Web Links Cleveland's Miller-Weitzel Gallery with Berkeley Artist Jan Wurm for a Seductive Show

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Mon, 03/28/2005 - 17:47.

Berkeley artist Jan Wurm was welcomed to Cleveland this past weekend by the Miller Weitzel Gallery with a one-woman show titled “Drawn In: The Seduction of Line.� Wurm initially met the owners of the Miller Weitzel Gallery Online, through a call for submissions. Her 15 mixed media drawings on canvas on view now until April 16th are raw and thought provoking commentaries on the human condition. Hung in two groups of four, and one group of five, they cover such timely -- and timeless -- subjects as war, feminism, and service and the cycle of life. Two smaller works, Samson & Delilah and the Organ Grinder and Monkey, are independent from the three groups. All are recent works on unstretched canvas, tacked to the gallery walls in a manner that conveys the intimacy and immediacy of the artist’s studio rather than the distance of a gallery.

Technique also deserves to be treated as subject in Wurm’s drawings. Her figures are drawn on gessoed canvas using Conté Crayon. Some areas are so built up and saturated with color that they appear painted. Much of the smooth white surface is left visible. Her figures stand boldly before their empty backgrounds, the texture of the canvas emerging through their flesh and clothing. Wurm’s figures are abstract, filled with emotion rather than flesh and bone. The sparkling white spaces they inhabit create an aura around a moment. Her interest in the transformative process is revealed in the tension of her figures that suggests we are witness to life-altering events in each drawing.

Jan Wurm is an accomplished and prolific artist working in multiple techniques: drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. She holds a B.A. from U.C.L.A. and an M.A.R.C.A. from London’s Royal College of Art. She studied with the abstract painter Richard Diebenkorn and the pop artist Peter Blake. She exhibits her work internationally and her works are held in important collections such as the Fine Arts Museum’s of San Francisco’s Achenbach Graphic Arts Collection at the Legion of Honor, the Oakland Museum, and the New York Public Library Print Collection. Wurm teaches art for the U.C. Berkeley Extension.

The compact freestanding brick building that the Miller Weitzel Gallery has occupied since December was previously a gallery and is an excellent space for exhibiting art. The high ceiling, smooth white walls and hard wood floors of the large rectangular central room are ideal for both contemporary painting and sculpture. The gallery is well lit; in fact it was a bit harsh on Wurm’s drawing from certain angles. The Miller Weitzel Gallery is new to the Cleveland Westside gallery scene. Located at 5304 Detroit Ave., in the heart of the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, it is another asset to this former industrial area earmarked to become Cleveland’s newest arts district. Some of the nearby complimentary businesses are No Place Like Om yoga studio, Happy Dog bar and concert club, Bela’s Restaurant, Charing Cross Books, and Cleveland Public Theatre.