Wonders unfold in '(Extra) Ordinary Paper'

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published March 6, 2018

 Zena Carnaghi, of Grosse Pointe Shores, received top honors in "(Extra) Ordinary Paper" for her collage, "The Poplars."

Zena Carnaghi, of Grosse Pointe Shores, received top honors in "(Extra) Ordinary Paper" for her collage, "The Poplars."

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

 Detroit artist Jack O. Summers was awarded an honorable mention in "(Extra) Ordinary Paper" for "Mixed Company," one of dozens of works in a series of the same name by Summers.

Detroit artist Jack O. Summers was awarded an honorable mention in "(Extra) Ordinary Paper" for "Mixed Company," one of dozens of works in a series of the same name by Summers.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

FARMS — It’s something we largely take for granted, but artists have found the beauty and creative possibility inherent in paper in the new exhibition “(Extra) Ordinary Paper,” on display through March 25 at Grosse Pointe Congregational Church in Grosse Pointe Farms.

“This exhibition celebrates the ordinary in life,” explained artist Lori Zurvalec, of Grosse Pointe City, chair of GPCC’s Arts Ministry Committee, in a statement about the show. “Paper is one of those items we don’t usually see, even though we use and touch paper many times a day. In this exhibition, artists demonstrate the versatility of paper — as a foundation, as the means of creation in collage, or even as art itself.”

Artist and art educator Deborah Maiale, of Grosse Pointe Woods, juried the exhibition and named Zena Carnaghi’s collage, “The Poplars,” as the first-prize winner. Kathleen McNamee, of Grosse Pointe Farms, received second prize for her oil on Arches paper painting, “Primary Colors (After Giacometti)”; Carol LaChiusa, of Grosse Pointe Farms, received third prize for her watercolor, “The Delta”; and honorable mentions were awarded to Danny Rebb, of Dearborn, for the photo “Past Postings”; Jack O. Summers, of Detroit, for the mixed media work, “Mixed Company”; and Julie Strabel, of Grosse Pointe Park, for the watercolor inks painting, “Rebirth.”

Carnaghi, of Grosse Pointe Shores, created her work with a combination of handmade paper, different types of paper and different kinds of inks. She said that “The Poplars” is a nod to the poplar-lined streets that her family drove along to visit her cousins in the country when she was a young girl.

“I take my inspiration from my personal life — events that I have experienced, places that I have visited, people (I know) and stories I have heard,” Carnaghi said. “I remember these trees from my childhood. When the breeze blows through the poplar leaves, it makes a special sound.”

LaChiusa said “The Delta” was painted at a location near the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

“The colors are so unusual,” she said of the unique landscape, which she captured using a triad — a limited palette of colors that are combined to create all of the colors in the painting.

Summers’ “Mixed Company” is from an artwork series of the same name.

“I’m using things I have collected (over the years),” he explained of the collages, which incorporate everything from comic book to fine art reproductions. “I like to mix different individuals, different themes, different situations … so that (the viewer) can look at things in a variety of ways.”

The work “Mixed Company” features a comic book character seemingly engaged in a fight with a classical sculpture. Summers said he enjoys combining “the sacred and the profane” in these pieces.

“There’s so much fighting going on in the world (right now),” he said. “This is my take on things.”

Rebb — in only his second juried art exhibition — was honored for a photo he took of a bulletin board of tattered notices to prisoners at the old Detroit House of Corrections shortly before the long-vacant building was demolished. He said he was drawn to the bulletin board because he found a “real human quality” in the postings.

“I shoot urban archaeology,” Rebb said. “I try to find beauty where beauty is not expected to be found.”

Strabels’ piece is an abstract that uses layers of ink to create unexpected colors and patterns.

“I love doing it,” she said of this technique. “I’m an experimental artist, and I was playing outside with sprays and a hose and dyes.”

Other artists in the show include Zurvalec; Deborah Benedic, of Chesterfield Township; Winnie Chrzanowski and Edward Marsh, of Royal Oak; Nobuko Yamasaki, of Grosse Pointe Shores; Isabelle Goosen and Bette Prudden, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Julie Sabit, of Harper Woods; Jack Frakes and Tamm Whitty, of Grosse Pointe Park; and Mary Stebbins Taitt, of Grosse Pointe Farms.

Grosse Pointe Congregational Church is located at 240 Chalfonte Ave. Public hours for the exhibition are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays, or by appointment. For more information or to make an appointment to see the exhibit, call (313) 884-3075 or email arts@gpcong.org. For additional information, visit www.gpcong.org.