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Published: Friday, 4/16/2004

Gallery show draws on surprise

Max Lawrence with some of his figurative paintings at Space 237 downtown. Max Lawrence with some of his figurative paintings at Space 237 downtown.

A youthful brew of fine art and graffiti, personal style and cultural influences, subject matter and media is bubbling at Space 237 in downtown Toledo.

Even the North Michigan Street gallery itself is part of the show, said Max Lawrence, 28, a native Toledoan and one of 14 featured artists whose exhibit opens tonight with a party from 7 to 10 p.m. The show continues through June 18.

"We create an environment for the objects to exist in," explained Lawrence, the son of gallery owner-director Morgan Lawrence. Artwork, walls, and gallery spaces blend into a cohesive whole.

The show also includes works by Ben Woodward, Isaac Lin, Dan Murphy, Rebecca Wescott, Ed Templeton, Diana Templeton, Thom Lessner, Matt Lienes, Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Jim Houser, Andrew Kuo, Adam Wallacavage, and Shelly Spector.

The artists are members or connected in some way with a Philadelphia art collective called Space1026, and with a much larger generational group that has been called the "Disobedients" - a movement encompassing painting, music, culture, performance art, film making, design, and couture.

It has produced a cross-pollination of art and commerce, Lawrence explained, citing graphics on skateboards, television, and athletic shoes, for example. It's graffiti gone mainstream.

"It's a movement to pull people back into art," Lawrence said. "What ties it all together is that art should be able to work on more than one level."

The artists find inspiration in everything from the precise brush strokes of hand-painted signs to objects tossed to the curb on trash day.

The title of the show - "It Came From Above" - reflects its element of surprise, Lawrence said. "Is it some sort of divine intervention, or divine inspiration, or just bad weather?"

Also opening tonight at Space 237 is a show by local artists in the fourth-floor gallery. Called "Fourth Floor and Friends," the show includes metal sculpture by Mike Sohikian, jewelry by Benjamin Budd, paintings by Kim Thanasiu, and ceramics by Hali Lynne.

A group show titled "It Came From Above" opens with a party from 7 to 10 tonight at Space 237, at 237 North Michigan St. The show runs through June 18. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or by appointment. Admission is free. Information: 419-255-5117.

Contact Ann Weber at:


or 419-724-6126.

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