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[Published on November 21, 2014]

Just a few minutes past six, I was in a bit of a hurry to catch nineteenth and twentieth century nude photography, prints and paintings at Galerie Camille off Cass Avenue before I ventured to the other side of the city. A few couples were already present when I arrived so I began with the first piece and made my way around the exhibit. Photographer/2011 Kresge Fellow Bruce Giffin arrived soon after and his voice filled the interior as he spoke with artist/Camille owner Adnan Charara about a recent finding.

Echoes subsided as a small group formed and migrated to Adnan’s studio in the back but I fell into the shadows and floral arrangement behind a seated woman photographed around 1900. Other Art Nouveau images lined the gallery walls with a splendor I felt appropriate to quench with a glass of wine before moving toward a perpendicular wall. On it was an etching by Reginald Marsh from 1939, which depicted a cheerful scene of Coney Island Beach and maintained a trance-like effect until I concluded my sips needed to be smaller.

Before entering a smaller wing of the gallery, I overheard educator/animator/director Gary Schwartz comment on the recent celebranon (celebrity + phenomenon) of editing bizarre proportions. There was no need to deny the outrageous demand for attention, which was why I concurred, grabbed a snack and headed to a less populated area of the gallery. This significantly smaller but cozier wing was the place I met Charara’s wife. Though several years were between us, we shared the value of introversion and nourishment of one’s craft no matter how much time filled periods of inactivity or absence of direction.

By this time, artist/MONA owner Jef Bourgeau arrived with news of an upcoming show for Erwin Olaf. A short while later, Bruce reemerged in the main gallery so we discussed our next destination on the evening’s agenda, which happened to be 1550 Winder where Paula Schubatis was on display.

An energetic tone for the show was triggered by an enormous inflatable giant swaying and flopping outside the entrance for “FARE”—the title of Schubatis’ solo exhibition. From textile layers to hanging installations and down a corridor of found material lighting, exceptional statements were established with found materials. As a fiber artist and painter, she was motivated by breaking down conventional methods of creating and comprehending one’s surroundings through reconstruction of resources uncovered in Detroit.

Across the street, Matthew Eaton curated cycle nine of artists who hailed from and expressed fondness for Detroit. Dotting of red over the spread of paintings by Dino “Ramen” Valdez unveiled livelihood he incited through lissome movement of colors and lines. He also worked with Nick Pizana whose vivid interpretations of violence propelled a thunderous presence both collaboratively and independently. When the swelling number of bodies prevented a clear view of the “Veil” series by Brach Goodman, my patience wore thin and my departure was eminent.

On my way out, I found painter Bruce Lehto and wife/photographer/filmmaker Barb Lehto with artist James Dozier and photographer/555 Chair David Lingle. Catching up with familiar faces about recent projects distracted from the overwhelming amount of people until I felt a transition take place. The pendulum of my attention swung between claustrophobia to faintness from hunger so I bid farewell and squeezed through the mass of people.

[Published on November 19, 2014]

About an hour into the “Quest 4 Visions” opening, red dots sprinkled the collection of Sanda Cook at the Pittman-Puckett Gallery in Ferndale. “Starscape” grabbed my attention instantly on the eastern wall, but I wanted to follow the hypnotic effect of her work in numerical order. I also didn’t want to interrupt her interview with Steve Lloyd, so I started with the western wall.

Allusions to graffiti and collaging felt most prominent in “Protection” but light and layering bound together Cook’s engagement with experiences of emotional and astrological sorts. “Soul Retrieval” was a gripping example of how curiously she characterized her observations of people. Variations of human shapes and landscapes left little room to inaccurately predict the success of the Romanian artist’s exhibit.

The western wall hosted larger pieces of equally expressive magnitude. “Galleon” delivered solemn emotions where red slashes forged a macabre naval craft. “Love Letter” entertained issues of distraction and clarity when unveiling a message of value. Perhaps for this reason, it resembled the troublesome fuzziness of images of dated televisions when their antennas were improperly coordinated.

In the midst of observing “Cosmos” I met Skip Davis and photographer/potter Rose Lewandowski who appreciated a co-designed, two-toned, asymmetrical trench coat I donned by Randal Jacobs. Before and after years of neglecting her imaginative self for the sake of motherhood, honing her craft in pottery and image making came with a natural purity. She met Cook at a show in March of 2014 and they have since fueled each other’s creative fervor. After flipping through a few pages of Lewandowski’s portfolio, Cook greeted me with jubilance and I held no restriction of praising her visual assortment but focused particular attention to “Starscape.”

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