by Madeleine Bailey
Wilderness, and the rendering of a clear sense of place, is strongly referenced in many of the collected works showcased in 'The Yield'. Manifested visually by references to trees, tree branches, foliage, and leafy fronds of all sorts, this show at Heaven Gallery brought together over 50 artists who all participated in the 2009 Harold Arts Residency Program. The work presented is the product of or was inspired by time at this program, which houses emerging and mid-career artists and musicians in Chesterhill, OH.
The show, as a massive collection of artists coming from a wide-range of disciplines, is somewhat eclectic and visually crowded. As part of a weeklong series of events called "The Harvest," the opening spilled over from Heaven Gallery into Johalla Projects across the street. Among the more memorable works was Karen Bovinich's "Limb," a floor-resting sculpture in which a ream of paper is implausibly held pinned to the wall by the thin figure of a rectangle of particleboard and a tree branch. Pleasing in its paired-down simplicity, the tension between natural material and manmade product was neatly distilled in this compact work.
Among other works that caught my eye was Alise Spinella's elegant abstract drawing composed of paper, graphite, and plastic on paper. Like Whitney, the creation of a quirky world with its own internal logic was represented in this rendering of a tree rising out of an earth of pink plastic and grey mesh, a cross section of landscape that drew together organic and artificial forms and texture. Outside, Colin Matthe's "Post Tent Sale" firmly held its own on a long brick wall on the roof. This wall drawing was juxtaposed against the backdrop of the blue line "L" passing frequently, its stark grey and black lines of geometry and scaffolding overtaken by a brightly colored rolling landscape of abstraction. Ultimately, I left "The Yield" feeling overwhelmed but satiated by the worlds with which I was presented.