• The Life of Objects: Roy Bigler & Terry Durst

    May 19, 2022 – June 25, 2022

About the Event:

Opening Reception: Thursday, May 19, 5:30 – 8:00pm. There’s a certain sharpness to the Rust Belt – one forged out of our industrial past and the ensuing decades spent forming and reforming our identity from the pieces left behind. Far from a flaw, it fuels our creativity, and perhaps no medium captures this drive to repurpose and redefine more than assemblage. Whether it’s the abundance of raw materials, or an innate desire to summon beauty out of salvage, Northeast Ohio is host to a wealth of assemblage artists that call the region home. In May, the Artists Archives will host The Life of Objects, the inaugural exhibition of Roy Bigler & Terry Durst, two artists who use found objects to peel back the layers of their own complex psyches and society at large. Though both craft narratives out of cultural detritus, their work represents almost polar treatments of memory and space. Artist Roy Bigler (1955 – 2014) graduated with a BFA from Kent State University in 1984 alongside many of the artists who would become staples of Cleveland’s experimental art scene in the 90s. During his time at Kent, Bigler was deeply influenced by the work of the Dada and Fluxus movements and participated in “mail art exchanges” which furnished him with a steady supply of mysterious, mass-produced trinkets, shipped anonymously to his door. Bigler would later employ the rigid borders of his sculptures to contain and document these artifacts of modern life. Using plaque-like mounts, or tightly wrapped parcels as bases, the artist combines psychologically charged bits of ephemera to suggest oblique and sardonic relationships between history, nostalgia, and consumer culture. Often objects appear in test tubes, or behind glass, reminiscent of Victorian museum displays which labeled and pinned the natural world to control its chaos. Far from wanting to contain chaos, artist Terry Durst crafts his sculptures as conduits for the world’s frenetic energy. Referred to by critic Frank Green as “one of Cleveland’s most interesting sculptors,” Durst is known for his confrontational aesthetic and immersive, cinematic narratives. Though often large in scale, the sculptures are alarming in their intimacy; they create a profound sense of discomfort, as if approached too closely, one might become infected with the memories they emit. Like Bigler, Durst was also a graduate of Kent State University’s School of Art. While initially torn between film and sculpture, he ultimately chose the latter because of the ability to work independently, reflecting that “making film was expensive and involved a lot of people.” Durst too felt the immutable pull of objects in his work. “I kept attaching things to the canvas and was never satisfied with just the two-dimensional surface. Moving into sculpture I realized that the raw materials I most enjoyed working with were objects that already had a history behind them. Objects that exude decrepitude and decay…My only motive is to follow the imagery I receive…I try to create a realm with each piece, something that is a world unto itself.” As Durst explains, “Often the result [when I create a piece] is a metaphor for an experience, or for an emotion. Ultimately, I’d much rather express an aura, or a feeling, and maybe a memory, than a platitude or piece of social criticism. I feel that my job as an artist is to investigate myself, those parts of me that I would otherwise never access. Of course, I hope through this investigation something universal will emerge.” The Life of Objects: Roy Bigler & Terry Durst opens Thursday, May 19 with an opening reception from 5:30 – 8:00pm and will be on view until June 25th. No reservations needed but masks will be required while on campus. For additional information on the artists and a preview of the exhibition, visit The Artists Archives of the Western Reserve is handicap accessible and is willing to accommodate all people including those with special needs. Visitors with special needs are encouraged to contact us before coming to AAWR, so that we can ensure your visit is fulfilling and enjoyable.  View available services. To schedule your visit, please call 216-721-9020 or email

Event Schedule: Add to Calendar

May 19, 2022 – June 25, 2022

  • Thu May 19, 5:30 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Fri May 20, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Sat May 21, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
  • Wed May 25, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thu May 26, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Fri May 27, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Sat May 28, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
  • Wed Jun 1, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thu Jun 2, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Fri Jun 3, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Sat Jun 4, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
  • Wed Jun 8, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thu Jun 9, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Fri Jun 10, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Sat Jun 11, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
  • Wed Jun 15, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thu Jun 16, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Fri Jun 17, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Sat Jun 18, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
  • Wed Jun 22, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thu Jun 23, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Fri Jun 24, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Sat Jun 25, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
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Visual Arts



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