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Local artist opens tongue-in-cheek exhibit at AAWR

Naveed H. Ahmad

Issue date: 3/6/09 Section: Focus
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Utilizing unique subject matter and interesting techniques and mixing in local Cleveland flavor, artist Herbert Ascherman Jr. impresses with his new exhibit at AAWR.
Media Credit: James Cash
Utilizing unique subject matter and interesting techniques and mixing in local Cleveland flavor, artist Herbert Ascherman Jr. impresses with his new exhibit at AAWR.

This past Friday evening, Cleveland photographer Herbert Ascherman Jr. opened an exhibit through the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve entitled Faces and Places: The Photographic Art of Herbert Ascherman Jr. Ascherman has been teaching for over 30 years, including time at the Cleveland Institute of Art. He began his photography career in 1975, publishing three books of portraiture, writing numerous articles and essays for national media, and going on television and NPR. Ascherman's opening brought in over 200 attendees, which was "one of the better gallery openings of the year," according to employees at the AAWR.

Ascherman became one of 49 archived artists through a particular project, entitled The Artists Project, where he took 105 black and white portraits of area artists from late December 2001 through early January 2002. Many of the portraits he took were of AAWR archived artists, which propelled him to being archived.

The exhibit Faces and Places is an interesting mixture of life work from Ascherman, ranging from his first platinum photograph taken in 1978, entitled "Homage to Atget," to his 2001-2002 portraits of Cleveland artists, to nude photographs of men and women representing Greek gods. The common theme among these photographs is that they are platinum images. Ascherman calls platinum "the most beautiful of all photographs." Essentially, the platinum process is one of the most stable and archival of any in photography, where the image is embedded in the paper itself rather than simply being printed on the surface. Ascherman boasts that the "platinum image will outlast the paper on which it is printed."

Ascherman, a fourth-generation Clevelander who has devoted much of his artistic life to Cleveland, has also traveled all across the world for his work, visiting such places as Ireland, Paris, India, New York City, Montreal, and Versailles. There are pictures from each stop in the exhibit.
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