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  Pleasant Ridge artist Mike Ross, whose work is featured here, curated a new show at the Janice Charach Gallery in West Bloomfield called “Natural/Automatic,” and it  will run from Jan. 12 to Feb. 13.

Pleasant Ridge artist Mike Ross, whose work is featured here, curated a new show at the Janice Charach Gallery in West Bloomfield called “Natural/Automatic,” and it will run from Jan. 12 to Feb. 13.

Photo provided by Mike Ross


Pleasant Ridge artist curates new show at West Bloomfield gallery

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published January 7, 2020

 The gallery will feature  nine artists, including the work of Juan Martinez, who created bike sculptures made to look like animals.

The gallery will feature nine artists, including the work of Juan Martinez, who created bike sculptures made to look like animals.

Photo provided by Linda Ashley

PLEASANT RIDGE/WEST BLOOMFIELD — A new art show curated by a Pleasant Ridge resident will make its debut this weekend.

The Janice Charach Gallery will present an exhibition titled “Natural/Automatic” for the next month at its West Bloomfield location inside the Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit, 6600 W. Maple Road. The opening reception will take place from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Jan 12, and the show will continue until Feb. 13.

The exhibition will feature nine artists from metro Detroit presenting their work, including Mike Ross, of Pleasant Ridge, who curated the show.

“I think the title has to do with just that idea that, when you’re making art and you’re working on things … you kind of get into a groove sometimes where it does come naturally and it feels automatic,” he said.

Aside from Ross, eight other artists will be featured at the gallery, including Bowen Kline, Juan Martinez, Anna van Schaap, Lindsay McCosh, Megan Stone, Peter Bernal, Betty Brownlee and Anthony Maughan.

In describing the work in the exhibition, Janice Charach Gallery Director Kelly Kaatz said that there is a story behind almost every piece in the show.

“It’s almost like a storytelling exhibition,” she said. “It’s almost all paintings. There’s two sculptures in the show, and it’s a pretty interesting exhibition.”

Ross, a painter who works with oils, house paint, brushes, palette knives, scrapers and rags, believes all humans in some form or another make art, and that creating things and using your imagination comes naturally to people.

“It’s something that is built into us,” he said. “It comes automatically to people.”

Ross said his work focuses on figurative and natural elements of the world, as he is drawn to nature in general and how abstract it can be.

“It comes directly from the imagination and directly from an interpretation of what you see around you in the world in a way that really only your mind can put together,” he said.

Kaatz said she’s excited for people to see the art presented by Martinez, a sculptor who uses metals and wood in his work. Martinez’s pieces are two giant bikes in the middle of the gallery that were modeled to look like animals. She said they have a “wow factor.”

“That’s pretty great, but I’m also excited about how a lot of these artists in this show have never shown with us before,” Kaatz said. “So it’s really great because I’ve known their work for quite a while, and now they’re here and they’re showing together, and it’s pretty great to see that happening in one room.”

Ross has been working in shows for about 10 years, and in the last decade, he does feel that the way he puts together a show has changed.

With his experience, Ross said, he knows what to expect more these days, and he can self-edit what he shows to the public and how he presents his paintings.

“Whereas when I first started out, it was a little bit more, ‘This is what I’ve done. I’m gonna slap it up on the wall.’ Now, it’s a little bit more curated in the sense of I’ll have certain ideas about the way things should look,” he said. “A little bit more of a well-rounded, formed way of putting things together.”

For more information about the gallery, visit www.charachgallery.org.