All posts by Rosie Sharp

49 Marcelyn Bennett-Carpenter

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Born Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1971/BA, Wheaton College, Illinois; BFA, University of Colorado at Denver; MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art/Lives in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Marcelyn Bennett-Carpenter would like for you, the viewer, to be involved. Engagement with her work, ideally, goes beyond aesthetic appreciation; her pieces are designed for physical interaction: wearing, blowing, navigating, and especially stretching. Tension is the fundamental quality of weaving; as a fiber artist, accomplished weaver, and instructor at Cranbrook’s Kingswood Weaving and Fiber Art Studio, Bennett-Carpenter’s work is fraught with a baseline tension that is belied at first blush by soft palettes and inviting surfaces.

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44 Addie Langford

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Born Louisville, Kentucky, 1974/BFA, Rhode Island School of Design; MFA, Cranbrook/Lives in Detroit

Four years into an architectural program at RISD, Addie Langford found herself confronting a hard truth: she missed making things. All the theoretical design emphasis in her formal studies could not replace the importance of the hands-on process of creation that had always been a fundamental part of her practice.

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40 Greg Fadell

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Born Detroit, 1970 / BA, University of Michigan / Lives in Clarkston, Michigan

Greg Fadell’s work and his persona can be seen as a series of deliberate choices. The work of some artists begins and ends within the frame, but for Fadell, wall, lighting, surfaces, and gallery are just as important as the pieces he brings to hang…and all that before his attention to the forces that shape the art world itself. Every aspect of Fadell’s practice is deeply considered, even those that might read as casual or irreverent vestiges of his early pro-skater career and personal aesthetic. His body of work draws in the viewer with its ostensible simplicity, but ask an informed question and be astonished by the volubility and the substance of his answer.

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36 Ben Hall

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Born Detroit, 1977 BFA, Bennington College; MFA, Columbia University Lives in Hamtramck, Michigan

I am trying the least-hard to be an artist of anyone you’ve met,” says Ben Hall, by way of contextualizing art in the diverse constellation of his interests and responsibilities. Like most things Hall says, there are varying degrees of truth to this complicated matter. Fanatical about language, obsessive about details, and meticulous in his planning, Hall is clearly moving toward something with great determination—and that something includes receiving an MFA from one of the country’s most prestigious universities. But a deeper look at the projects and lifestyle infrastructure that Hall has constructed indicate that he is not, as he says, trying to “be an artist,” and especially not trying to make things that “look like art.” Rather, art is just one of a number of mechanisms—one with which, it must be noted, he manipulates with dexterity—that he’s using to drive toward bigger priorities. Continue reading

29 Toby Millman

 

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Born Chicago, IL 1975 / BA Hampshire College; MFA University of Michigan, Ann Arbor / Lives in Hamtramck, Michigan

Printmaker Toby Millman is not one to talk unless you are listening. Her presence, like her work, is often quite understated, indicating not a lack of depth, but confidence in what you will find when you take the time to notice. One thing you will find is a body of work that interjects quiet reflection into scenes of active conflict— Continue reading

25 Andy Malone

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Born Detroit, 1972 / Bachelor of  Architecture, University of Detroit / Lives in Royal Oak, Michigan

On the game board shelf in Andrew Malone’s living room, stuck in between Castle Blast and Where in Space is Carmen Sandiego?, is a nondescript wooden box containing a game of his own creation, called X+ (Ex-Cross). Continue reading

21 Mary Fortuna

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Born Royal Oak, 1956 / BFA, Wayne State University / Lives in Royal Oak, Michigan

Let’s begin with a few words with which Mary Fortuna does not appreciate being associated: multicultural, Arts vs. Crafts, ‘women’s art,’ and ‘art dolls.’ And a few things she is: generous, frank, inclusive, and deeply intuitive when it comes to locating source material at the very core of human existence. Continue reading

19 Michael McGillis

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Born Detroit, 1966 / BFA, College for Creative Studies / Lives in Royal Oak, Michigan

have suspected for a little while that Michael McGillis is a fulcrum between divergent layers of reality. How else to explain his uncanny ability to peel back the edges of our everyday world, to uncover hidden environments just below the surface? Taken as a whole, McGillis’s work could be seen as a kind of sculptural iteration of magical realism, where undefined or fantastic realities cohabitate within the everyday fixtures that are easily taken for granted. Whether outfitting nature with chance art encounters, like Wake (2006), or constructing immersive gallery installations that synthesize nature in a controlled setting, as with Reckoning a Peripheral Wilderness (2012), McGillis confesses to an “attraction to randomness” that draws him toward found and discarded materials as the foundation for these imagined realities.

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16 Andrew Krieger

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Born Detroit, 1967 / Lives in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan

Nostalgia is a loaded term, often associated with a sense of whitewashed reminiscence and a safe contemplation of a past effectively stripped of any alienating realities. But in the work of painter and sculptor Andy Krieger, nostalgia is a tool which leverages a personal wellspring of emotion that translates from artist to work and transmits back to the viewer, creating an enchanting body of work that evokes a sense of connection and half memory of events outside individual experience, a kind of collective ur-history. Much like the films of Richard Linklater, Krieger is a master at the transformation of the personal to the universal.

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14 Susan Goethel Campbell

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Born Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1956 / BFA, Alma College;  MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art / Lives in Huntington Woods, Michigan

Field Guide was the name of a recent show at Oakland University by Susan Goethel Campbell that included selections from several major bodies of work, spanning an array of media, including video, prints, and sculpture, and more than a decade of artistic efforts. The show’s title is fitting in many respects. First, a field guide acts as an index for the natural world, introducing the viewer to flora, fauna, and other recognizable patterns in a specific environment—which is the general subject of Campbell’s work. With various “movements” concerning air, pollen, turf, and leaf samples—to name a few—Campbell meticulously tracks the natural world at work.

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11 Lynne Avadenka

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Born Pontiac, Michigan, 1955 / BFA, MFA, Wayne State University / Lives in Huntington Woods, Michigan

“Typography is what language looks like,” says a letterpress sign hanging in Lynne Avadenka’s expansive studio space, which houses the letterpress equipment, flat files, and giant cutting tables that facilitate her work of book arts and printmaking. The visualization of language is of course a key issue for an artist who deals in typesetting as an elemental force in her work, but not more so than content, Avadenka stresses, and neither more so than the exploration of the marks made available by relief printmaking. Indeed, any given work by Avadenka may fall somewhere slightly different on a Venn diagram designating the intersection of language (content), design, and physical impact.

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08 Rose E DeSloover

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Born Monroe, Michigan, 1944 / BA, Alverno College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; MFA, Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California / Lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan

Though the vows taken by Rose E. DeSloover when she became a nun were dissolved when she left the convent fourteen years later to more freely pursue the art practice that had become her higher calling, there remains a thread of both religion and faith that runs throughout a number of her signature bodies of work.

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05 Tzarinas of the Plane

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Faina Lerman, born Riga, Latvia, 1975 / BFA, College for Creative Studies / Lives in Hamtramck, Michigan

Bridget Michael, born Detroit, 1977 / Certified Massage Therapist, Irene’s Myomassology Institute  /Lives in Hamtramck, Michigan

Is it possible to be deadly seri- ous and exceptionally playful at the same time? The work of the two-woman performance art duo Tzarinas of the Plane demon- strates the compelling outcome of total commitment to impulse and fun. Their body of work is a tour de force in performance art, managing to eschew all hint of pretension with their joyful energy and inclusive, open-ended narratives. Viewing one of their performances, the audience is imbued with a feeling of wonderment in the truest sense: the potential of untold outcomes, the complete inability to predict what will happen next, and the realization that anything is truly possible when the Tzarinas are writing the rules.

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02 Corrie Baldauf

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Born Chicago, Illinois, 1981 / BFA, Kansas City Art Institute / MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art / Lives in Detroit

It is hard to talk about Corrie Baldauf ’s work without talking about Corrie Baldauf. Fine art culture, by design or default, tends to take on an air of exclusivity and the artist persona can be steeped in irony and detachment. In this respect, Baldauf ’s personality is a breath of fresh sincerity, and her work reflects the power of optimism, a practice that Baldauf has honed for decades, though never to the point of reflexivity. “Optimism is hard work,” Baldauf will tell you.

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