Inviting friends, sexual freedom and glass pills

. May 21, 2012.
ArtBeat

Every year the WSG Gallery on Main Street hosts its glorious 16+16 show in which the sixteen member artists invite a guest artist to exhibit with them. This year the twist is that the members were asked to invite an artist who works in the same media as they do. What it all adds up to is our town’s leading artistic talents showing off their best and most recent work. Member Middy Potter, a sculptor of found and made parts (featuring pieces from her concrete Tornado series) has invited Wendel Heers, long time sculptor of meticulously assembled stone and metal parts. Member Valerie Mann has three pieces in the exhibit from her Evening Bags for the Midwestern Woman Series, which she has been working on for more than 10 years. She draws from her vintage purse collection to study material, structure and form in fashion, celebrating it with a sense of humor. Mann’s guest is Ken Thompson. Thompson owns and operates the Flatlanders Sculpture Supply in Blissfield, MI, and more important has dozens of large-scale public sculptures in collections around the country. For the 16+16 show he has three small, exquisite bronze works from his American Dream series.

WSG member and local favorite Alvey Jones has invited Molly Marie Nuzzo. Nuzzo earned her masters degree in fine art at Eastern Michigan University and is now a lecturer there. Her paintings draw on the tradition of portraiture to explore the embodiment of queer identities and question the socially constructed standards of gender, body, beauty and legitimacy established by our silly heteronormative society and culture. I find her stuff riveting. Elaine S. Wilson is well known for her large narrative paintings that combine several views and time sequences. She always paints on site, and in the two smaller works she has in the show you will sense the immediacy, humor and tenderness she puts into her art. Elaine is currently head of the sometimes underestimated Art Department at Washtenaw Community College, where she also helps run their marvelous art gallery. She is being hosted by Connie Cronenwett, with whom I spent a fantastic evening at the Palmer House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright house in town (you can rent it for a surreal treat). I never realized that she was a member of WSG until days later. Thanks for the wine and champagne Connie! 

For this show the multi-talented Barbara Brown has constructed two wire-edged bound “hanging books.”  Her guest artist is Ellie White. Ms. White earned her bachelor’s degree in fine art at the University of Michigan School of Art&Design, and is a highly regarded photographer. But for this show she will be exhibiting a screen print and a wire-edged binding.  WSG member, Marlee Hoffman, who is showing watercolors she painted while on her travels to France, invited her daughter and former member Jennifer Thompson, also a watercolorist, but of a strikingly different style. Elizabeth Schwartz invited her daughter, Anne Harlow. Marcia Polenberg, member of the Clay Gallery across the street, will be there, but not as the guest of her husband, Ted Ramsay, a new WSG member. He is now Professor Emeritus at the UM School of A&D, but hasn’t missed a beat of artistic creativity which has spanned many decades and media. His work has one characteristic that runs throughout:  beauty.  That’s something that often gets overlooked in this foolish, post-modern world of ours.  The show runs through September 11.  www.wsg-art.com

Beverly Fishman is currently artist-in-residence and head of painting at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills.  She is also artist-in-residence as part of the Toledo Museum of Art’s Guest Artist Pavilion Project. On display through September is her installation Pill Spill, fit into the glass walls of the museum’s world famous Art Glass Pavilion.  The installation comprises 120 glass “capsules” ranging in size from 6 to 15 inches and can be seen from both the inside and outside the award winning building.  Any excuse to see the amazing TMA is a good one, and it is always free. www.toledomuseum.org. And check this space in November for info on the re-opening of the Cranbrook Museum of Art after two years of expansion and renovation.

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