Born Royal Oak, MI, 1983 / BFA Wayne State University / Lives in Detroit
Encountering Scott Berels’ work feels like a meditation on the nature of nature, a practice whose foremost concern is observation, drawing inspiration from the physical world to contemplate the phenomenon of being. Approaching 40, the painter and sculptor has already devoted half of his life to visual art, creating for his own enjoyment while also undertaking commissions for large-scale public sculptures. In each stage of his career, he has skillfully investigated materiality and the rituals of creation. But Berels doesn’t simply pause to marvel when considering nature’s ontology, he also probes its linguistic consistency to understand the messages it conveys. Through repetition and tessellations, patterns and geometric forms, the artist engages what he calls “an ancestral language,” the grammar of the ineffable that speaks through stone formations, a grove of trees, or “the brush of a plant’s frond over dry soil.”
Born Tegucigalpa, Honduras (date unknown) / B.A. and MFA., Visual Arts, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada / Lives in Beverly Hills, MI
To sit down with Cherry Wood is to notice his poise and calm, traits that serve the observational interdisciplinary artist well. His voluminous output spans photography, drawing, painting, and performance, and has recently evolved to include time-based media, such as film and experimental music, as well. Through this approach, he explores race, language, geographic borders, sexuality, and identity. The Honduran-born creative is also the founder and publisher of Barbed Magazine, which has spotlighted LGBTQ, Black, Asian, Latinx, and other underrepresented artists in Metro Detroit since 2014.
Precious Johnson-Arabitg is an artist, writer, dancer, and collector. Born in the American South, she began her journey into the arts during college where she discovered Argentine tango and soon thereafter undertook a two-year ethnography exploring the dance’s history and gender politics. Precious holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in legal studies from the University of Illinois-Springfield. Her research and writing interests include intersections between deconstruction and nondualism; the construction of self; and critical theory in contemporary art practice.