[Published on InsouciantWriting.com August 5, 2014]
Guidelines for this year’s “If You Build It, They Will Come” exhibit at the Detroit Artists Market (DAM) entailed a simple framework: to create using wood. This loose but helpful restriction allowed community members and supporters of Detroit to contribute beautiful statements emphasizing texture, color and self-representation. Not only was the amount of submissions indicative of the energy bubbling in southeast Michigan, the sizable number of guests yielded stimulating conversations and a fabulous atmosphere.
After spotting Alvaro Jurado’s striking yellow sculpture (Yellow Dalia) and a gorgeous example of Reggie Singleton’s craftsmanship with shape and color (Ngoma Ond), the gallery’s atmosphere was waiting to be eaten. Encaustic wax collages by Bridget Franz spoke animated volumes through print, paint and a lovely gooey texture. These were completed with the aim of honoring timeless beauty and toying with consistency. What catapults Franz’s creative process into a realm of its own is her family’s history with the food industry, to which she pays homage by naming certain pieces (Red Sauce, Cake Frosting) after edible items she was reminded of while looking at her work.
One of the most arresting pieces on the gallery wall was Shore Line by Meighen Jackson. Although Jackson’s mixed media paintings and drawings are usually much larger than this year’s DAM submission, she admitted what was most important to her was trying something new. Her signature minimal elegance inevitably captured the imagination but newness for this artist was accomplished by using linen as the surface for her composition. As though she was communicating to viewers the importance of leaving nothing behind, Jackson even included all of the tools used to create her work as a sign of completion for her visual experiment.
From now until Friday, August 29, 2014, Detroit Artists Market doors are open to see what so many built and why so many came.