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Ruth Bercaw: Bold Statements

January 24, 2020 @ 5:30 pm - March 14, 2020 @ 4:00 pm

  • Ruth Bercaw, It’s Going to be a Great Day, 2019, Mixed media, 28 x 50 inches

Campus-Wide Opening Reception: Friday, January 24, 5:30- 8:00pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, February 8th, 1-2pm. FREE, however, please REGISTER HERE or call 216.721.9020 to attend


The Artists Archives is pleased to launch its 2020 exhibition season with Ruth Bercaw: Bold Statements, a vibrant retrospective which highlights exciting new directions in the artist’s work. The show will feature over 20 originals and focus on the debut of large-scale, multi-media pieces, finished as recently as 2019.


Known for her geometric abstraction, Bercaw’s perfectly-balanced creations use a “limited selection of simple shapes and an unlimited selection of colors” to explore relationships between people, their past, and the natural world. The artist is perhaps most renowned for her 3-dimentional paintings: brightly-hued canvases, folded into pyramids or other angular shapes and mounted on the wall. These forms, though quite modern in appearance, were inspired by ancient petroglyphs she viewed while visiting England and Ireland. Enthralled by the shaped stones and elaborate geometric symbols, Bercaw describes her works as bringing the “the power of that imagery to the 21st century with colors both new and yet evocative of our past.”


Bercaw’s mixed media work continues this interest in relationships. Some of the earliest pieces in Bold Statements reflect the interplay of light with the rivers, bluffs and tangled brush of her native Missouri, ruminating on the “interdependence of just about everything and us.” Each creation is also a thoughtful exercise in experimentation. Bercaw often plans her composition with sketches or by meticulously repositioning scraps of colored paper. “In this process, I look for the unexpected while still holding out for combinations that have potential for beautiful development, contexts that exhibit uniqueness and strength, ones that excite and challenge the mind.”


Bold Statements includes recent, large canvases which are direct descendants of her 2015 Transported Garden series. This evolution, the result of decades of aesthetic exploration, has led to works of impressive sophistication and beauty which seamlessly integrate her 2 and 3 dimensional efforts. These pieces, and perhaps more still, the process of creating them, are also meant to evoke optimism and our ability to overcome adversity. “My paintings yet turn out to be experiments involving the human spirit.” Bercaw explains, “In the end, I judge my art to be a visual manifestation of our knowingly positive attitude, our very human ability to experience joy and recognize beauty in a variety of forms.”


Bold Statements will open with a free, campus-wide reception on Friday, January 24th, 5:30-8:00pm featuring simultaneous openings at The Sculpture Center and access to the David E. Davis Studio and Gallery. A free, accompanying artist talk will be held on Saturday, February 8th, 1-2pm. To attend the talk, please register HERE ON EVENTBRITE or call 216.721.9020.


About the Artist: Ruth Bercaw graduated with a BFA in 1959 from Washington University in St. Louis and later received her MFA from Kent State University. In 1990, she was the recipient of the Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship Grant. As an active Cleveland artist her contributions to the art community are considerable. She has exhibited extensively in Ohio, particularly Cleveland and Columbus, and is represented in numerous collections including the Ritz Carlton (Cleveland), the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (Spoleto, Italy), The Cleveland Clinic (Naples, Florida), among many others.


January 24, 2020 @ 5:30 pm
March 14, 2020 @ 4:00 pm
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Artists Archives of the Western Reserve
1834 E. 123rd St.
Cleveland, 44106-1910 United States
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