Issue Date: December 2013
Bonfoey Gallery celebrates more than a century of showcasing local artists’ work.
One hundred twenty years ago, Bonfoey Gallery opened in downtown Cleveland as one of the nation’s premier framing galleries, attracting clients such as John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford. Cleveland artists, looking to have their own works framed, sauntered into the space, resulting in Bonfoey’s second life as a burgeoning exhibit hall. From Dec. 6 to Jan. 4, the Euclid Avenue gallery will host 120 Years of Art in Cleveland, an exhibit highlighting many of the local artists it has represented, such as Clara Deike and Frank Oriti. Shown together, the works reveal the history of Cleveland in pictorial form. “We’ve always been a proponent of Cleveland,” says gallery owner and president Richard Moore. “We’re excited to celebrate both our histories.” Here are six must-see pieces.
Around the Bend — Cuyahoga River
A prodigious painter of 1920s industrial landscapes, Carl Graetner would take his easel, canvas and oil paints, and walk around the steel mills, the Flats and the Cuyahoga River looking for scenes that struck him. Around the Bend — Cuyahoga River is one of his most famous works. “The painting is characteristic of the Cuyahoga River,” says Moore. “He was able to capture that moment and scene better than anyone ever did before.”
Still Life with Masks
Clara Deike painted during a time when women weren’t accepted as artists. “She was a real pioneer,” says Moore. She took a playful cubist style, experimenting with colors and geometrics, without regard for critics’ comments. “That was her forte,” he says. “She was able to amalgamate colors and lines together in a way that pleased her own eye.”
Many of Viktor Schreckengost’s paintings reflect his precise, mathematical training, gleaned from his time as an industrial designer. He is known for his detailed city views, but Schreckengost also dabbled in more animated subjects, such as Potted Cacti, a painting from a series of still lifes he created while visiting Mexico. “Viktor was one of Cleveland’s best artists of the last 100 years as far as divergence of subject matter goes,” says Moore.
Untitled silk-screen print
Although Seven Hills resident Julian Stanczak is known as one of the founders of the op art movement, a style characterized by bright, 3-D geometric patterns, his work was largely ignored until 10 years ago. “For 30 years he went along, and there was nothing spectacular as to his notoriety,” Moore says. “And then all of a sudden, for some reason I can’t explain, he just took off. … I’m happy for him.”
A veteran of the steel mills, Frank Oriti paints gritty portraits of blue-collar friends and relatives. With precision and detail, he superimposes their faces on whitewashed ghost images of the old, worn houses they grew up in. “If you look at their faces, you can see the history of Cleveland,” says Moore.
A veteran of the steel mills, Frank Oriti paints gritty portraits of blue-collar friends and relatives. With precision and detail, he superimposes their faces on whitewashed ghost images of the old, worn Laurence Channing’s charcoal drawings are marked by striking details of bridges, interstate highways and abandoned industrial areas from the working-class neighborhoods where he grew up. While beautiful, the scenes have a bit of sadness to them, Moore says. “You can really see the ramification and impact of the industrial age,” he says.houses they grew up in. “If you look at their faces, you can see the history of Cleveland,” says Moore.
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The Bonfoey Gallery is pleased to present new paintings by acclaimed watercolorist Mary Lou Ferbert in an exhibition titled Sidewalks. This stunning exhibition will be on view in our street level gallery from October 11 through November 19, 2013. An opening reception with the artist will be held at the gallery Friday, October 11, from 5-8 pm. An artist talk will be held on Saturday, October 19, at 10 am.
Mary Lou Ferbert was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Over the past eight decades she has traversed the Rust Belt City’s ubiquitous sidewalks and used the imagery found there to inform her art. Ferbert is widely known by her past oeuvre: meticulously rendered watercolors of the mechanic components of urban infrastructure, manhole covers or chain link fence, rusted and corroded by time and Cleveland’s harsh winters. The man-made objects, commonly found at the side of the road and overlooked by passersby, appear all the more decayed, partially overgrown with stalks of native wildflower and thistle that shimmer with light and life. As with these previous paintings, in her newest work, Sidewalk Series, Mary Lou draws our attention to parts of our cityscape that are ignored and often neglected, underfoot and out of mind, but in plain sight to the sensitive observer, walking silently, alone in thought, head low and staring down at ones toes.
Sidewalks, an exhibition of Mary Lou Ferbert’s newest paintings, focuses on the remains of an infrastructure about to be extinct. At one time, most of the sidewalks in and around our boroughs were slabs of sandstone. These smooth, cool stones – a favorite of children armed with sidewalk chalk and champion puddle splashers alike – hold a fond place in our memory. As the stones were damaged and broken over time they were removed, replaced by the current concrete slabs that line the streets of newer developments today. Unlike concrete, the sandstone sidewalks of yesterday were infused with a subtle, organically formed, color and texture, created from a slow build-up of sediment along the edges of shallow salt water seas found in this area over 300 million years ago. Occurring from water and resembling, if it was possible, a fossilized liquid, it’s no wonder a watercolorist has found importance in this subject. Over the course of seasonal change Mary Lou Ferbert captured the effects of Cleveland’s abundant precipitation on these surfaces as well. From leaves blown down off the trees, or “halos” of those leaves created by rain, Ferbert makes a time capsule with this body of work. These paintings celebrate not only the dynamics of geologic and meteorological change in our area but the cycle of life and renewal in urban infrastructure. Ferbert continues to draw our attention to the subtler magnificence of our city with her extraordinary capacity to appreciate and interpret the beauty of the ordinary.
Mary Lou Ferbert earned a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Duke University. Years later, she attended the Cleveland Institute Art where she went on to teach. Ferbert honed her skills, specializing in transparent watercolor, and in 1978 she began painting professionally. Since then, Ferbert has had 6 solo exhibitions at Bonfoey Gallery as well as solo exhibitions in galleries in New York and Tennessee. In 1993 she had a solo museum exhibition at The Butler Institute of Art. She has participated in many group exhibitions in museums across the country such as the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, The Columbus Museum of Art, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Springfield Art Museum, Palm Springs Desert Museum, Tweed Museum of Art, and the El Paso Museum of Art. Mary Lou Ferbert exhibited in the Cleveland May show 9 times during her expansive career. Gallery group shows were many, locally and internationally, as she boasts exhibiting in cities such as Barcelona, Athens, Tokyo and New York. Ferbert was awarded an Honorable Mention at the 55th Annual Butler National Midyear Show, a Special Mention for Painting at the 69th Annual Cleveland Museum of Art May Show and the Bronze Medal of Honor at the American Watercolor Society 120th Annual International Exhibition. Her work can be found in numerous public and corporate collections such as The Butler Institute of Art, The El Paso Museum of Art, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Zimmerli Art Museum, American Numismatic Society, Baker & Hostetler, The Cleveland Browns, The Federal Reserve Bank, and many others.
For more information about the MARY LOU FERBERT – SIDEWALKS, or upcoming exhibitions, please contact The Bonfoey Gallery, 216.621.0178, or visit the company web site at www.bonfoey.com
The Bonfoey Gallery would like to honor the life of one of Northeast Ohio’s finest painters, Joseph O’Sickey. His exhibition, Travels: Provence and Maine, will be on view in our street and lower level galleries through labor day, September 2, 2013. We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his beloved family, friends, and supporters. He will be dearly missed.
More information can be found here.
The Bonfoey Gallery, the exclusive representative of the work of Joseph O’Sickey, is pleased to present an exhibition of his work, Travels: Provence & Maine. The exhibition will be on view in our street level gallery from June 14 through July 13, 2013. An opening reception with the artist will be held at the gallery Friday, June 14, from 5-8 pm. This exhibition will run concurrently with a retrospective of O’Sickey’s work at the Canton Museum of Art from May 2 – July 21, 2013.
Travels: Provence & Maine, focuses on a select group of oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings made by Joseph O’Sickey in those unique areas. O’Sickey and his wife Algesa vacationed many summers at their second home in Deer Isle, Maine, from 1962 to 1992. Maine’s majestic ocean coastline provided a host of new material for an artist who enjoyed painting outdoors. As part of a program between the Cleveland Institute of Art & Sarah Lawrence College, O’Sickey was artist in residence in Lacoste, France in 1981. Provence is located on the Mediterranean Sea and is known for its unique quality of light, partially due to the air clearing Mistral winds. Thus, this Southern region of France has long been a destination for painters. Cezanne, Van Gogh, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, Bonnard, Braque, and Monet, to name just a few, once called the region home. This exhibition, comprised of interior still-lifes with bouquets, shoreline scenes, country sides, and bird studies, allows the viewer a private glance into a painter’s daily life in two dramatic coastal regions.
Joseph O’Sickey’s interest in painting began in his childhood, sketching the barnyard animals and wildlife on his grandmother’s farm. His early training began in classes at the Cleveland Museum of Art where he developed a love for oil paint. He continued his studies at the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1937 to 1940, and went on to teach painting at Ohio State University, the Akron Art Institute, and lastly, at Kent State University, where he remained for thirty years. O’Sickey’s works have been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Butler Institute of American Art, and the Akron Art Museum, among others.
For more information about the JOSEPH O’SICKEY – TRAVELS: PROVENCE & MAINE, or upcoming exhibitions, please contact The Bonfoey Gallery, 216.621.0178, or visit the company website at http://www.bonfoey.com
Joseph O’Sickey was officially presented with the Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts this week, and we couldn’t be happier for him! His work is currently on view at the Canton Museum of Art through July 21, 2013. The Bonfoey Gallery will be presenting an exhibit Joe’s work: Travels: Provence & Maine on view June 14 through July 13, 2013. An opening reception with the artist will be held Friday, June 14, from 5-8pm.
Check out this lovely article published in the Akron Beacon Journal, last Sunday, May 12, 2013.