ROCHESTER — Two new exhibitions, “Animalia” and “Vic Vicini – Pop Paintings,” will open at the Paint Creek Center for the Arts with a joint reception 7-9 p.m. July 12. Both exhibitions will be on display at the PCCA, 407 Pine St., through Aug. 9.
The PCCA is turning its main gallery over to a group of eight artists — Jennifer Bostek, Jim Grogan, Matthew Hanna, Craig Hinshaw, Azucena Nava-Moreno, Dalia Reyes, Krysti Spence and Christopher Zagacki — for “Animalia,” which PCCA Director Mary Fortuna said explores the long and complex relationship humans have had with animals.
“They have these symbolic meanings and historical meanings for us, and they go way back in our history and in our culture. Some of the first things we were doing were making decorations on the walls of our caves of the animals we were hunting, so the roots go really deep,” Fortuna said.
This particular group of artists was chosen for the show because they all drew on animals for inspiration for their works in various media, including paintings, drawings and sculptures of animals, birds, insects and other creatures.
Bostek, of West Bloomfield, will bring a number of small paintings to the show, many involving sheep. In an artists’ statement, Bostek said animals think and respond to the world in ways similar to humans.
“These moments of recognition and similarity — in which a sheep settles down to pass the day, a crow examines the object at its feet, a koi rises gracefully to the surface in a pond — all are moments which bond humans to an increasingly distant natural world,” she said of her work.
Grogan, of Detroit, will show what Fortuna describes as “really beautiful, delicate, precise renderings,” done in colored pencil, of birds that he observes in nature. He sells his note cards illustrated with wild birds nationally, through Wild Birds Unlimited.
Fortuna said Hanna, of Detroit, freely combines collage, personal iconography and vivid, luscious paint in his expressive compositions. Animals, nature, myth, legend, history and the road inspire his work.
Hinshaw, of Davison, makes functional and non-functional ceramic works, often inspired by animals.
“He has these great sort of off-animals. One of them is a duck whose body is in the shape of a milk jug,” Fortuna said. “They are really beautiful and poetic and kind of odd at the same time. I love that unsettling quality to them.”
Nava-Moreno, of Royal Oak, will exhibit intimate, iconic paintings of dogs, cats, rabbits, toads, owls, hedgehogs and other animals on wooden blocks and slate. She describes herself as a painter and sculptor, visual storyteller, and object maker.
Reyes, of Detroit, created paintings with animal imagery, inspired by the strong dichotomy of being the predator and prey found in her dreams.
Spence, of Madison Heights, will show a series of paintings of insects. Spence said she is drawn to the fine details and the myriad colors of insects: creatures that have been around millions of years longer than humans.
Zagacki will display his cast bronze sculptures in the show. Influenced by music and film, he describes his work as “mostly representational and often absurd.” He incorporates found imagery, which becomes manipulated and melded to create a new form.
In the first-floor gallery, the PCCA will present a solo show of works by Vic Vicini, which Fortuna said includes detailed, vivid oil paintings on linen canvas of pop culture items and vintage toys and graphics.
“I call them pop paintings because there are tons of things like old toys and comic books, old advertising and packaging for toys, and all these beautiful little graphics in super rich, saturated colors and really crisp, clean lines. Everything is just beautifully, perfectly rendered,” Fortuna said.
For the past 20 years, Vicini has focused on the iconic objects and symbols of advertising, toys and games. In an artist’s statement, Vicini said he loves the vivid colors and bold design of vintage packaging, comic books, board games and toys, and considers his work contemporary still-life realism.
“My work plays a humorous trip down memory lane into a time when we saw the world as children, where the comic hero and the joy of opening these wonderful packages of toys and games brought so much joy to so many people,” Vicini said in a statement.
Admission for the opening reception is free and open to the public. There will also be a free Gallery Talk, an informal discussion between members of the public and the artists, at 2 p.m. July 13 at the PCCA.
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