Friday, December 12, 2014

All Good Things...

All Good Things…

By Tom Wachunas

“…We'll still be collaborating with artists to produce exhibits that are highly conceptual, immersive, and experiential, encouraging viewers to engage with art in new and exciting ways.” –Craig Joseph

    EXHIBIT: All Good Things, at Translations Art Gallery THROUGH DECEMBER 27, 331 Cleveland Avenue NW, downtown Canton. Gallery hours are Wed. – Sat. noon to 5 p.m.  

    I recently encountered (tolerated?) a woman who came to the Canton Museum of Art and gushed how much fun it was to browse the gift shop. I asked if she had seen the Brader exhibit yet, pointing toward the galleries. “Exhibit? Oh, no,” she smiled, peering into the jewelry display, “I just come here a few times a year to look at all this great hand-made stuff.” I’m not making this up. She didn’t purchase anything on this occasion, and said she’d continue “hunting around” downtown in “those cool art galleries.” Art galleries. Hmmm. Long live retail.
    The power of place. So OK, I suppose I’m a stuffy old purist who thinks  an art gallery is for…art. It’s certainly not that I’m uninterested in buying ornamental or decorative craftworks. But more to the point, I enjoy frequenting true art galleries in the more conventional sense - environments specifically designed to let viewers focus on, think about and otherwise really see the featured art, and only the art, without any competing clutter. I savor experiencing a place seriously and consistently dedicated to presenting work that isn’t too much like incidental wall adornments, or an addendum to artsy retail bric-a-brac, or an afterthought.
     As many of you may already know, Translations Gallery is vacating its Cleveland Avenue address to become what curator Craig Joseph calls a “mobile, pop-up entity.” Have art, will travel. You can go to the soon- to- be revamped Translations website at  and read a more complete background  statement about Joseph’s plans.
    The power of place. I have no reason to believe that future collaborations and site-specific projects under the Translations name won’t remain true to Craig Joseph’s compelling vision of presenting “…exhibits that are highly conceptual, immersive, and experiential…”  Still, this gallery morphing represents, in a way, a bittersweet changing of the downtown guard insofar as Translations has been a unique and dependable shibboleth of the optimal gallery experience. Canton’s oft-touted “arts district” was substantially enriched by its Cleveland Avenue presence – a presence I will greatly miss after the current show closes.
    It features 55 artists (myself included) and two writers – all participants in past Translations exhibits. I’ll not be offering comments on any specific works except to say that this is as strong and fine a group show as I’ve ever seen there. I’ve posted photos of just some of the pieces I found most striking.
    Meanwhile, back at the museum gift shop… I suggested to the woman that she include a visit to Translations. “What’s there?” she asked. “Lots of great hand-made stuff,” I said. Happy hunting.

    PHOTOS, from top: Marriage in Silverdale, woodcut print by Bill Bogdan; Awakening, painting by Emily Vigil; St. James Court, painting by Joe Martino; Gray Isn’t So Bad, painting by Marcy Axelband; Veil #1, painting by Jim Boden    

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