When you take a trip through the maze that is Candlelight Hypothesis, you will see a number of art pieces that resemble wings that are overhead when you enter the “exhibit” space of the immersive production. These pieces where commissioned by Director Raymond Bobgan for his newly mounted version of Candlelight Hypothesis; and created by local artist Charmaine Spencer. “Raymond wanted a more artsy feeling [for the piece].” So, Charmaine recalled a piece she created that had another incarnation, and thought it would work well as clouds, but when she did the walkthrough with Raymond, she literally saw wings around him, and changed the focus. The pieces are made of conduit which make them very lightweight and when the lighting hits them, they appear to glow in the dark like a moth’s wings.
If the name sounds familiar, it could be because Charmaine has a gallery (Studio 302) inside 78th Street Studios where you can see her work the third Friday of every month. She was also one of four recipients of Front International 2022: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, a three-year fellowship program that allowed her to travel and make art in different cities. Her first project for the fellowship was this past summer at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens where she created and displayed a sculpture based on a Langston Hughes poem. She described the piece as, “spirit vessels that represent the elements that are a home for your ancestors, and whatever element that represents your ancestors.”
A firm believer that “healthy dirt is what feeds us…it’s what helps everything grow,” she uses a lot of natural materials from the earth like dirt and soil, as well as a little water and glue. “You can sculpture with it, and it withstands the environment. You can become the cycle that helps you maintain your life.”
Prior to becoming an artist, she had a run as a job coach, and home nurse, and then like everyone, Covid-19 struck, and she began to take stock of her life, and decided to focus on making art. The gamble paid off―her work will be seen next at the Big Ass Art Show at Lakeland Community College later this year.
For aspiring artist, she offers this advice, “Not to give up on your art if that is what you want to do. You might have to get a job…don’t stop doing it [art], and don’t get scared that it won’t happen.”
Check out Charmaine’s art in Candlelight Hypothesis through October 31, 2022. Tickets are Choose What You Pay and can be purchased at cptonline.org or through the box office at 216.631.2727, ext 501. To learn more about Charmaine Spencer visit www.charmainespencer.net.