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Beck Center For The Arts Displays Work of National Artists in The Body Rock

 Available to view now through February 27, 2023.

Beck Center For The Arts Displays Work of National Artists in The Body Rock

Beck Center for the Arts will display The Body Rock, an exhibition by visual artists who bring edge, awareness of their culture, and talent to their work.

These works have art on display were created by Martinez E-B, Erin Mazza, and Edward Valentin-Lugo. The featured artists have, for years, considered and created work with the body in mind, and how it relates to us in cultural, spiritual, fun, and psychological ways (and more). The year 2020, which inspired the art, fed a dosage of isolation to many of us as we quarantined, stayed at home, and/or worked remotely. The reality of where our bodies could or could not go offered a new and broadened outlook on the relationship between our physical being and our emotional/psychological/spiritual state. Though purely by use of image, The Body Rock is a tour of physical contemplations. It is an exhibition that explores the areas between the intangible self with the body.

Martinez E-B is a native of inner-city Cleveland, OH and now living and working out of the Chicago, IL area. He is a multidisciplinary artist, who creates works that simulate the cultural/social/political fog of his upbringing. E-B has illustrated and authored books, has had his works adapted for theater, and has been shown in numerous exhibits nationally. Recently, his work has been featured in SERIAL Podcast season 3 (in collaboration with Moth Studio, London), and ARTFORUM International Magazine Critics' Picks. He received his B.F.A. from Cleveland Institute of Art and his M.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College Chicago.

Artist Martinez E-B says of his work, "Growing up in what I call the sanctified Black church, I was always aware of the body as a tool for emotional and "spiritual" hyper-expression. I found this form of expression to be similar to that seen in anime/manga. Both birthed from trauma, one being the A bomb, the other being enslavement+."

This series merges the two. The aesthetic of manga gives the work its expressive 'pop', and the storytelling details (such as brown skin, robes, doves, cotton, chains) reveal a performative battle that is as much physical as it can be spiritual, emotional, and historical.

Artist E. Mazza (Erin Mazza) asks herself, how does one take ownership of their figure, as it is consistently objectified, outwardly critiqued, and endlessly sold to, as it is told to look/be/feel better? E. Mazza, wrestles with these ideas as she utilizes vibrant colors, satire, and pop visuals to play between the importance of being comfortable in your own skin while knowing it is constantly under review, and maybe even attacked.

Artist Edward Valentin-Lugo says with this body of work, "I focused on meditation. The coming and going of the breath. I wanted to just focus on making & respond to marks as I worked through these digital drawings. I have noticed that during the pandemic I spent a lot of time on my screen. A lot of time worrying about things that are outside of me. Outside of my body. Things that I felt I couldn't control. I used a form of poetry called Gogyoka as a jumping off point to the drawn elements of each drawing. At times I started with the poem and at other times I started off with drawing. Both are having a conversation with each other on the surface, and both give each other meaning. I wanted to create a safe space for myself to just make without any constrictions of 'what should the drawing look like'. I wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on the things I have been seeing and feeling during the pandemic. Feelings of fear, confusion, and at times happiness. With these drawings, I have also reflected on my own identity. On what it means to be Puerto Rican, and on how I define that for myself."

Ed Gallagher, Director of Education stated, "Having the work of Martinez E-B back at Beck Center is a great way to kick-off 2023. We are honored to have his work in the Hoffman-Stach Gallery surrounded by artists such as Erin Mazza and Edward Valentin-Lugo, who have worked closely with Martinez E-B got curate this exhibition. Their efforts have culminated in an impactful and introspective look at the body."

The art is currently on display in the Hoffman-Stach Gallery at Beck Center for the Arts and may be viewed during traditional business hours at no cost at 17801 Detroit Ave. All are invited to a free opening artists' reception, which coincides with the opening of Ghost the Musical in the Senney on Friday, February 10. The reception will take place from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, and the artists will be present to discuss their art with attendees.

These works of art are available for purchase at Customer Service at Beck Center for the Arts, located at 17801 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, just ten minutes west of downtown Cleveland. Free onsite parking is available. For more information visit or call Beck Center Customer Service at 216.521.2540.

Beck Center for the Arts also offers arts education for all ages, all skill levels, and all abilities with classes and lessons in music, dance, visual arts, and theater, as well as creative arts therapies. Financial assistance is offered for qualified applicants so that these programs can be enjoyed by all.

Programming at Beck Center for the Arts is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Arts Council. Beck Center gratefully acknowledges the generous funding provided by the citizens of Cuyahoga County through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.

Beck Center for the Arts is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that offers professional theater productions on two stages, arts education programming in dance, music, theater, visual arts, early childhood, and creative arts therapies for individuals with disabilities, free gallery exhibits year-round, and community education programming.

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