Category Archives: Dennis A Nawrocki

45 Carole Harris


Born Detroit, 1943 / BFA, Wayne State University / Lives in Detroit

Carole Harris modestly describes her art practice as “that of a fiber artist working primarily in the art quilt tradition.” Yet very few of her quilts are “traditional,” four-cornered, or intended to swaddle, wrap, or warm one on a cold winter’s night. Rather, they are wall hangings, even “constructions” or assemblages—albeit crafted of soft, supple materials—often of a strikingly eccentric outline far from the standard rectilinear form.

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41 Tylonn J. Sawyer

Born Detroit, 1976 / BFA, Eastern Michigan University / MFA, New York Academy of Art, Graduate School of Figurative Art / Lives in Detroit

Visibility, accessibility, ambitious scale, and industrious zeal are some of the constituent hallmarks of Tylonn Sawyer’s activist art and life. Such attributes are readily apparent in his very public, very large, Detroit-centric Whole Foods Mural of 2013. Drawing upon Marshall Fredericks’ iconic Spirit of Detroit sculpture, Sawyer reinvents Fredericks’ hero as a young, African-American lad with empty palms (freed of Fredericks’ fusty totems of god and family) who, while awaiting new symbols to cross his palms, glances over a colorful, agricultural grid on the left, and a tidy, green, aerial urban view on the right.  Continue reading

38 Patrick Burton


Born Detroit / BFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; MLS University of Detroit / Lives in Detroit

“perchance,” “we two,” “yesterdays,” and “wouldja wouldja” are a few of the words that embellish and echo across Patrick Burton’s richly ornate paintings. Their plaintive and conditional overtones urge a viewer—albeit in low key, lower case font—to wonder: “perchance” what? “we two” who? “wouldja wouldja” do what? Nestled here and there (center top or bottom, lower or upper right) and incised or raised slightly above the surface, these messages are of a piece with the soft, silvery pastels and three dimensional blossoms, hearts, leaves, fronds, and vines that proliferate across Burton’s low relief compositions. Continue reading

35 S. Kay Young


Born Manchester, Tennessee, 1952/Studied College for Creative Studies, Detroit/Lives in Detroit, Michigan

I’ve been a tree-hugger all my life,” recalls S. Kay Young, a long-time venerator of the natural world (and primarily of her Michigan environs). Of Cherokee descent, she describes herself as an “urban Indian” who became enamored of photography from an early age, Continue reading

31 Jo Powers


Born Detroit 1951/BFA Wayne State University; MFA Syracuse University, NY/Lives Royal Oak, Michigan

Soundlessly, without stirring a ripple, a woman glides into view in Jo Powers’ Lake, the painter’s haunting self-portrait of 1993. Garbed in pink and borne on a watery expanse of azure, she drifts, Ophelia-like, calm, composed, and with eyes wide open, all-seeing. Continue reading

22 Marie Woo


Born Seattle Washington, 1928  / BA University of Washington, Seattle, MFA Cranbrook  / Lives in West Bloomfield, Michigan

Among the multiple roles Marie Woo has essayed in the course of her career—ceramist, curator, researcher, Asian clay historian, alchemist of glazes, conceptual photographer—one of the most vital was her involvement in the genesis of Clay Ten. Continue reading

10 Nicole Macdonald


Born Detroit, 1978 / BA, University of Michigan / Lives in Detroit

Detroit and its environs have been at the forefront of Nicole Macdonald’s art since her natal street art forays in the late 1990s right up to her current, now seasoned pursuit of Motor City subjects. As filmmaker, tagger, collagist, painter, and muralist, her practice has segued from anonymous to public interventions, from local to national topics, and from inner to outward direction in subject, format, and ambition. Early on, for instance, to intrigue viewers, she described the imagery of her collages as “the best places you’ll never see,” whereas an expansive 2014 declaration professed: “The whole point is to reach people.  I’ve done a lot of things where it’s just for myself or a particular event. The intention [now] is I want all Detroiters to be interested and engaged.”

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06 Kathryn Brackett Luchs


Born Detroit, 1950 / BFA, MFA, University of Michigan / Lives in Lewiston, Michigan

Kathryn Brackett Luchs has been making big, odd-couple “hybrids” (her preferred term) since the late eighties, often pairing plywood and glassine, canvas and photographs, hard and soft, sturdy and fragile as her signature practice. As such, her work challenges the conventions of modest scale, tautness, framing, and single sheets of paper associated with the print medium (which she in fact teaches at the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design). Her combinations have instead been conspicuously expansive and enveloping, imposingly large, and relentlessly experimental in execution and appearance. In her studio multiple compositions are usually underway simultaneously.

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03 Melanie Manos

cabinet thinker

Born Detroit, 1964 / BA, University of California at Los Angeles / MFA, University of Michigan / Lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan

To date, Melanie Manos has scrunched into the upper shelves of walk-in closets; inserted her body between exposed wall studs; inhabited the interiors of defunct, doorless refrigerators; squeezed into rolling metal utility cabinets; ducked into niches and crevasses of attics; walked the rafters; clambered up, over, and down interior walls; climbed the exteriors of multistoried buildings; and, most recently, shinnied into the upper reaches of gigundo, sequoia-sized tree trunks. A number of Manos’s intrepid feats have been achieved digitally or on video and, surprisingly perhaps, beget as potent a reflexive audience reaction—fear, unease, release—as her literal, physical performances. She is indeed the consummate interdisciplinary artist who works in performance, digital media, and installation, exhibiting not only nationally but internationally.

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