03.11.05 Art@Buzz: A Bright Future for Andrew Kaletta

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Tue, 03/15/2005 - 02:17.

The phrase “lights, camera, action� could be the title for the group show that just opened Friday night (March 11th) at Buzz Gallery on West 25th Street. The works currently on view lack a unifying theme, though together they create a more than satisfying show. The show is curated by co-op member Andrew Kaletta and includes photographs by Steve Mastroiani and Al Fuchs, and lamps Kaletta himself designed and created. Kaletta is also a performance artist. He has scheduled an event for Sunday March 13th that sounds like a happening; anyone who stops by Buzz on Sunday afternoon will be encouraged to play board games.

Steve Mastroianni’s works are photo collages created over approximately the last ten years. His most visually powerful work in the show, titled One Good Day is constructed of 15 large photos of clouds, buildings and cars framed by smaller photos. The cloud photos, which reference Alfred Stieglitz’s cloud studies created in the early part of the 20th century, are particularly beautiful. The craftsmanship of Mastroianni’s collages detracts from the quality of his individual photos to a small degree and not all of his collages are equally successful. But, Mastroianni’s works seem to hold intense personal meaning and some are not for sale

Al Fuchs has been working in photography for over 25 years. His subjects reflect his love for history and his desire to preserve fading elements of Cleveland’ s past. His photojournalist style follows in the tradition of Margaret Bourke-White, particular in one stunning photo of a work’s weathered hand resting on a cast metal tool imprinted with the words “Cleveland, O. Made�

Kaletta’s lamps are the most innovative and interesting works in the show. With some of them he reuses the bases of vintage table lamps, others are completely handcrafted with wood and wire structures, and one is a wall sconce. The shades are made of paper painted with a fireproof coating mixed with acrylic pigment. The visible brush strokes and pale yellow and purple colors give the lamps an ethereal quality. Working in the long tradition of lighting devices which cross over into the realm of art – a tradition which includes the lamps of Louis Tiffany and Emile Gallé-- Kaletta chooses the delicate and more temporary material of paper for his shades. His table lamps are his most complicated statements, infusing inartistic, mass-produced, manufactured objects with the hand of the artist. A pair of table lamps wearing yellow shades resembling tricorned hats take on anthropomorphic qualities. Though he designed and constructed the lamps in this show quickly, they are actually carefully engineered. His designs allow for the use of the maximum size bulb by placing the shades below the bulb or angling the shade away from the bulb to avoid them becoming too hot. Kaletta has more than a passing interest in lamps; he is a designer of theatrical lighting. His most recent theatrical work was the Off-Broadway hit “The Exonerated� now playing at the Dobama Theatre in Cleveland Heights.

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