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Farmington Hills

OCC art exhibition to show you their perspectives

August 27, 2014

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Various artistic mediums such as these pieces will be displayed during Oakland Community College’s “From Our Perspectives: A National Women’s Art Exhibition” Sept. 18-Oct. 17.

FARMINGTON HILLS — Translucent beauty magazine clippings of the latest trends cover a woman’s face and head against a white backdrop in a photograph.

Her eyes gaze off the page, pensive, as the shroud cloaks — seemingly closing in on — her mouth, nose and lips.

“It is about beauty, and yet it is a veil around her face. When I saw that, I’m like, Oh yes, that is the ‘purchase prize,’” Womencenter Director Arlene Frank said Aug. 13 in her office at Oakland Community College’s Orchard Ridge campus.

The photo hangs on her multicolored brick wall with five other paintings and photographs, all by women, of artistic statements about today’s culture and what is expected of women and little girls.

Frank hopes to acquire another painting for her office during OCC’s “From Our Perspectives: A National Women’s Art Exhibition” Sept. 18-Oct. 17 at the Smith Theatre Gallery, 27055 Orchard Lake Road.

The juried exhibit will feature 24 female artists from across the country, and Milan, Italy, and 26 pieces of art.

“There are different ways of expressing, but the message of all of them is that there are women artists creating meaningful art that can speak to us,” she said.

The opening-night reception will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 18.

Frank said the works will include sculpture, photography, painting and fiber mediums, among others.

The Best of Show artist wins $800, the President’s Award takes $250 and the Purchase Award brings up to $250.

Frank said the show started 20 years ago as a response to the fact that art galleries, art institutes and art collections primarily feature male artists, and still do today.

“Even though it has changed a great deal, women artists often still have a harder time getting their work recognized and being seen as serious artists. That is why we continue to have it, for women artists,” Frank said.

Exhibition project director Stephanie Henderson, who is responsible for the artwork layout, said each artist puts herself into her work, and it shows.

“One piece, it is called ‘First Dream’ and it is made of fabric, wedding dresses, sweater knitting, roll wire and cotton, and it is very beautiful — incredible,” Henderson said. “They are so thought-provoking to me. All of them are great.”

She said that from wood sculptures to liquid gold leaf, the artists’ personal expression art, “a visual language,” is just as important as the art itself.

Henderson said she positions the art so there is a rhythm to the show, “harmony between the pieces in terms of colors and compositional elements,” she said. 

The artwork sale prices range from $80 to $4,000.

“The work takes them a long time,” she said.

Frank said that, for her, the best part of the exhibition is the discussions.

“It is being in that gallery and hearing the conversations,” she said. “It gets people talking. Helps people see the world and look at things from a different perspective. I think that is one of the greatest values of art, is that it helps people see the world in ways that we might not have otherwise.”

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