Envision: The Michigan Artists Initiative Exhibit 

On Display at The University of Michigan’s Stamps Gallery Through January 22, 2022

Stamps gallery director Srimoyee Mitra speaks about the work of program award winner Nayda Collazo-Llorens. Photo by Mia Risberg.

By Mia Risberg

In March of 2021, a new call for art, specifically for Michigan creatives, was announced.

This exciting new awards program; Envision,The Michigan Artists Initiative, was organized by the University of Michigan’s Stamps Gallery

Stamps’ website describes how the initiative is “designed to support the development of contemporary artists living and working in Michigan. This inaugural program recognizes the creativity, rigor, and innovation of Michigan-based artists and collaboratives…and honors their role in inspiring the next generations of artists in our state.” 

The call for art drew 259 applicants, demonstrating the breadth of creativity in our state, as well as the interest in the program. A jury committee, comprised of Carla Acevedo-Yates, Curator, MCA Chicago; Ken Aptekar (BFA ’73), Artist; and Loring Randolph (BFA ’04), Director, Frieze New York, gathered virtually to review the submissions. 

Five finalists were chosen and their work is now on view at the gallery. 

Gallery director, Srimoyee Mitra, has been bringing impactful and socially relevant exhibits to the gallery, and this exhibit is no exception. The space offers the five artists a mini solo exhibit (of sorts) that showcases their diverse practice and talents. 

A gallery visitor in front of Michael Dixon’s sculpture. Photo by Mia Risberg.

The Five Featured Artists

The work of interdisciplinary artist Nayda Collazo-Llorens “examines the way in which we perceive and process information, dealing with concepts of navigation, memory, language, hyperconnectivity and noise”. In her compelling installation you are invited to walk around several large animated screens that mesmerize you. (Website: naydacollazollorens.com) 

Artist Michael Dixon has a series of colorful oil paintings, a large playful sculpture, and a dramatic video installation, all engaging yet provocative. Drawing from childhood memories, he “explores the personal, societal, and aesthetic struggles of belonging to both “white” and “black” racial and cultural identities, yet simultaneously belonging fully to neither” (Website: michaeldixonart.com) 

Carole Harris, is a fiber artist. In her work she “extends the boundaries of traditional quilting by exploring other forms of stitchery, irregular shapes, textiles, materials, and objects”. The results are beautifully colored and textured wall pieces that reflect her personal explorations with textile materials. (Website: charris-design.com) 

Kylie Lockwood is an interdisciplinary artist “whose work reconciles the experience of living in a female body with the history of sculpture”. Her sculptural work and photographs on show all imbue the complex female experience with a quiet strength. (Website: kylielockwood.com) 

The Envision exhibit is currently on view (through January 22, 2022) at the Stamps gallery. Photo by Mia Risberg.

Artist Darryl Terrell shares a very personal and striking video installation and series of photographs. This work “explores the displacement of black and brown people, femme identity, and strength, the black family structure, sexuality, gender, safe spaces, and personal stories through photography and digital art”. (Website: darryldterrell.com)

On December 10th, the gallery announced Nayda Collazo-Llorens as the winner of the 2021 Envision award and recipient of the $5000 cash prize. You can visit the gallery website to hear her and the other artists speak briefly about their work. 

Additional opportunities to connect with the artists will be provided, click on the links below for more information.

Envision runs from November 12, 2021 to January 22, 2022.  The exhibit is open to the public and free of charge. It will also eventually travel to different venues, including the Crooked Tree Art Center in Traverse City. 

Penny Stamps Gallery, 201 South Division Street, Ann Arbor https://stamps.umich.edu/events/envision