River House Arts takes up residence in historic Secor building

Paintings by Cuban artist Augusto Bordelois await installation at River House Arts, now in Toledo.


BG Independent News

River House Arts, an art gallery that has enlivened the area art scene for six years, has now taken up residence on the left bank … of the Maumee River in the Glass City.

Paula Baldoni who owns the business with her husband, William Jordan, said that move from the house on the river in Perrysburg to the sprawling new space in the Secor Building at 425 Jefferson Ave. has taken more time than anticipated.

But even as Jordan works on the floors in the 9th floor office space, the gallery is ready to open its newest show, “Immigrants, Outcasts, and Other Heroes,” oil paintings and drawings by Cuban artist Augusto Bordelois. The show of more than two dozen works opens with a reception Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. The show continues through June 4. For details visit: http://www.river-house-arts.com/#!immigrants-outcasts-and-other-heroes/cbtc

Paula Baldoni

Paula Baldoni

The exhibit is well in keeping with what River House Art has been about all along. Its exhibits have featured forgotten American masters such as Clay Walker featured in the gallery’s first show in November, 2009; international artists such as Mexican painter Veronica Leiton, creator of surreal abstract cityscapes; important contemporary Americans such as Swinomish and Tulalip photographer Matika Wilbur, who is using fine art photography to produce powerful and positive images of contemporary indigenous people; and local artists both young, jeweler Amy Beeler, and more established, photographer and digital artist Lou Krueger.

Bordelois, Baldoni said, has been living in Cleveland since 1999, but he regularly returns to Cuba.

His paintings are bold, with robust, heavyset figures. They lounge in the tropical heat, or at least it looks like that. One painting is actually a homesick Cuban on the beach of Lake Erie, Baldoni said. “Each painting has an incredible story.” And they are full of mythological images.

While they are full of color and wit, they also have an emotional heft to them.

The show will be displayed in the ground floor gallery with windows looking out at the Huntington Center. Paintings will also be on display at the Registry Bistro which is the gallery’s neighbor in the 110-year-old former hotel.

This space is just part of what Baldoni and Jordan are leasing. They also have storage and an office on the ninth floor. They will also curate other spaces in the building including the sixth floor lobby outside the Toledo Opera offices.

“We wanted to be in downtown,” Baldoni said.

River House operates an art leasing program for corporate clients. They can find art, especially regional art, to decorate their walls. They sell both regional art and estate art from the 19th and 20th centuries. The Secor space offers more space for the art.
“We wanted to be closer to our clients,” Baldoni said.

This also brings them closer to many of the artists they work with, she added. She said she has enjoyed working with the Arts Commission of Toledo.

Even before the opening of the first exhibit in the space, the signs are positive. People have been asking about the gallery and when it would open. The traffic in the downtown location has also generated interest.

“It’s fantastic being across from the Huntington Center,” she said.