Bio: Lynnea Holland-Weiss
Lynnea Holland-Weiss (b. 1990) is a painter focused on the human subject and navigating a vibrantly poignant color palette. Coming from a background in dance, her interest in body language and charting people’s movement through space and time is deeply rooted within her. She is interested in what we are both overtly and subtly communicating with our bodies and what muscle memory says about the human experience as a whole. While primarily being a painter, occasionally her practice also takes the form of printmaking, animation, video, murals and other public projects. All of her work remains open for interpretation and relies on the viewers to bring their own history into the pieces to relate and/or create narratives. Her work has been recognized through sources such as New American Paintings, Juxtapoz, Art Maze, Create, The Art Blog and others. She has done public mural projects and residencies nationally and internationally. Exhibitions of her work have been on view in cities throughout the US, such as San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Cleveland and others. She received her BFA from California College of the Arts in 2013. She is originally from Berkeley/Oakland, California and currently lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio.
Inspiration: The New Testament by Jericho Brown
In his book, The New Testament, Jericho Brown’s poems address the darkness and the light within the same breath. I was drawn to his writing for this reason, because similar to the work I make, it is only true that love and beauty come hand and hand with that which is often also full of sorrow and pain. His lyrical clarity is gut wrenching and immensely physical. This physicality relates to my paintings as well, which are greatly informed by my background in dance. I find myself hyper-aware of body language and it shapes how I approach my figurative compositions. The way our limbs fold or where we hold weight is our muscle memory telling our history. The scenes I depict are often moments removed from their initial narrative to focus more closely on the body language and specifically highlight the emotional exchange. My focus is usually on relationships and interactions between figures. The paintings are expressions of fundamental human experiences, such as love and grief, embrace and longing, as well as the elusive or intangible in relation to the corporeal experience. Jericho Brown’s writing dives head first into these themes as well and tenderly illuminates and examines race and redemption.
“Lovers hustle, slide, and dip as if none of them has a brother in prison.”
– Jericho Brown, The New Testament, page 47
The quote above is from a poem entitled Hustle, and is the leading inspiration for the mural. I will depict a scene of people dancing and embracing one another under a dark moonlit and star filled night sky. This quote exemplifies how every statement is full of love and life, yet also has an undertone with the reality and pain of life in the same breath. I am interested in this dichotomy. This is something we all can relate to and the viewer will feel this within the emotion of the figures I paint. I also aim to highlight it through my choice of colors. Blue and red will be the dominant colors for this mural, referencing this hot and cold, love and fear, yin and yang type of relationship. The Photoshop mock-up gives an overall sense of the layout of the image, the general colors and mood. However I do want to note that the mock-up will not be used as an exact replica, for the way that I will render the figures will be how my paintings are (painterly and fully rendered, i.e. not as flat and graphic as the Photoshop illustration looks). This is important for me to bring up just because I work in a very layered, painterly and process oriented way.
Throughout The New Testament, Jericho references night air, the sky and the moon, therefore it felt only natural to depict a scene that took place at night. Here are two quotes that set the tone and meaning behind this choice for me:
“The air, the only black thing
Who cares what color I was?”
“How many times can a woman say why
With her hands in the moonlight?
Ten like light breaking hard on my head,
Ten rhetorical whys and half a moon. Half-
Nude, I let her light into me.”
On the two far sides of the mural, both on the left and right, is a figure pulling up their shirt to show the blood coursing through their body, as a direct gesture to remind viewers that they are human, that they are alive and that we all are made of the same insides. This part of the mural was inspired by these two quotes from a poem entitled Langston’s Blues:
“If only they knew what blood
We have in common.”
“With fathers of our own to miss?
I remember mine and taste a stain
Like blood coursing the body” (page 21)
Additionally, here are a few more quotes from different poems in The New Testament that I pulled out in relation to the feeling of figures I will paint and their embraces:
“Your healing is not in my hands, though I touch as if to make you whole.”
“Hands in surrender disguised as praise.”
“Who miss them still. Blues
For my people and what water
They know. O weary drinkers”
“Him. Touching. This body. Aware of its pains.”
Bio: Kristin Texeira
I paint to provide proof—for myself and others—of existing in certain moments in time. I paint to capture, document, and preserve memories. I translate the essence of moments through color by mixing up the poetics of people and places. I retell stories through various methods of mark-making using paint, collage, sketching and writing. This process preserves memories as tangible “maps.” I often juxtapose these memory maps with short captions that form the foundation for the colors I mix.
I paint to remember. Through subtle shifts in colors or ranges of contrasting colors, I attempt to create something familiar, and—at the same time—something entirely elusive and intangible, like a forgotten word on the tip of one’s tongue. My colors blend and bounce off of each other. They tell of a person or place’s ambiguous history. This vagueness is complemented by specifics in my writing, which—while focusing on a moment’s singular identity and tender details—leaves much to the viewers’ interpretation.
Color is what I see when I hear music, taste wine, or read the titles of short stories. It is how I decipher new places when traveling, and the people I meet along the way. Through color I am trying to remedy nostalgia; my paintings are the vessels that ferry viewers back in time, so they can encounter a moment again and again.
Inspiration: The Color of Water by James McBride
Along the journey to understand his mother’s past, James McBride comes to an epiphany: “the greatest gift that anyone can give anyone else is life”. I hold onto a similar idea, that acknowledging another human being’s existence is one of the greatest things we can do for each other. In paying homage to his mother, McBride provides proof of [not sure if this is the right phrase, it feels a little clunky to me; you acknowledge someone’s existence, you don’t tend to prove it] her existence and ultimately proof of his own. I paint in order to provide proof, for myself and others; to mark points in time and to hold onto the essence of memories.
Mr. McBride’s detailed accounts of relationships awaken memories of my own. While these interactions are personal to draw on his experience, the overall theme of the importance of family, faith, and education transcends. The paintings I have created inspired by his novel, The Color of Water, are meant to shine another light on their story and reiterate the strength of family love.
I begin with the symbol of an hour glass to mark the transitions that both James McBride and his mother Ruth move through. The first composition tells of Ruth’s story. At the top center, the dark navy and green reference her childhood in the rural Virginia and her abusive father as well as the segregation she faced as a Jewish girl in the south. At the point of this triangle there is a transition to warmer colors acknowledging some kinder relationships from her youth. The bottom half of the “hour glass” depicts her rebirth as a Christian and her new life in New York City with peach and grey colors. At the top point of her “future triangle” there still remains some darkness from her past but the warmer colors grow as her family grows. The saturated gold represents her faith on which her new life rests. On either side of the center point, there are light green and blue colors that do not fit into the box of her Jewish background nor into the black community that she finds in the city. These colors display that while Ruth’s identity is made up of both her past and future histories she also exists outside of these communities as a unique individual.
To the left of Ruth’s hourglass, there is blue representing faith and, to the right, gold representing education. These colors become more saturated with the passing of time (from top to bottom) and the weight of them marks their significance in raising her family. This same blue and gold also surround Mr. McBride’s story. The colors that represent his mother’s story run through the first half of McBride’s hourglass, in a wavy, disordered way to show that he has not yet made sense of his mother’s past and therefore is not at peace with his own identity. The transition of his story moves on to the gold that signifies the his mother’s strength, her lessons of family love and faith.
The grey and navy columns on either side of McBride’s composition are the same colors that frame his mother’s story. This is to acknowledge that both histories exist within the conflict of prejudices, but the power of family love, that is the lesson of this novel, is at the center and radiates outward.
The relationship between James McBride and his mother balance on each other out. McBride exists because his mother gave him life and her story lives on because of his words. In addition to the hour glass reference, the “X” motif represents the intertwined relationship of McBride and his mother. It depicts an entity held up by another from a single point illustrating the way his mother supported the family and later the way her children supported her. It can also signify a crossroads. Overall, the colors are contrasting but balanced – telling of the different races, faiths, personalities and settings that make up the story.
The middle section of the mural resembles waves referencing movement and water. Water is an important symbol in both the Christian and Jewish faiths that make up Ruth’s and James’ identity. In both faiths water is used in baptism – noting the theme of rebirth in the story. For Jewish as well as black communities water brings to mind the Exodus story, in which Moses parts the sea for the Israelites to escape persecution. This composition acknowledges the exile Ruth faced when her family turned their backs on her. Water is a symbol of both movement through life and rebirth. The grey and navy that represent oppression in the first part of the mural appear again as obstacles interrupting the flow of water. The blue and gold colors, which represent education and faith, run through the center of the “river” pushing past the symbols of hardships. This acknowledges the social injustices and racial conflicts both James and Ruth face throughout their lives. The composition also brings to mind a bar of music – significant to movement forward [not entirely clear] in McBride’s life.
The significance of the title The Color of Water comes from a conversation between James and his mother when he is grappling with racial identities and asks his mother what color God is; – she replies that “God is the color of water”. The “wave” in the center of this mural is made up of many colors to shine a light on this moment.
I ended the piece with a circle to represent the eternal. It references the sun, something holy, infinite. The circle just touches the edges of the frame to create an energy that embraces, a hum of light that appears about to burst. It depicts yellow warmth coming out of grey. The warmth would not be as strong if it wasn’t next to greyness - an attempt to illustrate the hardships that both Ruth and James moved through.
Overall, this is a color story highlighting the importance of human interaction. Being able to retell Mr. McBride’s story with color is a way to give thanks for his example of family love – honoring his family, honoring my family and all families.
Bio: Agnes Studio
In 2009, after 10 years of varied experience in graphic design, we decided to go out on our own and open Agnes Studio. So who is Agnes anyway? As luck would have it, Danielle and Lizzy’s mothers share the same name. When the studio needed its own, we named it after them.
Before starting Agnes Studio, Danielle Rini Uva served as Senior Designer at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland and Art Director for the web publication Hotel Bruce. She received a BFA in Graphic Design from Ohio University and also worked as a graphic designer at firms in Chicago and Cleveland. Danielle has taught Graphic Design at the Cleveland Institute of Art and Cleveland State University, and has received design awards from AIGA, the American Museum Association, and Ohio University. She has served as the Graphic Design Visiting Critic at Ohio University, as a juror for CIA’s Student Independent Exhibition, and as a presenter to preschoolers, junior high classes, and college students alike. She enjoys reading, cooking, and impromptu dance parties—at the same time.
Katie Parland is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art. After receiving her BFA in Communication Design, she worked at Agnes Studio until 2013, when she became Lead Designer at Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, NC. Katie moved back to Cleveland in 2016 and rejoined Agnes. She was selected as one of Graphic Design USA’s Students to Watch in 2010. Her work has been highlighted by FastCo Design, Vogue, and Cool Hunting. She has won AIGA awards in the Student and Professional Design categories, and has participated in design conferences in the Southeast and Midwest US. Katie likes to run with her dog Stevie Nicks and makes a pretty good cup of coffee.
After years in Cleveland, founding partner Lizzy Lee returned to the east coast. We visit her during our annual studio retreats by the ocean.
Inspiration: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
In creating the mural “The Space Between You and It Melt,” Agnes Studio was inspired by both the architecture of the site and Jesmyn Ward's award-winning novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing. The novel’s narrative weaves between present and past, life and death, and comfort and pain. The two bridge pillars underneath the Red Line train underscore these parallels and divisions, always in conversation, but never touching. Franklin Avenue is the space between the pillars, while the arches hold secrets. The river bolsters one side, while the other slides down a hill.
We loved this challenging site for both the location and the structure itself. This abstract mural was influenced by Josef Albers’s color studies, as well as architectural typography. Our hope is that people will experience and discover it in many ways—driving or biking by, or walking through, coming from across the river or sitting on the back patio at Hoopples.
Agnes Studio is Danielle Rini Uva and Katie Parland. The mural was completed with assistance from Sam Cahill, Amber Esner, and Kim Tran.
Da’Shaunae Marisa Jackson
Da’Shaunae Jackson is a photographer who resides in Cleveland, OH. She currently studies photography at Cuyahoga Community College. She was a finalist of the Photographer’s Forum 38th Annual College & High School Photography Contest. Her work was published in Breakwall Literary Journal and has been shown in group exhibitions at the Cleveland Print Room. She published her first monograph Waiting to Arrivein 2017. The book takes the viewer along her journey on Cleveland’s Regional Transit Authority and gives a very personal perspective on riding the RTA. She currently teaches youth at the Cleveland Print Room.
Inspiration: The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes
I have been inspired to create a series of photographs that express how African American culture have been connected to bodies of water throughout time. The rivers of this earth have seen joy and sorrow from the human experience. Whether that may be through traditional dance, ceremonial baptism, the bathing of self or washing of clothes and food etc. “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes has helped me realize how diverse the human experience is and the rivers that he speaks of stands as a memory bank that hold our history. This series is a play on those many experiences in the memory of those rivers. This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.
Bio: Anna Tararova
Anna Tararova is a Russian-born artist based in Cleveland. She is a printmaker, photographer, and papermaker. Anna exhibits her work internationally and has completed artist residencies at Women’s Studio Workshop, The Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago, The Morgan Conservatory, and Dundee Contemporary Arts. She is the Gallery and Artist Opportunities coordinator at the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Educational Foundation in Cleveland.
I was attracted to the 'Stonewall Years' chapter of The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle by Lillian Faderman. I would like to make a portrait of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. They were two trans women of color who took a big part in the Stonewall riots in 1969 and many other protests and rallies in 1970. They founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries organization, which provided housing and social services to homeless queer youth and sex workers. It was a groundbreaking organization, since most other queer organizations at the time excluded drag queens and trans people. Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries was also behind organizing the first gay pride parade held on the anniversary of Stonewall riots. In The Gay Revolution, Lillian Faderman writes about the exclusion of trans people and people of color from the gay rights and women's right movements of the 60's and 70's. I believe the subject of intersectionality in social justice movements is still relevant today.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.