Heights Arts gets the 'Rust' out to start 2022

Unhinged, by Adrian DesJardins.

Heights Arts starts off 2022 a little bit rusty . . . 

Many current residents never saw the city of steel and industry that once drew people from all over the world to live and work in Greater Cleveland. Many of those facilities were already crumbling decades ago. The industrial era is unfamiliar to many, generations later. Instead, abandoned warehouses seem only lost ruins, housing mysterious corroded parts that may as well be artifacts from crashed UFOs. There’s a fascination with urban decay that lives in people from the industrial Midwest. It’s commonly characterized by an affinity for coarse textures and tarnished hues that hold decades of depth.

Heights Arts' first gallery exhibition of 2022 presents this legacy of struggle, perseverance, and resilience as parts of a whole, expressed as only Cleveland artists can. Running Jan. 14 though March 13, Rust features the work of eight artists: Matthew Albright, William Brouillard, Michael Costello, Adrian DesJardins, Linda Mayer, Doug Meyer, Pamela Pastoric, and Steven Yusko. 

Heights Arts exhibitions are conceived and curated by a team of volunteers. Exhibitions Community Team member Sharon Grossman took the lead on this one. She wrote, “This exhibition embodies an aesthetic of reuse and reclamation that celebrates the Rust Belt’s layers of character—the muscularity, the refinement, the resilience, the patina of age, and the energy of reinvention.“ 

The public opening will take place on Friday, Jan. 14, 5–8 p.m. On Thursday, Feb. 17, guests can experience the accompanying “Ekphrastacy: Artists Talk + Poets Respond” event, which brings together exhibition artists and invited community poets to discuss inspiration and interpretation of the works on view.  

On view concurrently, in the adjacent Spotlight Gallery, will be works by artist Jesse Rhinehart. A Cleveland Heights resident, Rhinehart has created public commissions for the Club Lounge at Progressive Field, as well as the former Special Exhibition Dining Room and Education Classroom at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Two murals by Rhinehart were commissioned by Heights Arts, in 2004 and 2008 respectively, and can be seen today at both ends of the landmark Cedar Fairmount Center building in Cleveland Heights. The murals were adapted from historical photos of the area.  

Rhinehart said of his work, “On one hand, my work is a simple homage to the elements of design and the deep-rooted beauty therein, but this is more of a tool to reach a deeper psychological content in my paintings. What that content is I have never been able to completely express to my satisfaction. I do know it is not just a sentimental ode to things old and decrepit (for that I have a mirror). Not all of my paintings have age or decay as subject matter but they still possess the same subliminal draw. I find kinship in the words of David Byrne, who once said that the purpose of art is to elevate the mundane to the sublime. I don't know if my paintings accomplish such lofty goals. Only you the viewer can be the judge.”

For more information on upcoming programs and events at Heights Arts, visit the gallery/store at 2175 Lee Road, or go to www.heightsarts.org


Tom Masaveg

Tom Masaveg is a local public artist specializing in augmented reality installation and graphite works on paper. He's also the programs manager at Heights Arts. Feel free to reach out via programs@heightsarts.org.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:34 AM, 01.03.2022