By Nicole Hennessy
“William Gould‘s Cleveland,” the show currently on exhibit at BAYarts, will stay up until the New Year.
Born in Lakewood, Gould paints scenes of northern Ohio – bridges and houses throughout the area, as well as the skyline visible from his downtown live/work space, where he’s lived for 12 years.
An architect and urban designer, his work almost always includes a structural component. Slightly blurred watercolors, barely distinguishable from photographs of the same scene, and oil paintings depict a constantly transforming city, in some ways the same as it evolves.
Also the co-owner of a nonprofit called ArtSpace Cleveland, which helps artists find live/work spaces similar to the loft in which he and his wife live, Gould encourages as many artists as possible to move to this area, and he has a well-rounded knowledge of all its various neighborhoods.
Stressing the fact that he does not paint from photographs, he said, “I go out with my easel and equipment and paint a farmhouse or a landscape.
“I love this area,” he continued. “It’s very unique.”
He often sets up at Edgewater, painting the lake and the city a few miles away.
“I love painting the lake,” he said, its ripples becoming texture on his canvas, several shades of blue and gray at work at once depending on the time of day, and he includes in his pieces passing boats and freighters.
Like many other artists, he said what appeals to him most about Cleveland is its post-industrial character. However, he often wanders farther outside of the city to capture a historic covered bridge or rural landscape.
Consisting of both oil and watercolor paintings, the pieces in Gould’s current show reflect these diverse landscapes he seeks out, unified only by the fact that they focus on interpreting local structures, particularly bridges, and how they interact with the natural environment that surrounds them.
Incorporating designs into spaces as an architect and interpreting spaces as an artist, the physical objects most integrated into daily life, which might be ignored by most passersby, are what inspire Gould, who’s constantly considering the character of what’s been built where.
Though he is never really preparing for future shows, Gould works paints, not focusing on particular collections but individual pieces that most accurately portray the character of an area he’s never had the desire to leave.
“We’ve been going through some trying times over the years,” he said of the Cleveland area.
His work may portray these struggles subtly, but when it comes down to it, “My art,” he explained, “is an art of space.”
SIDE BAR: “William Gould’s Cleveland” will be on display at BAYarts’ Sullivan Family Gallery until Dec. 31. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; or by appointment. For more information, call 440-871-6543.