Heights Arts steps into the surreal

Surreal Reverie (Composition 2), by Jordan McConnell, Alison Miltner Rich, and Jim Pojman.

As a nonprofit arts organization, Heights Arts has long helped facilitate programming across disciplines, from music to writing to visual arts. Now, visitors to the Heights Arts gallery can experience an exhibition that entwines the three into one, with Collaborage.

Open through Oct. 15, the show celebrates surrealism at its purest; it's a celebration of expression.

“It's a great time to explore surrealism,” said participating artist Lacy Talley. “Surrealism sought to overthrow the oppressive rules of modern society by demolishing its backbone of rational thought. I believe the art scene in Cleveland and across the world is in a renaissance. Living artists are receiving more appreciation for their works, and the avenues to explore artistry are endless, especially with the evolution of technology.”

A joint effort between Heights Arts and No Exit New Music Ensemble, Collaborage helps kick off No Exit’s "Year of Surreality," a year-long campaign to celebrate surrealism through concerts, poetry, art, and more.

The work in Collaborage—displayed concurrently with a colorful Spotlight show by artist Gregory Johnson—was created through the efforts of four randomly paired teams of visual artists.

Each team was given a copy of A Book of Surrealist Games to jumpstart its journey. Then, Heights Arts’ volunteer community teams, made up of dedicated arts professionals, provided the artists with 12 words or phrases and 12 pieces of local music, all to be used in their creation of original art.

“I enjoy taking disparate ideas and images and mixing them in surprising new ways. I find this way of working inspiring. Because of that, I was excited to participate in this project,” said artist Catherine Butler. “Never knowing what I was going to get from [my teammates] to continue was exciting and pushed me to work in images and materials that I don't normally.”

"I loved seeing how our different artistic backgrounds and practices meshed together! One of my favorite parts about the whole process was the switching of the artworks,” Talley said. “It amazed me how we built off of each other's works.”

Showcasing everything from sculpture to mixed media, Collaborage aims to open minds. At the close of the exhibition, each piece will be auctioned off—the perfect ending for a show about the slipperiness of reality.

Visitors can experience Collaborage at the Heights Arts Gallery, 2175 Lee Road. For more information, visit heightsarts.org.

Cameron Gorman

Cameron Gorman is the assistant director for Heights Arts. Contact her at cgorman@heightsarts.org

Read More on A & E News
Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 2:13 PM, 09.01.2023