All posts by Matthew Piper

37 Adam Lee Miller

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Born Indianapolis, Indiana, 1970 / BFA, College for Creatives Studies / Lives in Detroit

The Oasis Motel, a meticulous 2008 depiction of a shuttered motor lodge arrayed beneath a sky bruised by an inky, foreboding blackness, marks Adam Lee Miller’s return to painting after a nearly decade-long hiatus. The intervening years were all but consumed by ADULT., the electro band that he and his wife Nicola Kuperus formed in the late ’90s that catapulted them to the forefront of a thriving, transatlantic underground music scene. Continue reading

Essay’d Vol 1

It’s true that you can read all 100+ installments of Essay’d online, but sometimes there’s no alternative to just sitting down with a book. That’s why we partnered with Wayne State University Press to bundle essays 1-30 into a beautifully designed and illustrated volume. And you certainly can’t beat the price – $25 for a whole year’s worth of essays and 240+ illustrations.

Available at galleries and bookstores, or online via the link below:

Essay’d Volume 1 (2016) – Installments 1-30

28 Jon Strand

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Born Detroit, 1948 / BS (Education), Wayne State University / Lives in Detroit, Michigan

For Jon Strand, making art is a long-distance sport. He is a 21st century pointillist, manifesting his elaborate visions by applying layer after layer of tiny dots to paper with the use of a rapidograph (a technical pen of German manufacture). When he discusses his “ink paintings,” Strand provides an offhand but remarkably precise account of how long each takes to create: 1,874 hours for this one, 717 for that. Continue reading

17 Megan Parry

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Born Hornell, New York, 1944 Lives in Detroit and Alfred, New York

The paintings of Megan Parry are obsessed with looking. In her wry and varied visual universe, cartoonish, bald-headed figures peer at the viewer, at one another, or at obscure objects of interest that only they can see. Huge, lidless eyeballs (intimations of vast, inscrutable beings that the canvas cannot contain) hover in close-up and stare with a deranged intensity (as in Aspetto, 2008–2010), or else a kind of cosmic serenity. When Parry paints houses, their windows are often eyes: personifying, face-making. Even her multitudinous coffins and “enclosures,” isolated details of an architecture of confinement, have eyes, have windows—or if they don’t, they insistently don’t, inviting the viewer to wonder what is being kept in (or out) behind their solid walls.

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12 David Rubello

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Born Detroit, 1935 / BFA, Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma; MFA, University of Michigan / Lives in Ray, Michigan, and Palm Coast, Florida

If there are tendencies that unite what is categorically understood as “Detroit art” in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the two- and three- dimensional paintings of David Rubello stand outside of them. If Detroit art is messy, Rubello’s is meticulous. If Detroit art tends toward representation, Rubello’s insists on abstraction. If Detroit art is a reflexive interrogation of the postindustrial condition, Rubello’s formalist paintings exist in an idealized, apolitical, and ageographic universe of pure visuality, where form is content and content simply form.

Yet Rubello is a Detroit artist, and by folding him into that category, the category itself becomes enlarged, becomes more clearly connected to aesthetic traditions, both classical and modern, that continue to inform art and design worldwide. Since the late 1960s, he has experimented with line, shape, color, and perspective in an expansive, evolving body of work that retains an essential precision and verve even as it charts new territory in geometric abstraction, dimensionality, and interactivity.

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New writer – Matthew Piper

Matthew Piper is Detroit-based writer and editor with a special interest in modern and contemporary art, architecture, and urbanism. His work has been featured in Belle Isle to 8 Mile: An Insider’s Guide to Detroit, Curbed Detroit, Detroit Research, Infinite Mile, KnightArts, Model D, and the second edition of Thanks For the View, Mr. Mies. He is a co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Essay’d.