Explore the physical history of place and the cultural history of time in two distinct solo exhibitions, Don Harvey: Invented Landscapes - A Ten Year Survey and Intimate Majesty: Metalworks by Heather White | PULSE, opening Friday, June 15th at the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art. These two engaging shows feature regional artists who have garnered national and international attention, and whose work contemplates the relationship of the individual in cultural and environmental contexts.
Today, urban planners and wildlife activists are compelled into dialogue as sprawl, farmland, and parks compete both for available open space and a hand in urban revitalization. One of the region’s most respected artists, Don Harvey creates and lives at the nexus of these issues. The retrospective, Don Harvey: Invented Landscapes—A Ten Year Survey, reflects this.
As an artist and an activist, Harvey bridges the local and the global with his attention to both the personal and the environmental, notes Executive Director Jill Snyder. His passion for his community equals his passion for his art. We proudly present one of Cleveland’s most respected artists with this exhibition.
Through a range of urban-themed pieces, Harvey explores a nature both devoid of and overrun by culture. His visceral work incorporates photographs, industrial materials, and text to produce a hybrid of photo-based sculpture. From streetlife and storefront evangelism to the industrial landscape of Cleveland and other American cities, nature and culture clash and combine in Harvey’s work.
An avid city dweller, Harvey’s view is hardly provincial. It is his own diaristic sense of drifting—what he calls derive—that informs his artistic process. According to Harvey, he began to take long, aimless walks, to intentionally lose myself in strange neighborhoods and to use these walks as the platform for observation. At its core, Harvey’s sense of place is personal; Invented Landscapes—A Ten Year Survey translates this personal experience into a global connection.
Likewise, it is the viewer’s personal experience with the work itself that drives featured artist Heather White, whose new body of work is collected in Intimate Majesty: Metalworks by Heather White | PULSE. I strive to include viewer interaction, notes White, so that the artworks may actually function and be evaluated in relations to one’s body.
From miniature brooches in glass cases to life-size crowns hanging from the walls, White’s work engages the viewer to find their own meaning and experience. Dubbed a postmodern metalsmith by Metalsmith magazine, White’s richly layered sculptural pieces fuse the ornamental and historic with the contemporary and symbolic.
Comments Curator Kristin Chambers: Heather’s work is at once charming, elegant, and rich with symbolism. This exhibition will engage viewers on so many levels—it promises to be spectacular. We proudly present her as this year’s PULSE artist. The Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art’s PULSE series presents a new body of work by a distinguished regional artist.
Although her objects reference history, her subjects are thoroughly modern. The form of a crown makes a frequent appearance in White’s work, conveying this shape’s notions of power and privilege while evoking questions of desire and utility. Newer works explore the feminine: in a series of cameos, silhouettes of women are stretched and twisted as they are set among semi-precious materials such as pearls and stones. White subverts the historic practice of metalsmithing by using non-traditional materials or non-metals.
I’m highly influenced by historical metal objects and adornment made for royal figures, non-secular rituals, and military forces, explains White. We no longer deem them necessary in this age of modern technology, yet they retain a universally understood significance.