U-M Gifts of Art spring exhibitions aim to revitalize and renew

VISUAL ART REVIEW

John Dempsey's acrylic painting at U-M's Gifts of Art spring exhibition

John Dempsey's paintings at Gifts of Art display surreal amalgams of environments.

Michigan Medicine’s Gifts of Art program regularly supports artists while working to “revitalize and enrich lives” of patients and visitors. The latest Gifts of Art series on display in various parts of University Hospital is available to view through June 10. The eight small exhibits in Gifts of Art's nine galleries feature the works of artists Tina West, Richard Light, John Dempsey, Mary Brodbeck, Aimee Lee, Re Kielar, f8collective, and WCC faculty, staff, and students.

UMMA's "Exercising the Eye" shows how Gertrude Kasle expanded the Midwest art scene in the 1950s

VISUAL ART REVIEW

Grace Hartigan, Fells Point Florist painting

Grace Hartigan, Fells Point Florist, 1982, oil on canvas. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Bequest of Gertrude Kasle, 2016/2.90. © The Grace Hartigan Estate.

The University of Michigan Museum of Art’s exhibition Exercising the Eye: The Gertrude Kasle Collection presents an array of works by influential artists of the 20th century. Many of these artists, as pointed out by the exhibition organizers, were, in part, brought to prominence in the Midwest by Gertrude Kasle’s (1917-2016) promotion of their works. 

"Labors of Love and Loss" exhibition explores race, gender, and class with mixed media

VISUAL ART INTERVIEW

Lisa Olson's Split mixed-media art

Lisa Olson's Split (aquatint etching and found photograph).

The U-M Institute for Research on Women and Gender and the Department of Women’s Studies exhibition Labors of Love and Loss is a collection of mixed-media pieces exploring gender and race and "considers the intertwined lives of caregivers, their dependents and charges.” The exhibition presents the works of Marianetta Porter and Lisa Olson, featuring processes such as letterpress combined with found objects. Though Porter and Olson’s works differ in some respects, they create a cohesive, important dialogue about the history of women’s work and the intersections between race, gender, and class, expertly portrayed through text and object. 

What exactly is the exhibit, and what are the Labors of Love and Loss that the title refers?

Joyce Brienza's "Floating Points" exhibit explores dichotomous realities

VISUAL ART INTERVIEW

Joyce Brienza's Hands painting

Joyce Brienza's Madonna painting

Joyce Brienza's Hands (top) and Madonna.

Detroit-based artist and University of Michigan lecturer Joyce Brienza received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Wayne State University and earned an MFA at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She has exhibited her paintings nationally and internationally, and her work addresses often-dichotomous themes, exploring her interest in “places between.”

I talked to Brienza about her Floating Points exhibit in the Rotunda Gallery at U-M's North Campus Research Complex, which engages with themes of the unconscious/conscious, male/female, and high/low art. 

Dalia Reyes' "Rainbow Body" exhibit explores cosmic lightness

VISUAL ART INTERVIEW

Three paintings by Dalia Reyes

Portal practice: Dalia Reyes' painitngs explore metaphysical concepts.

Dalia Reyes is a Detroit-based artist and arts administrator with an undergraduate degree from the College for Creative Studies. In her artist statement for the exhibition Rainbow Body at the Connections Gallery in U-M's North Campus Research Complex, Reyes suggests her work “focuses on pushing fantasy into everyday scenery; where plants have names and all that glitters is definitely gold.”

I caught up with Reyes to ask a few questions about her process, cosmic fantasy, and upcoming projects.

Ann Arbor Art Center's "Art Now: Drawing" leaps off the page

VISUAL ART REVIEW

Lilian Crum's Untitled 1607

Lilian Crum's Untitled 1607 won second place in Ann Arbor Art Center's Art Now: Drawing exhibition.

What is drawing now?

This is one question the Art Now: Drawing exhibition at the Ann Arbor Art Center asks its viewers.

As it turns out, drawing is more than just ink or graphite on paper.

UMMA's "Aftermath: Landscapes of Devastation" ponders our relationship to disaster images

VISUAL ART REVIEW

Peter Turnley, New York, 9-11

Peter Turnley's New York, 9-11-01, 2001, archival pigment print; University of Michigan Museum of Art; gift of David and Jennifer Kieselstein, 2016/2.504.

Aftermath: Landscapes of Devastation is a small, excellently curated photo exhibition at UMMA that addresses the relationship between disasters, their images, and viewers. Chronicling an immense range of historical disasters, the exhibit is comprised of shots from the beginning days of photography that have captured remnants of destruction.

Two Stamps exhibitions explore the intersection of the political and the personal

VISUAL ART REVIEW

Celebrate People's History posters at Stamps Gallery

Two complementary exhibitions at Stamps Gallery engage in themes of social and political progress through photography and graphic design.

Celebrate People’s History posters, a project organized by Josh MacPhee since 1998, is “rooted in the do-it-yourself tradition of mass-produced and distributed political propaganda,” according to the Stamps website. Furthermore, “in dark times, it’s rare that a political poster is celebratory, and when it is, it almost always focuses on a small canon of male individuals: MLK, Gandhi, Che, or Mandela.”

WSG's "Sixteen Plus Sixteen" pairs gallery members & their selected artists

VISUAL ART REVIEW

Stewards of Creation, La Palouse, WA photo by Nina Hauser

Nina Hauser's Stewards of Creation, La Palouse, WA; iPhone photograph printed on archival paper using pigment inks; 5"x7"; 1/10.

The annual Sixteen Plus Sixteen features the work of WSG gallery members and their chosen guests. The 16 invited artists’ works are then shown alongside the works of WSG’s 16 represented artists.

As stated on WSG's website, the showing is “always an exciting art-filled time with lots of vibrant new pieces.” The gallery certainly represents many vibrant works, representing a diversity in practice and media. The show includes paintings, sculpture, ceramics, fabric, photography, books, and much more.

Margaret Condon Taylor's photographs capture a lost Seoul

VISUAL ART

Margaret Condon Taylor, An Accidental Photographer: Seoul 1969

So much Seoul: Margaret Condon Taylor took photos in South Korea when she worked for the Peace Corps nearly 50 years ago.

Margaret Condon Taylor is not a typical photographer. The University of Michigan alumna gained a Ph.D. in psychology, which she currently still practices. So, in the spirit of Taylor's day job, the viewer may feel the need to ask probing questions about the photographs on display in An Accidental Photographer: Seoul 1969 at U-M's Institute for the Humanities Osterman Common Room, such as: What do they tell us? And why is the project “accidental”? 

Although the title of the exhibition raises questions, one does not need to look far for answers.