Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bill Radawec Retrospective @ Shaheen Modern and Contemporary in Cleveland

I've come across the late Cleveland artist, Bill Radawec's work a few times in Pittsburgh, most memorably as part of a four person show at FE Gallery where he showed his strange little boxes.

From The Cleveland Plain Dealer

A collection of small, wooden boxes mounted on the walls at oddly differing levels might escape notice entirely. But if you get close and peek inside, you’ll be treated to bizarre miniature tableaux, including one in which a woman strips naked at what appears to be an open-air tea party, while a construction worker stands nearby with a coil of cable in his hands and another fellow guzzles a bottle of wine.

The show is an eclectic mix of objects and images resembling the visual equivalents of Zen Buddhist koans, or riddles, that could produce effervescent moments of intellectual bliss if understood properly. Taken as a whole, the show is a fitting introduction, and tribute, to an artist known for having an odd, quirky and eccentric sensibility, liberally spiced with a well-developed sense of whimsy.

Seems like it was a very sad day for Cleveland when he died, since he played an active role in creating and running alternative art spaces in both LA and promoting artists in both LA and Cleveland.

The show at Shaheen, assembled and installed with the assistance of his widow and friends, is characteristically oddball, with works hung high or low on walls or stuck in corners, as if to require extra effort and to encourage the viewer to take nothing for granted.

The cumulative effect is that of a quiet sense of joy and delight. Radawec never swings for the fences in any individual work but seeks instead to prick the conscience and tickle the funny bone.

Bill Radewec: A Retrospective
November 12, 2011 - January 20, 2012

Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art
740 West Superior Avenue, Suite 101
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Phone: (216) 830-8888

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