Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Material dreams at the N'Namdi Gallery

(originally published 3/29/11 in KnightBlog)

If you haven't visited the N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art since it opened in the Sugar Hill Arts District last October, now's an excellent time. The splendid, 16,000 square foot facility is currently hosting its first curated show, New Departures and Transitions: Medium, Materiality and Immateriality. (Additionally, there are three other shows by individual artists on display in auxiliary galleries, each of which is worth a look.)

Curated by critic and College for Creative Studies instructor Michael Stone-Richards, New Departures and Transitions exhibits work by more than fifteen artists, some local, some national. (It's interesting, though, how the show succeeds in breaking down geographic distinctions; Industrialization, shown below, is by the New York artist Chaikia Booker, but its chaotic texture and sense of post-industrial anxiety look like something straight out of the Cass Corridor.)

The many, disparate works on display are unified by a shared sense of self-conscious materiality. They insist that you consider the materials used in their construction (tires, cable ties, encaustic paint, video, papier-mâché, and much more) as essential components of their meaning (or, in some cases, as their meaning).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cranbrook show dazzles at DAM

(originally published 3/8/11 in KnightBlog)

The annual Detroit Artists Market (DAM) Scholarship and Exhibition Programopened Friday at DAM’s midtown gallery. It features work by nine Cranbrook Academy of Art graduate students, all finalists for DAM's John F. Korachis Scholarship Award, as well as a handful of alumni. The exhibition commemorates more than 75 years of support provided by Cranbrook and DAM to the local arts community. All the pieces are for sale.

There's a wealth and variety of exceptional work to see. In content and form, the pieces are all over the map, from monumental oil reliefs to funny, tawdry fabric sculptures and dreamy, painted leisure scenes.