Artists see ‘Signs’ to color outside the lines

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 10, 2015

 Linda Allen’s acrylic on Yupo paper painting, “Golden Marks,” received third-place honors. The show will be on display through Sept. 25.

Linda Allen’s acrylic on Yupo paper painting, “Golden Marks,” received third-place honors. The show will be on display through Sept. 25.

Photo provided by Linda Allen

GROSSE POINTE CITY — In an announcement for “Signs & Symbols,” the Grosse Pointe Art Center told prospective artists that they were “completely free of constraints” for this show.

With that in mind, artists got creative for the exhibit — juried by Meighen Jackson — which opened Sept. 4 and runs through Sept. 25.

While seeking submissions from artists, the GPAC described Jackson’s own work as “brightly energetic abstractions of natural conditions and forms, such as grasses and reeds, (that) incorporate ink, various papers, foil and photography on canvas.” Jackson used her own unique artistic vision to select works for “Signs & Symbols.”

Jackie Brooks, of Grosse Pointe Farms, earned best of show honors for her startling digital drawing, “Pure Michigan.” By email, the artist said this is a follow-up to her 2013 work, “Carpnado,” and addresses the threat posed by the invasive species Asian carp.

“I feel strongly that not enough is being done to prevent Asian carp, currently in the Mississippi Basin water system, from spreading northward to the Great Lakes,” she said in an email interview. Brooks is urging people to encourage their legislators in Washington to approve the Defending Our Great Lakes 2015 resolution, which is in front of the U.S. House and Senate.

“It mandates immediate action to monitor and provide effective barriers in the Chicago Shipping and Sanitary Canal, the link between the two water systems,” Brooks wrote. “I hope the jarring imagery of ‘Pure Michigan’ encourages people to demand their U.S. representatives and senators pass this resolution quickly and send it to the president’s desk for signing. The cost now is minimal compared to the cost of reclaiming the Great Lakes once the Asian carp have established a foothold.”

Brooks’ piece is in stark contrast to the much sunnier work by another award winner. Linda Allen, of Grosse Pointe City, took home third place for her work, “Golden Marks,” an acrylic painting on Yupo paper.

“The painting was started by rolling the paint on the paper similar to as if you were painting a wall,” Allen explained via email. “This created a great texture with color and depth. While the paint was still wet, I drew, and my mark-making was executed quickly with spontaneity and free movements.”

Allen said the resulting “organic shapes” are not unlike stems bursting with flowers and fast-moving insects, and they remind her “of things that change and grow.”

“It’s a joyful and happy design with more than just a little mystery,” she continued by email.

Susan Kwolek, of Washington Township, earned second place for her mixed media work, “Untethered.” Honorable mention winners were Michelle Montone, of Grosse Pointe Woods, for the mixed media piece “The Deterioration of Architecture as We Know It”; Lou (Stath) Pavledes, of Grosse Pointe City, for the acrylic painting “Tic, Tac, Duh”; Dennis Sabatowich, of Detroit, for the metal sculpture “Stupidity”; and Margherita Wiszowaty, of St. Clair Shores, for the mixed media piece “Harlequin Balance.”

Jackson was selective, accepting just over half of the entries. GPAC Executive Director Coleen Downey said by email that out of 78 entries by 45 artists, only 45 artworks — created by 34 artists — were chosen.

The GPAC is located at 17118 Kercheval Ave. in the Village. Gallery hours are noon-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information, email gpaa@grossepointeartcenter.org, visit www.grossepointeartcenter.org or call (313) 881-3454.