[Published on InsouciantWriting.com September 18, 2014]
The warmth of the exhibit United States at The Scarab Club made me feel completely at ease with not having more than three sweater options (and forgetting my camera) before I wandered downtown. As soon as I turned the corner from the shallow steps of the club’s entrance, one of several oil and wood pieces by Matthew Breneau gripped my eyes. While using the price list as a sort of narrator for my first Scarab experience, I felt very appreciative of serenity incited by Jeanne Bieri’s act of curating work by Meighen and Bill Jackson, Julie S. and Michael Mahoney, and Renee Dooley and Breneau.
As I continued, the subjects and sizes of Bill Jackson’s photography projected a hearty appreciation for the busy life outside of the concrete and steel mazes of urbanization. After noting dignified energy from the oil depictions of Julie S. and Michael Mahoney, and briefly observing Julie float amiably and majestically from one side of the venue to another, I fell victim for a few moments to the captivation of Meighen Jackson’s West Wind 1, 2 and 3. Her distinct use of ink reminded me of a piece she submitted for the Detroit Artists Market’s August show. However, an up-close view of her capacity to harness mixed media with her signature flair gave many of us in attendance a feast for the eyes.
Down the street at the Detroit Artists Market, this month’s Abstraction and Landscape: Contemporary Woodcuts also served plenty to eat in textures, themes, colors and ambience. What initially caught me off guard was the spirited installment on silk and cotton saris by Teresa Cole, which hovered from an overhanging grid. There was something otherworldly about the woodblock and collaging techniques of Amanda Lilleston while woodcut in reduction by Geodele Peeters gently forced eyes to move up, down, across and around each statement of how water can influence its surroundings and vice versa. Parallel to the work of Peeters was a collection of Landscape[s] crafted by Susan Goethel Campbell.
It wasn’t until I grabbed a glass of wine that I made my way to Campbell’s grand display of woodblock prints with perforations, which called viewers closer as they passed. From where I was standing, I couldn’t fathom why a couple was engrossed by what seemed a unique exterior view of a city. As I moved near, grains of wood gave movement to the clouds and buildings were perforated to yield a luminous dynamism. There wasn’t much time to get caught up though because I remembered after finding art extraordinaire James Dozier and painter/curator Bryant Tillman, they informed me there was more to be seen at the Ellen Kayrod Gallery of Hannan House.
On my way to see the exhibit Color, Line, Form by Diana Alva at the Kayrod Gallery, I crossed paths with a couple on the way home from DAM. We chatted briefly and I was left with a heartfelt message to call my grandmother as much as possible--a surprise to which I took heed the next day. Then I inhaled brilliant colors and wondrous compositions by Alva who quietly sat next to someone I imagined to be close a friend. In order to minimize any annoyance in being there right up to the last minute of the opening, I silently perused large and small segments of a two-year project. Seeing a title like My Cup Runeth Over made me laugh, so I thanked Alva for her humor and excellence in artistry. It was then I learned the process of creating titles for her work offered an exhilarating thrill in her creative process. I noticed and heard a shift to a more pleasant and less tired artist but I didn’t want to push my luck with any further prying so I rushed out to see what was being shown at the N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art.