Art takes over the Transformer Station for its fall shows, with solo shows by northeast Ohio artists Scott Olson and Jerry Birchfield, and a collaboration between Liz Roberts and Henry Ross called Death Knell.

Olson’s abstract paintings draw on a range of materials and techniques, emphasizing gesture to bring out the qualities inherent in the paint.

“I’ve made some forms by gravity, dropping paint or flowing paint as I’ve worked on a flat surface,” he says in his artist statement. “It’s organic or natural, a play between that and something more controlled or synthetic. I don’t think about it so much. It becomes an intuitive thing, a means to an end for achieving something else that may even undermine the formal aspects — the forms, figures, shapes.”

Birchfield uses complex photographic and sculptural processes to explore how images evolve, undermining or emphasizing the original source.

“Debris, leftovers, the aftermath of other efforts, materials only partially identifiable — like the scene after an accident or disaster, only too clean for that, too controlled,” he says. “And not the kind of unidentifiable that happens in real life after the car crash or flood, not the kind with real loved ones and family. This is the kind that happens on a primetime drama — the kind where nothing graphic is ever shown or seen, nothing vulgar, and if it is, it is theatrical enough that we know it isn’t real, it couldn’t be, not like this. It is too clean because it is contained. We can see its edges, we can see where it ends.”

Roberts and Ross say their work represents the death knell of American industrialism.

Death Knell frames the codependency of process and product by showing a vehicle’s remains with documentation of its dismantling recorded on hundreds of contact microphones. Destruction encompasses the reversal of thousands of years of progress; it can be methodical, meditative, or aggressive. Cars are explicitly bound to their relationship with organized labor. The vehicle’s make and model are inconsequential because all are complicit in decline through use — a car’s significance is contained in the reversal of its creation rather than in the car itself.”

The shows open Fri 9/1 with a free public reception @ 7-9pm. Members reception runs from 5-7pm. The shows will be on view through Sun 12/10.


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