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Two new exhibits open at BBAC

‘James Adley at 80,’ ‘BBAC Student Current Works’ on display

By: Mary Beth Almond | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 21, 2011

 “Blue Pot,” by Josie Jackson of Grosse Pointe Park. TOP: “Untitled,” by Fran Wolok of Bloomfield Hills.

“Blue Pot,” by Josie Jackson of Grosse Pointe Park. TOP: “Untitled,” by Fran Wolok of Bloomfield Hills.

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BIRMINGHAM — The work of award-winning abstract expressionist painter James Adley and a juried show of art created by adult students are on display at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center as part of two new exhibits.

“The great thing between the gallery missions is that most every time you come in to see an exhibition, you get to see the full range of what art can mean in someone’s life — whether it’s a pastime or whether it’s a full-time profession,” said BBAC President and CEO Addie Langford.

“James Adley at 80: Recent Paintings, Works on Paper and Metal,” curated by Robert Schefman and Vince Carducci of the College for Creative Studies, runs through March 18. Many of the acrylic paintings in the exhibition, which are done on paper and canvas, are large-scale.

“James Adley is really a Michigan master,” Langford said. “He was an amazing professor that mentored a lot of artists practicing in this region who are mid-career now, so he has an audience coming from all over the state because he was their beloved teacher.”

Adley was born in London, England, and studied music and art, and served in the Royal Air Force from 1950-52. He moved to the U.S. in 1963 and received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. He served as professor of art at Michigan State University from 1965-1994. He received the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 1985 and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award in 2005. Adley has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the U.S. and Europe.

“As a professor of art at Michigan State, he clearly influenced many people. That’s one of the beauties of art education: It opens you up to a lot of wonderful possibilities and causes you to look at things that you might not otherwise really contemplate,” said Diane Taylor of the BBAC.

“BBAC Student Current Works,” a juried show of art created by adult students who range from the novice to the notable, is also on display at the BBAC through March 18. Fiber artist and current section chair of fibers at College for Creative Studies Susan Aaron-Taylor and award-winning watercolor artist Mark Mehaffey serve as jurors of the show.

“Some of our students may aspire to become full-time artists, but that’s not necessarily why they are here or why they are taking classes. It’s for the joy of it; it’s to step outside yourself and learn something and be able to express your creativity,” Langford said. “When you look at the student show, which takes up three galleries, you see all mediums, and it’s such a great variety of art. It represents so well what the BBAC offers in terms of art education.”

Langford said it’s important to be able to see different levels of ability in art making, because you can factor yourself into the equation.

“You really understand, coming here, that you’re allowed to make art that’s just for you and that’s just for fun. There’s no pressure, and it’s just a joyful process,” she said.

The student exhibit is a great way for those who might be interested in taking a class to check out what the BBAC is all about, Taylor said, because the center’s spring term — which includes a variety of classes for adults, youth and children — begins in mid-April.

“It’s a perfect time for someone to come and contemplate what they might like to explore, and then we’ll be able to get them on our list to give them information on the classes,” she said.

Both exhibits, which run through March 18, are free and open to the public at the BBAC, 1516 S. Cranbrook Road, between 14 Mile and 15 Mile roads. For more information, visit www.bbartcenter.org or call (248) 644-0866.

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