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Two new exhibits to open at PCCA March 2

By: Mary Beth Almond | Warren Weekly | Published February 29, 2012

 “Eye Teeth: A Satire on the American Way of Life,” will include this work by Peter Williams from the series “Green Zone.”

“Eye Teeth: A Satire on the American Way of Life,” will include this work by Peter Williams from the series “Green Zone.”

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ROCHESTER — Two new exhibits, “Eye Teeth: A Satire on the American Way of Life,” and “Tom Humes: Recent Works,” will open at the Paint Creek Center for the Arts with a joint reception from 7-9 p.m. March 2. Both will be on display at the PCCA, 407 Pine St., through April 7.

The PCCA is turning its main gallery over to a group of artists for “Eye Teeth,” which involves critical and satirical responses to the American social and cultural way of life, according to show curator Ryan Standfest.

“The primary interest in my own work has been humor — specifically, humor that is simultaneously critical of things, but is also palatable, it’s funny,” he said. “I had this idea that it would be nice to do a show that has to do with satire of American culture and to collect together a number of artists from Michigan, and in Michigan, that could use humor to sort of take the temperature of contemporary American culture. The subject matter that they deal with is not something that is traditionally humorous,” said Standfest, who is a practicing artist and a teacher at Wayne State University.

Standfest said the tradition of American social and cultural satire, as found in the likes of MAD Magazine and National Lampoon, The Onion and “The Daily Show,” can serve as conceptual models for asking the question: “Is there something better?”

“In addition to posing this question, ‘Eye Teeth’ aims to provoke nervous laughter from an audience, by means of mirthful bites,” he said in a statement about the show.

The images in the exhibition focus on mass media, religion, class, race, sex, urban decay and renewal, capitalism, and any other aspect of what people have come to view as the American identity and its current state of being.

“By satirizing the institutions, social structures and behavioral patterns of our time, there will be an emphasis on objective humor to produce an engagingly critical, yet humorous, discourse,” Standfest said in a statement.

A member of PCCA’s Exhibition Committee, Standfest spent the past year corresponding with artists in Michigan and elsewhere to collect works for the show. Participating artists include Peter Williams from Delaware, David Becker of Wisconsin, Nikki DeSautelle from New York City, and Andy Gabrysiak, 
JenClare Gawaran, 
Jo Powers, Stephen William Schudlich, Bruce Thayer and Maureen Vachon from Michigan.

“One thing that’s really pleasing to me is that we have works from a couple people that have strong connections to Michigan, but they have not had their work seen a lot in this area recently,” PCCA Exhibition Director Mary Fortuna said.

PCCA will also present a solo show of recent works by Detroit painter Tom Humes in its first-floor gallery.

“He is really what I would consider a painter’s painter. He’s somebody who is doing work that serious painters and artists are really curious about and really want to look closely at,” Fortuna said.

Humes thinks of himself as a storyteller as he’s making paintings, according to Fortuna.

“They are sort of narratives with a story that he is not necessarily giving you the words about, but he’s giving you images that relate to a story in his head,” she said.

There will be three small bodies of his work on display. There are 23 small oil paintings on wood panels from a story he calls “Living in Arcadia,” 14 watercolors on paper from a story he calls “Phenomenal Blue Cat Episode,” and 10 relief prints on wood from a story he calls “Adventure Beach.”

The PCCA also invites the public to an informal gallery talk for both exhibits at 2 p.m. March 31.

“It’s a really nice opportunity for people in the area who are interested in the work to get a chance to talk one-on-one with the artists, or with the person who had the overall idea for a show, to get a little bit more of a serious conversation than you would get at the more social event of an opening reception. It’s a good opportunity for people come in and really ask some questions about what they see,” Fortuna added.

The opening receptions and the gallery talks are free and open to the public.

For more information, call the PCCA at (248) 651-4119 or visit www.pccart.org.

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