Friday September 1, 2017
Tags for: The Cleveland Museum of Art features contemporary artists in two solo exhibitions and one performance at Transformer Station
  • Press Release

The Cleveland Museum of Art features contemporary artists in two solo exhibitions and one performance at Transformer Station

exterior of the CMA building

Works by Scott Olson and Jerry Birchfield on view September 1, performance by Liz Roberts and Henry Ross takes place September 9

Cleveland (September 1, 2017)– The Cleveland Museum of Art presents two solo exhibitions featuring new works by Northeast Ohio artists Scott Olson and Jerry Birchfield, and a performance, installation and audio piece by Columbus-based artists Liz Roberts and Henry Ross. Scott Olson and Jerry Birchfield: Stagger When Seeing Visions, the artists’ first institutional solo exhibitions, will open with a free public reception at Transformer Station Friday, September 1, at 7 p.m. Death Knell, the performance by Roberts and Ross, will take place in the parking lot outside of Transformer Station on Saturday, September 9, from 2–4 p.m.

“We are very pleased to feature the work of four significant Ohio artists,” said William Griswold, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. “These exhibitions and the performance piece, organized by the museum in close collaboration with the artists, demonstrate the museum’s strong commitment to contemporary art, and they provide yet another exciting instance of the vibrancy of the arts here in Northeast Ohio.”

“Scott Olson and Jerry Birchfield are among this region’s most interesting and promising artists and the two exhibitions will offer a first opportunity for visitors to understand the breadth of their work and where they might go in the future” said Reto Thüring, curator of contemporary art and chair of modern, contemporary, decorative arts and performing arts and film. “Liz Roberts and Henry Ross are creating a new work exclusively for this occasion. It will be a quite spectacular performance, an installation and an audio piece at the same time.”

On view in the new gallery, Scott Olson features new sculptures that have never before been shown, early paintings by the artist alongside recent paintings in egg tempera, on marble dust ground and canvas, as well as approximately 25 drawings spanning the last 10 years of his career. The exhibition also debuts a series of batik, or dyed-cloth paintings created in 2015 with help from the Textiles Department in the School of Art at Kent State University. By employing a broad range of techniques and materials, Olson’s work traces the history of painting back to the early Renaissance. At the same time, through the gradual introduction of new methods and concepts, his small-scale works re-examine many of the medium’s long-established boundaries.  

Olson, born 1976, lives and works in Kent, OH. His work has been shown at galleries in New York, Milan, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Stockholm, and Berlin as well as the Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst (Vienna), White Flag Projects (St. Louis), Museum of Contemporary Art (Cleveland), and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) among other venues. 

On view in the Crane Gallery, Jerry Birchfield: Stagger When Seeing Visions examines the various transformative stages of the artist’s free-standing or wall-mounted sculptures and photographic prints. Most of Birchfield’s works start with an image—a photographic reproduction taken by hand—of the studio floor. He subsequently introduces each work and each image into a complex system in which it hovers between surrogate and self-reference, questioning how images emulate or subvert the sources from which they stem. 

Birchfield born 1985, lives and works in Cleveland, OH. He holds an MFA from Cornell University (2014). In Cleveland, Birchfield has exhibited at SPACES Gallery, Zygote Press, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the sunroom, and the Cleveland Foundation as well as the Print Center in Philadelphia. 

Death Knell, a collaborative performance and installation by Liz Roberts and Henry Ross, highlights the interplay of process and product by dismantling an automobile and recording the procedure through one hundred contact microphones. Cars are connected to organized labor, and during the dismantling, Roberts and Ross will ask viewers to think about their own relationship to industry, decay, and the uncertainty of the future. Inspired by industrial music in Europe preceding the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the resulting audio piece will be available for purchase as an editioned work on cassette, as well as available online. The vehicle remains will be on-site as an outdoor installation until December 10, 2017.

Liz Roberts is an artist and a visiting full-time faculty at the Columbus College of Art & Design. Henry Ross is a student-artist, writer, and musician. Both are located in Columbus, OH, and are part of MINT Collective.


Opening Reception: Scott Olson & Jerry Birchfield
Friday, September 1, 2017

CMA & Transformer Station members only: 5–7 p.m. 

Open to all: 7–9 p.m.

Transformer Station


Be among the first to experience two solo exhibitions featuring new works by Northeast Ohio artists Scott Olson and Jerry Birchfield, presented by the CMA and on view at the Transformer Station. Complimentary refreshments included.


Contact the Museum's Media Relations Team:
(216) 707-2261