Cuba: An Opening Door, Photographs by Sandy Schopbach

September 15, 2015 through October 29, 2015 -- Malletts Creek Branch: Exhibits

This exhibit includes 51 photos taken during Sandy Schopbach’s recent trip to Cuba.

Some are landscapes: the harbor and streets of Havana, the bay of Cienfuegos, the church and cobbled streets of Trinidad (the Cuban city, not the country), and the countryside in between. Others are snapshots of daily life: the vendors in the covered market of Cienfuegos, people watching the streets below from their balconies, students in uniform enjoying the end of the school day. Still others are portraits: the young singer in a restaurant, or the proud veteran with his many medals, or the woman-with-cigar posing for photos to earn extra money.

Cuba reminds Sandy of the America of the fifties. It’s a country perched on the precipice of the great changes that will come, now that relations have been re-established. A few young people are already walking around with their ears glued to a cell phone. And until mid-summer the U.S. Embassy in Havana flew no flag and was only a “U.S. Interests Office." Things are changing and perhaps they will change fast.

Still, she hopes that much will remain of the Cuba she saw during this magic visit to an island that has remained a Never-Never-Land for so many years.

Kerrytown BookFest: The Art of the Book

September 2, 2015 through October 15, 2015 -- Downtown Library: 3rd Floor Exhibit

The Kerrytown BookFest celebrates all aspects of book writing and creation. This year, this annual exhibit at the Library showcases entries from the festival’s 8th annual Book Cover Design contest for high school students.

The contest, open to all Michigan High School students, asks the students to reimagine a cover for a chosen book and give a visual interpretation to the written word. The contest winners will be announced at the reception.

This year’s book is My Last Kiss, a young adult novel by Bethany Neal. Over 100 entries were judged by Bethany Neal, author; Paula Newcombe, graphic designer for the University of Michigan Press; and Melissa Weisberg, Macmillan Publishing Company representative.

Eight finalists were chosen on the basis of originality, execution, and understanding and application of the subject matter

The public is invited to an opening reception for the exhibit and the BookFest on Friday, September 11 from 7:00 to 8:00 pm on the third floor of the Downtown Library This event will include: elegant refreshments; exquisite music by harpist Deborah Gabrion; and remarks by Robin Agnew, Kerrytown BookFest President and owner of Aunt Agatha’s bookstore, who will present an overview of the exhibit and the book design contest

The Kerrytown BookFest, which will be held on Sunday, September 13, is an event celebrating those who create books and those who read them. The primary goal is to highlight the area’s rich heritage in the book and printing arts while showcasing local and regional individuals, businesses, and organizations. Since 2003, the BookFest has been growing, sharing, and discovering more and more about the rich book culture in this region.

Handbuilding with Clay: An Exhibit by Clay-Art-Friends

September 2, 2015 through October 15, 2015 -- Downtown Library: Lower Level Display Cases

Featured Artists: Barbara Brown, Nancy Bulkley, Jeanine Center, Kim Scott, Caron Valentine-Marsh, Oni Werth, Lineke Zuiderweg, and Mieke Zuiderweg

When people think of ceramics, they tend to visualize the smoothly wheel-thrown shapes of vases, mugs, and plates. Ceramics built by slab, coils, or pinching tend to be off their radar, yet so many of the items that surround us in this world are made by these techniques. The eight Midwestern artists participating in this exhibition share a common bond of manipulating clay through similar processes, but their results could not be more different.

When looking at a ceramic object, we tend to get lost in the piece’s beauty, not its process. This exhibit hopes to capture the public’s interest in what’s behind the art façade. By showcasing a large variety of work and how it’s made, the medium’s mysterious nature will come to light:

• Bowls and figures by Nancy Bulkley are the perfect example of unknown process; the work is made by “pinching”, an incredibly ancient technique that still holds true to modern forms. The viewer can revel in the small imperfections of this process, literally seeing the hand of man upon its surface.
• Sophisticated pieces can spring from slowly building forms, as seen in Barbara Brown’s tall vases and 2 D sculptures featuring birds and natural elements.
• Slab building can yield results that both celebrate the form of the slab (Lineke Zuiderweg’s fairytale figures and Mieke Zuiderweg’s architectural forms) and intense texture as seen in Kim Scott’s “tree trunk vessels.”
• Caron Valentine-Marsh delves further into using slabs with a refined hand not often seen in clay - her “Nicho” constructions have both incredible form and function.
• Still further from the “traditional” vase, Jeanine Center creates clay jewelry that celebrates both detail and natural texture as well as her plates, while
• Oni Werth takes mixed media to a higher level with his driftwood and ceramic compositions.

We hope this show will not only open a new world of ceramics to people, but create enough intrigue that they want to try it for themselves. Handbuilding has an accessibility not found in any other art form, and should be tried by all!

The Individuality of Color: Watercolor Paintings by John MacDonald

September 2, 2015 through October 15, 2015 -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room Exhibit

These twenty watercolor paintings are the goal of a training method begun many years ago to develop an intimate relationship with color in order to realize form and motif and the creative tendencies inherent therein. The exhibit ranges from nature moods to works where artistic fantasy weaves its way in without violating the above stated goal.

This method of training with color, through systematic and methodical exercises, has its chief exponent in the late Gerard Wagner (1906-1999), who spent a lifetime developing and expanding indications of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), who provided the foundation for this method.

John MacDonald’s work with Gerard Wagner provided guidance to explore the limitless creative possibilities contained in one of nature’s primal phenomena

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #550

An international bestseller, first published in German in March 2012, Death in Brittany * * by Jean-Luc Bannalec (a pseudonym) introduces the first case of Commissaire Georges Dupin.

At the height of the tourist season, Commissaire Georges Dupin, the cantankerous Parisian transplant to the coastal town of Concarneau, is dragged from his morning croissant and coffee to the village of Pont-Aven, where the 91-year-old hotelier Pierre-Louis Pennec has been found murdered in his restaurant.

Dupin and his team identify five principal suspects, amony them a rising political star, a longtime friend of the victim, and a well-respected art historian. The case is further complicated when a second death occurs and a painting (perhaps a genuine second version of Gauguin's famous Vision After the Sermon) disappears from Pennec's hotel. As Dupin delves further into the lives of the victims and the suspects, he uncovers a web of secrecy and silence in this picture-perfect seaside village that once played host to Paul Gauguin and other post-Impressionist painters in the 19th century, members of the loosely connected Pont-Aven School.

"Dupin is fascinating to watch - he's both cranky and enthusiastic... The star of the mystery, though, is Brittany. Bannalec feeds the reader with intriguing bits of history (for example, Bretons are descended from the Celts, who fled Britain during the Anglo-Saxon invasions) and culture, along with bracing glimpses of centuries-old stone buildings, river banks, and the sea."

For mystery fans who enjoyed the Commissaire Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg series by Fred Vargas; the Chief Magistrate Antoine Verlaque series by M.L. Longworth, set in charming and historic Aix-en-Provence; and Martin Walker's delightful Bruno Courreges series set in the fictional town of St Denis, in the picturesque Perigord region of rural France - featuring the consummate cook and locavore who happens to be the Chief of Police.

* * = 2 starred review

Totems, Trees, and Birds

Now through September 10, 2015 -- Malletts Creek Branch: Exhibits

This dual painting exhibit by Joyce Tinkham and Betsy Beckerman features thirty-five works in a variety of media, including watercolor, acrylic on canvas, mixed media on wood, and collage.

Joyce Tinkham is an award-winning artist, and a graduate of the University of of Michigan School of Art & Design. Her work features pieces in acrylic paint on canvas and watercolors. Joyce Tinkham's heritage is Nisga'a Native American, a factor that, as she puts it, "creeps into my work. "My paintings sometimes have Native American themes, and sometimes American native designs."

Betsy Beckerman is a musician and an artist. She features watercolors, mixed media on wood and collage in this show. Most pieces have nature themes or depictions of birds.

Betsy and Joyce are friends and are in two art groups together: AAWA and SaturdayforArt. Both have previously had solo shows at the AADL and with similar tastes and themes decided to mount this collaborative show.

The Pleasure of Portraits: Paintings by Bertie Bonnell

Now through August 30, 2015 -- Downtown Library: 3rd Floor Exhibit

Ann Arbor artist Bertie Bonnell’s evocative acrylic paintings, in colors often glowing, at times brooding, are atmospheric interpretations of each person and their surroundings.

She comments, “I’ve endeavored to capture the expression and the chromatic essence of a person, to create a tightly woven composition, and to knit the figure seamlessly into the background. The brushwork is spontaneously messy when seen up close, but from a few feet away seems realistic.”

Bonnell, a lifelong painter and third generation artist, attended New York City’s School of Visual Arts before she moved to Ann Arbor. In 2006, her “Porches and Gardens” series was exhibited at AADL.

Notable New Memoir: Sally Mann's Hold Still

Renowned photographer Sally Mann’s new memoir, Hold Still, is a breath of fresh, Southern air. Stories of her family—past and present—as well as anecdotes about her deep love of the southern United States and her photography sojourns are interspersed with her beautiful photographs.

Mann generated controversy in the 1990s for her photo collection “Immediate Family,” which featured many pictures of her children, some in the nude. No matter how you feel about these photographs, its undeniable that they are striking, and the work of someone deeply talented. Her other work is equally breathtaking, particularly her haunting landscapes, many of which are taken at and near the farm where she was raised and continues to live, in Virginia.

Hold Still is written at an almost soothing pace. Mann spins out stories of generations of family troubles, and analyzes deeply who she is today. Excerpts from years of letters and diary entries compliment her stories, and add unique details and perspectives to situations whose outcomes have been altered by the passing of time. She writes at length about her beloved South and the deep-seated sense of place that she has found during her lifetime there. I loved becoming more familiar with Mann’s work while also reading this fascinating account of a memorable life.

For more of Mann’s photography, check out Deep South and What Remains.

Young Rembrandts: Power of Drawing

Saturday October 3, 2015: 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Secret Lab

This event is intended for grades 1–5

True creativity comes from the mastery of core skills combined with original thought! Join Young Rembrandts teachers for directed drawing that gives young students instruction on how to break down complex images into simple ones. Students will explore many different techniques and art tools (colored pencil, pastel, and marker) while learning the drawing skills that lay the foundation for all visual arts. Illustration, design, fine art composition, and cartooning will be covered. We will experiment with pastels as we learn about Paul Cezanne and his profound mastery of light and color and then go on to explore the various ways to illustrate shadow and light using techniques that contemporary artist Roy Lichtenstein used in his work. Plus, a visit from a professional Comic Book Artist for some cartoon creating excitement!

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