Public welcome to see GPAC Members Show

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 14, 2015

 GPAC member Julie Carion explored unusual subject matter for her in “Vintage Hoist,” a photo of a boat hoist on her neighbor’s property.

GPAC member Julie Carion explored unusual subject matter for her in “Vintage Hoist,” a photo of a boat hoist on her neighbor’s property.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

GROSSE POINTE CITY — Like a family reunion, the Grosse Pointe Art Center’s annual Members Show brings the gang together once a year.


The 77th annual Members Show — which opened with a public reception Oct. 9 and remains on display through Oct. 31 — is a popular event in which any GPAC artist can display a piece of his or her artwork. Typically, the shows are juried, meaning that a chosen artist selects works for inclusion, usually based on a particular theme. The Members Show — which this year drew entries from about 78 artists — is one of the few shows that isn’t juried.


“What makes it the best (event each year) is that anyone who’s a (GPAC) member can show,” said GPAC Board member Kimberly Conely, noting that sometimes artists have work that doesn’t fit the subjects of shows that year.


Julie Carion, of Grosse Pointe City, used the Members Show to showcase a work that’s very different for her. She said she’s normally “more of a scenic floral photographer,” but for her photo “Vintage Hoist,” she found beauty in a close-up of a rusted boat hoist set against the backdrop of the water and a blue sky. Carion said she has a home on Old Mission Point, and she asked her neighbors if she could shoot the aging boat hoist in their yard.


“I spent a sunny afternoon going outside of my box and doing something different,” said Carion, who shot in different light throughout the day.


“I’m kind of old-fashioned,” Carion continued. “I don’t digitally enhance anything. I did have a lot (of shots) to choose from, but this was my favorite.”


GPAC Board member Scott Brown, of Grosse Pointe Woods, said he was inspired by childhood photos sent to him by his brother to paint a peaceful waterfront scene on Torch Lake, the pastel “Torch Lake Memories.” The painting isn’t based on those photos, but Brown said they jogged his memory.


“I grew up going to Torch Lake when I was a little kid,” said Brown, adding that he learned to water-ski there. “It was just an idyllic time.”


Although it wasn’t juried, there were some awards — selected by GPAC officials — that were given out to a few works. Best of Show in the two-dimensional category went to Julie Strabel, of Grosse Pointe Park, for her mixed-media collage “Orange Is the New Black.” Best of Show in the 3-D category went to Rosemary Bay, of Grosse Pointe Farms, for “Dispersal,” a saltwater-fired stoneware piece that the artist framed and hung like a painting.


“We felt it was a very interesting way to show your 3-D artwork,” Gallery Coordinator Dana Welch said.


GPAC Board President Wendy Schmidt agreed that the uniqueness of the work and its form of display made it especially compelling.


“Rosemary Bay surprises me (with her work) in every show she comes to,” Schmidt said.


Michelle Montone, of St. Clair Shores, was honored with Best of Show for a GPAC newcomer for her mixed-media work “The Couple.” Montone, who recently moved to the east side and is a teacher in the Pointes, was moved to tears by the honor, saying that she was “overwhelmed” and this was only her second art show in this area.


Montone said she spent a lot of time in Europe when she was younger because of her father’s job, and her art — including “The Couple” — reflects her support of preservation efforts.


“I think it’s really important in today’s society, when everyone is so ready to tear down our old buildings, that we need to save some of our buildings,” Montone said.


Her art often recreates the look of historical buildings and facades from Europe, and she said she tries to “create an old surface” as well, incorporating everything from gauze and ground materials to paint scrapings from her previous works to give a piece texture. “The Couple” also features sand, cement, tar and several different types of paint, all carefully layered on paper — a process the artist admitted takes time.


Schmidt chose the watercolor “South Lake Leelanau,” by Grosse Pointe City artist Judith LeBeau, for the President’s Award. Schmidt praised the painting for the contrast between land and sky, adding, “The use of space is very attractive.”


LeBeau said she joins a group of about 16 other female artists every year for a painting retreat in Leelanau. She said she often now takes a photo of a scene she wants to paint on her iPhone, sends it to her iPad, then paints from the image on the iPad, which means she doesn’t have to worry about changing light or weather conditions the way she would if she were painting outdoors from the actual site.


“It’s really a fun way to paint,” LeBeau said, adding that she’s been using this method for the last two years.


Schmidt said the Members Show is a chance for all GPAC artists to shine.


“It’s one of the few members-only events we do,” she said. “It’s one of our (rare) nonjuried shows, so everyone gets to bring in a favorite piece to share with the public. … You see some artists that you don’t see regularly come out (for this).”


The GPAC is located at 17118 Kercheval Ave. in the Village. The gallery is open noon-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. For more information, call (313) 881-3454 or visit www.grossepointeartcenter.org.