Critical art reviews of Detroit galleries and museums weekly

Category: Sculpture Page 2 of 26

Doug Cannell @ Stamelos Gallery Center

Doug Cannell: presents Learning Curves at the Stamelos Gallery Center, UofM Dearborn

Doug Cannell: Learning Curves, installation view.

The inspirations behind Doug Cannell’s sculptures are many and varied. They range from jazz music, the movement of water, urban decay, font design, calligraphy, and more. He’s also deeply inspired by the textures of Detroit’s places and spaces, where he was born and raised, and much of his work blurs the boundaries between the organic and the industrial.  “I buy my art supplies at scrapyards,” Doug Cannell writes, and “hardware stores and lumberyards.” Through December 10, the Stamelos Gallery Center (of the University of Michigan, Dearborn) presents Doug Cannell: Learning Curves, the artist’s most comprehensive exhibition to date.

Cannell mostly works with lumber and metal, exploring all the possibilities of the media, but always adhering to a truthful honesty to the material, never making metal or wood look like something it isn’t. Many of these works also draw on Cannell’s years of experience as a graphic designer, particularly the works which evoke different letters, alphabets, and typefaces. With some exceptions (like his series The Language of Bodies), the overwhelming majority of his works are abstract. All his work adheres to careful attention to craftmanship and design.

Learning Curves features multiple series of works created over the span of ten years, but gives prominence to two new bodies of work. The Enso and Beyond is sourced in the meditative Zen practice of creating an enso, a circle made with one continuous stroke of a calligraphy brush. Cannell transposes the enso into three dimensions, playing with its minimalist form in a series of circular wooden sculptures. Some of these are almost literal 3D interpretations of an enso, while others are more indirect, suggestive of calligraphic linework in a more general sense.  Speaking of these works, Cannell says, “I liked the idea that it’s not so much about the finished product, but it’s about the experience of making the artwork. It’s a meditative moment.”

Doug Cannell: Learning Curves, installation view.

The other new body of work on view is sourced in Cannell’s experience as a graphic designer, a field which gave him an immense appreciation for the capacity of various fonts and typefaces to enhance the meanings of words and to imbue words with nuance. In the series Letterforms, Cannell takes letters from various alphabets of the world, deconstructs them, and merges them together into sculptures that celebrate the language or the font on which they’re based. The forms are abstracted, but still recognizable, so viewers might recognize letters from the Thai alphabet, or Korean, Arabic, or Hebrew. It’s a series in wood which draws attention to the pure form of words without regard for their literal sounds or meanings.

Filling about half of the gallery space, these two recent bodies of work are displayed alongside selections of earlier works. One series is an expressive body of works which explores emotion and body language. The defensive postures the life-sized wooden figures assume are often suggestive of struggle. In using representational/figurative imagery, the series is an outlier in Cannell’s larger body of work, the rest of which is almost entirely abstract.

More typical (if its ok to say that about a body of work as relentlessly varied as this), are the abstract wooden sculptures of the series A Tree is a Wild Thing.  Each of the emphatically organic forms in this series was created using rectangular boards of industrial lumber, which Cannell then worked until the wood attained a beauty more suggestive of its original source in nature.

But Cannell’s work also explores the beauty and formal qualities of industrial materials, and the series Art and Invention is an exploration of the visual possibilities of steel and its decay. Often making use of repurposed, rusted steel, some of these wall-mounted sculptures seem like more polished and refined versions of the doggedly rugged industrial sculptures of Constructivist Vladimir Tatlin.

Arc Mentha, 2017 (28”x 8” x 4”), steel, aluminum, paint.

Thrump, 2016, (48’’x94’’x34’’), steel and wood

There seems to be a whimsicality and a playful quality to much of this work. It blurs boundaries between the organic and industrial…between craft and fine art. Regarding the inevitable categorization of his work into “series,” Cannell confesses that his goal is never to set out to create a series, and that a work in one set might just as easily fall into another. His work defiantly refuses simplistic categorization and easy labels, much like the places, spaces, and textures of Detroit itself.

Doug Cannell: Learning Curves, installation view.

Doug Cannell @ Stamelos Gallery Center, UofM Dearborn,  through December 10, 2023.

Iris Eichenberg @ David Klein Gallery

Iris Eichenberg: Topoanalysis / Wer Bin Ich? will be at the David Klein Gallery in Detroit though Nov. 4, 2023.

An installation shot of Iris Eichenberg: Topoanalysis / Wer Bin Ich? will be at the David Klein Gallery in Detroit through Nov. 4, 2023.  (All images courtesy of David Klein Gallery.)

With Topoanalysis / Wer Bin Ich?, Iris Eichenberg — the German-born, Dutch-educated head of metalsmithing at Cranbrook Academy of Art — continues her probing search for roots and meaning, particularly as found in material objects and places in memory. The solo exhibition will be up at Detroit’s David Klein Gallery until Nov. 4, 2023.

“Topoanalysis” is a term coined by the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard and refers to the psychological study of key sites in our intimate lives. And as the question in the title — “Who am I?” — underlines, this exhibition explores identity and personal history through allegorical representations of people and houses that still echo in Eichenberg’s life.


Iris Eichenberg, Academy Way, Wood, bark; 16 ½ by 24 ½ by 10 ½ inches, 2023.

The show comes in three parts, employing very different materials: wood, fabric, and pottery. But this won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed the artist’s career since she first landed in America, at Cranbrook in 2006. Creative tools in Eichenberg’s hands have included materials as disparate as her grandmother’s silk stockings and silver spoons, colorful birds crammed in painful cages, knitted mittens, glistening ceramic vessels, or, in the case of her 2020 show The Center Piece / The Blank, white and dark-gray discs hung from elegant, wide strips of black fabric. From a distance, the wallscape read almost like modernist architecture.

What Eichenberg said in this writer’s first conversation with her 14 years ago is clearly still as apt as it was then, and amounts to a sort of design philosophy: “I always try to encounter and fight with new material.” Indeed she does.

In Topoanalysis, Eichenberg’s constructed simplified “houses” up to a couple feet tall that look a bit like giant versions of children’s blocks. Each structure, rendered in warm, contrasting wood tones, is a stand-in for someplace the artist lived, where memories and emotions are deeply lodged. Some of these houses are attached to poles with a cross-piece or handle at the far end, suggesting, perhaps, that even a house constitutes a tool.


Iris Eichenberg, J.P. Lennepkade 287/289 (Table), Wood, French linen, 30 by 76 ½ by 44 ½ inches, 2023.

It’s worth noting that for all their simplicity, the workmanship on these wooden sculptures is gorgeous, as are their compositional arrangements. An absolute knock-out, even if a total mystery, is J.P. Lennepkade 287/289 (Table), where a house resembling a Monopoly token you’d put on Park Place hangs several inches above the floor, suspended by a wooden dowel and cross-piece hanging from a tidy slot in the middle of a handsomely constructed table.

Interestingly, Eichenberg – an artist of multitudinous talents – milled all the wood that went into Topoanalysis from an old walnut tree that had to be taken down in a friend’s garden.

The artist’s current residence at Cranbrook, designed by Eliel Saarinen, is represented by a squat, gabled affair titled Academy Way that rests on a large, curvaceous piece of bark. (Other houses often sit on a cushion of beige French linen.) As it happens, the bark is not flush with the floor, but has a low “arch” in the center, right where you expect a solid foundation line. Stand back a ways, and you can see light peeking through from the far side.


Iris Eichenberg, Wer Bin Eich, French linen, brass weights, charcoal, 100 by 98 by 52 inches, 2023.

Compared to the wood houses, something entirely different is going on with Wer Bin Eich, an eight-foot-tall house built of draped French linen hung from hooks, a little like a quickly erected tent. Of all the works in the show, this is perhaps the most enigmatic, not least because of the rough charcoal sketch facing it on the wall a couple of feet away that echoes its outline in quick, slapdash strokes. If the wooden houses suggest permanence and solidity, Wer Bin Eich trumpets instability and the fragile nature of human constructions.

Peering down at these artifacts are three muted, abstract portraits of friends of Eichenberg’s – Ilse, Ida, and Frida. Their faces are rendered in dribs and drabs of meticulously stitched fabrics, ranging from cheesecloth to horse hair to damask.


Iris Eichenberg, Ida, French linen, gold linen, cheesecloth, mopcloth, rabbit fur, produce bag, Chinese silk, 72 by 48 inches, 2023.

Finally, the show is capped by a series of nine dark-gray earthenware vessels, some resting on wooden shelves that almost act as frames, and one cozying up to one of her wood houses.

These are not the fine, glossy ceramics Eichenberg’s made in the past. In their slumping and swelling, these primitive, near-black earthenware vessels feel almost organic – like zaftig body parts — with mouths that yearn to talk or pour. It’s hard not to see them as animate little… somethings.

All in all, Topoanalysis is an intriguing, sometimes dizzying mix. As Wayne State art historian Dora Apel wrote in “Essay’d” in 2019, in a comment that applies equally well to this domestic installation, Eichenberg’s work “evokes alienation and dislocation, combined with a sense of yearning for comfort, warmth, and attachment.”

Iris Eichenberg, Black Earthenware Pot, Wood, black earthenware, various dimensions, 2023.

The solo show Iris Eichenberg: Topoanalysis / Wer Bin Ich? will be up at Detroit’s David Klein Gallery through Nov. 4, 2023.

Anita Bates @ N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Arts

Dr. Anita Bates’s exhibition, A Long Time Coming, now on view at N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Arts revives a fresh experience to Abstract Expressionism.

Installation, Anita Bates, N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art 2023. All images courtesy of DAR.

Detroit artist Anita Bates opened her exhibition, A Long Time Coming, at N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art on September 9, 2023, with recent abstraction expressionistic paintings rich in color, scale, line, texture, and composition. The paintings are like forest flowers, reminding this writer of music performed so exquisitely in the 1960s by the jazz musician Charles Lloyd. Gestural strokes, mark-making, and the impression of spontaneity characterize the work.  Her creative process over the past thirty years follows in the footsteps of Willem de Kooning (and others), but she focuses on the color field, devoid of any reference to the landscape or figure.

Abstract Expressionism emerged in the early 1940s, primarily in New York, where a small group of loosely affiliated artists created a diverse body of work that introduced new directions in painting—and shifted the art world’s focus forever. In distinction to the emotional energy and gestural surface marks of abstract expressionists such as Pollock and de Kooning, the Color Field painters initially appeared to be cool and austere, effacing the individual mark in favor of large, flat areas of color, which these artists considered to be the essential nature of visual abstraction, along with the actual shape of the canvas. However, Color Field painting has proven to be sensual and deeply expressive, albeit different from gestural abstract expressionism.

Bates says in her statement, “The colors found in the majority of the work in this exhibition are lighter than previous bodies of work; they are colors associated with my childhood but seen through the eyes of maturity.  I primarily work in the triadic combinations of green, orange, and purple or a palette of red together and always gravitate towards these hues while consistently pushing my knowledge of these harmonies via desaturation and contrast. For me, this element of art and design demonstrates my growth as an artist; The ability to make color transition with tints, tones and shades.”

Anita Bates, The Power of Subtlety, Mixed Media on Canvas, 2023

The two diptych canvases,  30 X 46” each, and entitled The Power of Subtlety, are connected with a black horizontal line in the top quarter, providing the geometric compositional structure for the overall painting. The background throughout is a sloshing around of pastel colors from her triad of green, orange, and purple, where transparent blends of white and tan merge. Possibly influenced by artist Lee Krasner, Bates plants herself in color field composition with oddly shaped abstract elements. The dominant feeling is esoteric, with a personalized set of small, mysterious objects that keep the viewer at bay.  The artist seems to be saying that the painting does not need to convey a meaning other than the way it makes the viewer feel.

For Abstract Expressionists, the authenticity or value of a work lies in its directness and immediacy of expression. A painting is meant to be a reveal of the artist’s identity. The gesture, the artist’s “signature,” is evidence of the actual process of the work’s creation.

Anita Bates.The Zoo, 60X96″, Mixed Media on Canvas, 2023

The Zoo,  another 30 X46” diptych, is more lively, with a much larger color palette that includes details of black drawing and a more integrated overlapping of shapes.  Is it a Zoo?  If so, it is one not so much of animals but of contrasting shapes from the artist’s subconscious reflecting her sensibility. There is a lot more compositional traffic in The Zoo that speaks to the language of her attraction to the overlapping and action-packed gesture of Abstract Expressionism.

Anita Bates, Poivres Rouge, 60×72″, Mixed Media on canvas,

Poivres Rouge is a mixed-media painting on canvas that divides the space into quarters and places its weight in the center of this organic composition. The title refers to a French restaurant or, in the dictionary, defined as Pepper, perhaps based on the artist’s travels in France.

Early art critics, like Harold Rosenberg, had long been outspoken in their view of a painting as an arena which to come to terms with the act of creation. To Clement Greenberg, the physicality of the paintings’ clotted, dripping, and oil-caked surfaces was the key to understanding these works as documents of the artists’ existential struggle. Bates seems to occupy a middle ground since her paintings are non-referential yet emotive.

Anita Bates, Candy, 60×96″, Mixed Media, 2023

Staying with a familiar palette of color in Candy, Bates presents layers of oil paint working from dark to light with a multitude of overlapping shapes, lines, and drips as she balances the congestion of abstraction. Brush strokes move horizontally and vertically, and a balanced of black drawing helps hold the picture together.  There is a distinct push and pull of paint, solvents, and water, mixing to create diverse textures.

Like the Charles Lloyd album from 1966, Forest Flower, the uplifting abstractions in A Long Time Coming draw the viewer back… and then back again for more observation and discovery.

Dr. Anita Bates earned her Ph.D. in Education and an M.F.A. in painting from Wayne State University. She was a 2019 Kresge Arts Fellow, resides as a native of Highland Park, Michigan, and has widely exhibited throughout Metro Detroit and beyond.


Lucy Slivinski @ N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art

The Improvisation of Matter Into Magic

Installation Lucy Slivinski sculpture N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art

Critically acclaimed artist Lucy Slivinski hails from Chicago, Illinois, bringing her wide collection of sculptures and installations. For over 40 years, as one of the few female artists working in metal, Slivinski has created abstract sculptures for interior and exterior residential and commercial spaces.  Most of her contemporary sculpture features found objects, scrap metal, and other locally sourced, recycled products that would otherwise end up in a landfill or smelting factory, continuing to harm the environment.  As an abstract artist, Slivinski’s unique style has been commissioned for many large outdoor public sculptures, live performances, and gallery installations.

Lucy Slivinski earned an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a B.F.A. from Northern Illinois University.


Herbert Gentry @ N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art

Installation Herbert Gentry N’Namdi Center for the Arts 2023

Herbert Gentry’s paintings juxtapose faces and masks, shifting orientations of figures and heads—human and animal—into profiles to the left, to the right, above, and below. The direction of the head, as face or profile, leading right or left, or facing front, is played against the relative scale of each head, its position on the canvas, and its relationship to the others.  The faces evoke subtle expressions and moods. Rather than using images to depict a concrete story, Gentry releases his experiences upon the canvas. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Mr. Gentry was raised in Harlem during the highly creative Harlem Renaissance period. He served as a member of the Armed Forces in World War II, and his early commitment to art was confirmed upon his return to Paris in 1946, where he studied painting.

Three Gallery Exhibitions, September 9 – through November 30, 2023

Abstraction @ David Klein Gallery

Together & Apart: A Legacy of Abstraction at the David Klein Gallery, Detroit.

An installation shot from the opening of Together & Apart: A Legacy of Abstraction at the David Klein Gallery in Detroit, up through July 22.  All images courtesy of David Klein Gallery

The abstract revolution that rocked New York City and the art world in the late 40s and 50s was, famously, a mostly male affair — in the popular narrative, at least, a testosterone-fueled explosion of masculine energy and creativity.

Except, of course, there were women working in abstraction and producing epic work at the same time, like Lee Krasner, Louise Nevelson or Helen Frankenthaler. They just didn’t get the headlines, a phenomenon Mary Gabriel explores at length in her 2018 book, “Ninth Street Women.”

Rebutting the notion that abstraction and machismo are connected at the hip, the David Klein Gallery in Detroit is hosting Together & Apart: A Legacy of Abstraction, which will be up through July 22. The Klein show spotlights four artists – Elise Ansel, Caroline Del Giudice, Alisa Henriquez and Rosalind Tallmadge. (The title, Together and Apart, comes from a Virginia Woolf short story from 1925 that explored artistic affinity among several women friends.)

“In the history of American art,” said gallery director Christine Schefman, “the New York school is where abstraction happened, with all those macho guys – DeKooning, Pollack, and so on.   There were women there, and some of them became quite successful,” she added, “but they were definitely secondary to the men. The men were the geniuses.”

The women on display at David Klein pursue very different paths, from painting-and-collage to welded steel geometric forms, to name two. Drawing from different genres was, of course, part of the fun of pulling the show together, but Schefman says the women work well in unison, with their differing visions bumping up against one another. “They all have,” Schefman said, stopping for a second to pick the right phrase, “a feminine take. When you see their work together, there’s a certain harmony.”

Rosalind Tallmadge, Oberon, Mica, glass beads, sumi ink, Caplain gold leaf and sequin fabric on panel, 60-inch diameter, 2023.

Brooklyn artist Rosalind Tallmadge works with the most-exotic materials in the show, including mica, glass beads, Caplain gold leaf and sequin fabric. The majority of these works-on-panel are round, giving the distinct impression of alien worlds seen from outer space — deeply fissured and cratered landscapes with a dull metallic glint, both otherworldly and surprising.

A 2015 graduate of Cranbrook, Tallmadge was featured in that institution’s 2021 retrospective, With Eyes Opened: Cranbrook Academy of Art since 1932. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn. She was the subject of a solo show, Terrain, at David Klein in 2021.

Elise Ansel, Obsidian Butterfly II, Oil on linen, 50 x 44 inches, 2022.

 As an undergrad at Brown University, Elise Ansel fell back in love with Old Master paintings of the sort she’d seen as a child at the Frick Collection in New York City, and their drama and grandeur inspired her contemporary abstract oil-on-linen canvases – albeit reinterpreted and stripped of all figurative and narrative elements.

All the same, these canvases pack much the same emotional and visual drama, which Ansel, who got her MFA at Southern Methodist University, pumps up with deft use of color, and gestural forms that often appear to be in motion.

In editing out stories from great masterpieces, Ansel universalizes the pieces, broadening their possible meanings. She also, perhaps, feminizes the great masterpieces of yore, at once creating images both subtle and evocative – with not a Great Man in sight.

“I realized that these exquisite paintings were presented from the male point of view—as if that was the only one that mattered,” Ansel told Boston Magazine in 2022. With force and delicacy, the Maine-based artist succeeds in subverting the art-historical male gaze.

Caroline Del Giudice, Twirl III, Powder-coated steel, 24 x 29 x 25 inches, 2023.

 Caroline Del Giudice, another Cranbrook grad, is a Detroit-based artist with a metalworking studio in Redford where she crafts a range of welded-steel sculptures. The three brightly colored distorted arches that greet you as you enter read as massive, heavy objects – even though they’re actually only two feet tall and just a bit wider.

Each sports a great colored, slightly reflective surface  – crimson, purple and yellow, respectively – that’s kind of magnetic, looking very much like some industrial product of the highest order. And while their shapes describe a rounded arch of sorts, the geometry has been stretched, as it were, with one leg of the broken circle a step behind the other.

This contradicts your first assumption that these must be circular forms, at the same time that the staggered legs invest the structures with much greater visual stability. You could knock over a regular arch. Not these constructs. They stand their ground.

Alisa Henriquez, Sweet Nothings (detail), Acrylic, oil, digital prints, fabric and glitter on canvas, 63 x 53 inches, 2023.

Alisa Henriquez, who teaches at Michigan State University and got her MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, in some ways gives us the most obviously feminine works in the whole show. At least, that’s the case with Sweet Nothings, in which a woman’s eye and fingers with painted nails play starring roles in this absorbing collage. The eye, in particular, is hard to avoid – just off-center and nicely done up in mascara, it stares out at the viewer with a questioning gaze that feels just a little sad.

In all six of her painted collages, Henriquez mixes colors with abandon, sketching out geometric objects and oddball shapes that often overlap or bleed into one another. These are crowded, active works – each quadrant, cut from the rest, could be a freestanding painting. In that sense there’s no real center, more of an intriguingly disordered visual universe.

Elise Ansel, Rosy Fingered Dawn, Oil on linen, 44 x 50 inches, 2022.

Together & Apart: A Legacy of Abstraction will be at Detroit’s David Klein Gallery through July 22.

Outside Work: Faculty Exhibition @ OUAG

Outside Work: Faculty Exhibition at Oakland University Department of Art and Art History

Installation view of Outside Work featuring Black Marquee, The Wild Bunch by Ryan Stanfest, and Getting Golder by Lindsey Camelio.  All images courtesy of Ashley Cook

The promotional material for Outside Work at Oakland University Art Gallery includes an image of an organic object with a form similar to a bone or a piece of wood, lending itself to preconceptions that the exhibition would be focused on the natural outside world. Realizing upon visiting the work that this piece by David Lambert is a series of spoons carved from a native sycamore tree could pique the interest of nature lovers. The rest of the work, however, undermines from this assumption that nature is the consistent focus and quickly clarifies that what we have is a group of works by the faculty of the university done outside of their work within the Department of Art and Art History. Dick Goody is the director of the gallery and a Professor of Art at Oakland University; curated into the show are fourteen of his oil paintings along with other works of art by Claude Baillargeon, Meaghan Barry, Lindsey Camelio, Dho Yee Chung, Satareh Ghoreishi, David Lambert, Colleen Ludwig, Karen McGarry, Maria Smith Bohannon, Ryan Standfest and Cody VanderKaay.

Maria Smith Brohannon, Emily uses Dashes, Glichee on canvas, 2022.

Visitors are first welcomed with a poster by Maria Smith Bohannon, who is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design. This poster Emily uses Dashes places a strong focus on the poetic punctuation practices of Emily Dickinson in order to soften the heavy statistics of climate change that are peppered around the poetry. Eight conceptual maps by Karen McGarry are presented along the adjacent wall and then a second piece by Bohannon, Emily is Hopeful. The maps entitled These Places Thus Far by McGarry, who is a Lecturer in Art, utilize collage as the primary technique to touch on her experiences living in different places throughout her life as a student and arts educator, including Detroit, Chicago, New York, Oxford, Singapore, Dublin, Cincinnati and Los Angeles.

Dho Yee Chung, The Room Series, mixed digital media, 2022.

Works by Assistant Professors of Graphic Design Dho Yee Chung and Lindsey Camelio differ from each other despite both using digital media as their means of production. Dho Yee Chung’s triptych The Room Series uses surrealist compositions, missing ceilings and floors, animated walls, and translucent floating forms to depict the control of human labor within a digital workspace. Camelio embraces elements of surrealism too, but with the objective of exploring a realm between luxury and everyday life through odd combinations of subject, pattern, color, and form. A strong focus on color and form is also at play in the work across the room by Cody VenderKaay who is an Associate Professor of Art, the Director of the Studio Art Program, and a sculptor. These abstract red and blue towers are in fact made of pine despite them looking like plastic. This carries over as well to the gray wall works they frame, which are shaped and primed birch.

Cody VanderKaay, Lodestone (Roulette) and Lodestone (High Dive) made of shaped and painted pine, Untitled (Subliminal Landscape) made of shaped and primed birch, 2022.

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design Satareh Ghoreishi and Assistant Professor of Art Ryan Standfest encourage us to consider the impacts of Covid-19 on consumerism around the world. The two works by Ghoreishi focus on the massive influx of online shopping that took place during the onset of the pandemic through her sculptural assemblages that combine contemporary shipping boxes and fashion items with personal items from years ago. The 3D collages by Standfest highlight the unfortunate impact that the pandemic has had on our ability to gather together in physical spaces. He touches on this through the display of two abandoned movie theater facades and a watercolor painting of a rundown marquee. Sharing the same space is Associate Professor of Art Colleen Ludwig’s crocheted fiber and mushroom root sculptures Saccu 1 and Saccu 2. They use the superorganism mycelium to test its ability to merge with fiber with the aim of discovering the potential for new habitat designs to house small creatures within the natural world. This work has a very particular concentration that combines biology with creative production similar to Untitled (Spoons) by Lecturer in Art David Lambert, who uses the tradition of spoon making from his Scots/Irish ancestry to produce these seven forms that teeter on the line between concept and function.

David Lambert, Untitled (Spoons), sycamore, 2020.

The long-standing painting practice of Dick Goody holds a place in this show alongside Professor of Art History Claude Baillargeon’s ink-jet prints entitled Memorial Monuments of Racial Terror, The Equal Justice Initiative (EIJ) Community Remembrance Project, and A Knight of Columbus Facing Justice. These photographs represent the Equal Justice Institute and its work in confronting the history of racism in the United States as a way of healing and achieving justice. And finally, the Department of Art and Art History Chair Meaghan Berry introduces her graphic design firm Unsold Studio through the presentation of six posters that were commissioned by the Michigan Opera Theatre’s 2021-2022 season In MOTion. These promotional designs were made for each performance in the season and visually communicated a freshness through the sense of motion with the goal of not only continuing to attract long-time attendees but new audiences as well.

Meaghan Barry, In MOTion: A visual identity system for Michigan Opera Theatre’s 2021-2022 Season, 2021.

The professional and personal concerns of the artists are represented through the work they chose to include in this group exhibition. Outside Work successfully highlights the dynamics at play within the Department of Art and Art History and makes it clear that each of these artists sustains a studio practice and active professional career in the world of art and design in addition to their position as an educator, which is an essential trait to the faculty of any distinguished university.

Outside Work at Oakland University Art Gallery opened on January 12 and is on view until April 2, 2023.   You can learn more at


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