Mary Lou Ferbert – Sidewalks – Oct 11 to Nov 19, 2013

FerbertThe 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


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