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September 19, 2012

Grosse Pointe Art Center’s Member’s Show includes nearly 100 artists

By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Rosemary Bay of Grosse Pointe Farms has a salt-fired stoneware piece called “Triton” in the Grosse Pointe Art Center’s 74th annual Member’s Show, on display through Oct. 13.

GROSSE POINTE CITY — If you want to know what the Grosse Pointe Art Center is all about, the Member’s Show is a good place to start.

The 74th annual Member’s Show — which opened with a public reception Sept. 14 — features work in a wide range of media, from oil and watercolor paintings to photographs to ceramics to woodblock prints and more. From serious pieces to those with more whimsical flair, and from abstract works to ones steeped in realism, the work demonstrates the many different styles practiced by GPAC members.

GPAC Director Amy DeBrunner said there are 98 artists in this show, 12 of whom are submitting work for the first time.

“The word is getting out,” DeBrunner told attendees at the opening reception. “We’re growing.”

Unlike a regular GPAC exhibit, the Member’s Show features one piece by each artist who submitted something, rather than having a juror cull from among the submissions. Because of the large number of artists who submitted works, DeBrunner said they were only able to include one apiece.

Also unlike a typical exhibit, there isn’t a best-in-show award. Instead, a series of special awards were given out in various media. Bette Prudden of Grosse Pointe Woods received an honor in the watercolor/pastel category for her pastel, “Superior.” In mixed media, Jan Filarski of Ray Township won for “Bells & Whistles,” and in photography, Tom Kliber of Grosse Pointe Woods won for “A View of Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.”

In the new member/first time submitter category, Amelia Kanan of Grosse Pointe City won for the photograph, “My Kind of Rainbow.” In the 3-D category, Corey Scillian of Grosse Pointe Park won for her ceramic, “This & this, but not that,” a piece the artist said was “fairly cynical.” In oil/acrylic, Amy Fell-Burford of Novi won for her oil painting, “Relay.”

There were also several sponsored awards. Patrice Erickson of Rochester Hills received the Jocelyn Dombrowski Award for the oil, “Standing Watch.” The Posterity Gallery Award went to Dana Kaiser of Grosse Pointe Farms for her photograph, “Drift.” Kelly O’Hara of St. Clair Shores got an award from Yoga Shelter for her acrylic, “The Last Alleyway in the City of 509.” The Rainy Day Framing and Art Supplies Award went to George Bay of Grosse Pointe Farms for his mixed media work, “Tribes of NW Coast.”

Bay’s polychromed and inlaid wooden paddle features the names of tribes from Alaska to Washington State that he said are “the best artists.”

“There’s a certain amount of tribes that do artwork that is absolutely beautiful,” he said.

Bay’s piece features not only a map with the names of the tribes, but also a series of totems, including an owl with a man’s face and a snake trying to collapse a frog. A saying from Salish tribe member Morning Dove is included as well. Bay has a longstanding interest in the culture and artwork of America’s native peoples, and this piece reflects that.

His wife, Rosemary Bay, is also a talented artist, and she has a salt-fired stoneware piece in the show, “Triton.” Salt is introduced into the kiln — which is heated to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit — and it combines with silica in the clay to create the glazing, she explained. Her passion for nature is evident in her art.

“I love organic forms,” Rosemary Bay said. “I love sea forms. This is one of my anemones.”

Daren Dundee of Clinton Township creates work with found objects that has a sense of humor.

“You see so much art that is traumatizing,” he said. “Why not have art that brings a smile?”

Dundee’s “Tough Nut to Crack” is a hand-cranked “tool” that never quite splits open a walnut.

“This is sort of how we go through life,” he said of his metaphorical piece. “We reach these nuts and we try to crack them.”

The artist said he scours flea markets for material for his work, including rusty tools and other items that might be discarded. He said he starts on a new piece when he gathers enough elements to work with.

“The real challenge is what would make sense to put it all together,” Dundee said.

Charmaine Kaptur of Grosse Pointe Park captures the quiet splendor of Lake St. Clair in an unexpected way in the watercolor collage, “River Ice Jam,” which features handmade paper and torn pieces from older watercolors by the artist. She said the piece is part of a series she created focusing on lake ice. The series was in memory of her mother, who died 30 years ago in January; Kaptur said ice chunks on the shoreline that bitter winter were piled 5-6-feet high.

“In the winter, I drive along the lake every day, and in the winter, the ice changes constantly,” she said. “Ice jams have always been one of my favorite subjects.”

The GPAC’s members all bring different styles and visions to their work. Artist Hala Besmar of Grosse Pointe Farms, who heads a children’s art program at the GPAC, said pieces in this show are “really unique, really interesting.”

“This year, because of the 75th anniversary (of the Grosse Pointe Artists Association) coming up, people really went out of their way to come up with something (special),” Besmar said.

The Member’s Show is on display through Oct. 13.

Work by the Reckless Prophets, an artist collective of fine artists and poets, is on display as well.

The GPAC is now located at 17051 Kercheval in the Village. Gallery hours are noon-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call (313) 881-3454, email gpaa@grossepointeartcenter.org or visit www.grossepointeartcenter.org.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer K. Michelle Moran at kmoran@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1047.