Artist remembered

Today, April 30, is the birthday of African-American artist, Ellis Wilson. Wilson was born in Mayfield, Kentucky in 1899. He moved north to Chicago in the early 1920's where he attended the Art Institute of Chicago. He later moved to New York where he participated in the WPA art programs. Awarded with a Guggenheim fellowship, Wilson traveled to South Carolina and painted African-Americans harvesting crops and selling goods at the open air markets in Charleston. He also was inspired during his time in Haiti where he painted peasants at work. He is probably best known for his painting, "Funeral Procession" which was displayed in the living room of the popular TV sit-com, the Bill Cosby Show.

Imagining Eden: Connecting Landscapes

Lyle GomesLyle Gomes

Imagining Eden: Connecting Landscapes, an exhibition by photographer Lyle Gomes is on view at the University of Michigan Museum of Art Off/Site (through June 3, 2007)

Created over a sixteen-year period, this project represents a long-term study of “idealized human-made landscapes of parks, golf courses, gardens, and garden cemeteries (and) explore the enduring human impulse to shape the landscape and to strive for a harmonious balance between humankind and nature.”

Many of the images in this exhibition reflect Gomes’ personal journey and professional development. His Fulbright Scholar Award allowed him to spend time in Britain and a Rockefeller Foundation residency took him to Bellagio, Italy. He continues to reside in the San Francisco Bay Area and heads the Photography program at College of San Mateo. He is represented locally by the Halsted Gallery.

Sol LeWitt, American Artist

Sol LeWittSol LeWitt

Sol LeWitt, 78, sculptor and muralist died April 8th, 2007 in New York.

Most often associated with his early sculptures Incomplete Open Cubes (image) seen in museums all over the world, LeWitt will be remembered for his dry humor (see New York Times Obituary} and his efforts to usher in Conceptualism and Minimalism as dominant art movements of the postwar era.

In 2000, a retrospective organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago showcased a new direction for LeWitt with newly colorful wall drawings that critics called "eye candy".

“A life in art is an unimaginable and unpredictable experience.”~ Sol LeWitt

John Himmelfarb, Chicago Artist

John HimmelfarbJohn Himmelfarb

Harvard educated, Chicago artist John Himmelfarb will give an artist talk on Saturday, April 7, 4 p.m. at the River Gallery (120 S. Main Street, Chelsea, Michigan) in conjunction with his one-man show (through May 19th).

Son of Samuel and Eleanor Himmelfarb, both accomplished painters, John Himmelfarb’s work has appeared in numerous galleries nationally and internationally, and has installed public works at such places as Boston Logan Airport and Chicago Transport Authority.

This exhibition will include paintings, drawings, prints, cast bronze sculpture, urns, and a tapestry of a canvas, hand woven in Peru. For more information, contact the Gallery at 734.433.0826.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #57

Portrait of an Unknown Woman* by Vanora Bennett, a British journalist trying her hand at fiction for the first time.

Set in Henry VIII’s England, Meg Giggs, the heroine of this historical, is a budding herbalist and a ward of Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas More, the defender of the Catholic faith under threats of the Protestant heretics.

John Clements, a young physician is more than he appears. His courtship and marriage to Meg would be sorely tested by the secrets he keeps. On the other hand, Meg’s loyalty to More will also be called into question when religious and political conflicts roil at court.

“An engrossing, quietly impassioned historical”, no less for the added delicious details of the famous German painter Hans Holbein the Younger, commissioned to paint what will be his famous portraits of More and that of his family. For more information on the paintings and the time period, the author has created a website.

* = Starred Review

Think Spring in Botanical Language

Think SpringThink Spring

Two mid-career Michigan artists will dazzle you with luminous images of botanicals at the River Gallery in Chelsea, Michigan, March 3 - March 31st.

Mary Beth Koeze is an award-winning painter who received her degree from the University of Wisconsin.

Kim Kauffman, a technically astute photographer, will present unique photo collages created from multiple scans of original botanical images.(Artist statement).

An artist talk is planned for March 17th at 4 p.m. at the gallery. FREE.

Embracing Eatonville at UMMA Off/Site

EMbracing EatonvilleEMbracing Eatonville

There is still time to visit the photography exhibition Embracing Eatonville at the University of Michigan Musuem of Art Off/Site (through March 18th).

Located in Orange County, Florida, Eatonville was the first incorporated African-American community in the nation. Today, it is perhaps best known for its annual showcase of arts, literature and culture that celebrates native daughter Zora Neale Hurston.

The current exhibition "celebrates the spirit and character of Eatonville through the work of contemporary photographers Dawoud Bey, Lonnie Graham, Carrie Mae Weems, and Deborah Willis, each of whom have created a new body of work for this exhibition as they explore the importance of place to individual and collective identity".

2nd Annual AADL Staff Art Exhibit

Metal SculptureMetal Sculpture

Exhibit Showing through February 27
Be sure to stop by and see the talent of the 18 AADL staff members currently on display in the lower level exhibit cases at the Downtown Library. This year's show features a wide mix of media, including cell phone photos, painted kimonos, blown glass, welded scrap metal (shown here: "Kelper no. 2", by Anne Drozd), graphic novel illustrations, mixed media assemblage and digitally manipulated photographs.

Pet & Wildlife Photo Contest - enter starting Monday, Feb. 5!

DSKittehDSKitteh

Beginning Monday, February 5 the Downtown Youth Department will start taking submissions for the "Pet & Wildlife Photo Contest." Students in grades K-12 are eligible for the contest. Here are the details: Limit of 2 entries per person. Each photo must have your name, phone # and either your pet's name or a photo title on the back of the photo and be accompanied by a signed entry form (available at the time of photo drop-off). Photos may be black & white or color, must be no larger than 5x7" and must be glossy prints only. Photos will be judged based on subject, originality and creativity. One winner and one honorable mention will be named in each of 4 categories: Grades K-2; 3-5; 6-8 and 9-12. Entries may be dropped off at the Downtown Youth Department Reference Desk during library hours beginning Monday, February 5 at 10:00 AM through Thursday, March 8 by 9:00 PM. Every photo entered will be displayed in the Downtown Youth Department during the month of March., beginning Friday, March 9. Photos will be returned to participants and can be picked up anytime during the first week of April.

The Rouge: Photographs by Michael Kenna at UMMA

This past weekend The Rouge: Photographs by Michael Kenna opened at the University of Michigan Museum of Art Off/Site, its temporary home while the museum is under renovations.

“English landscape photographer Michael Kenna first toured the Rouge plant in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1992 and returned to the site over a number of years. The resulting photographs capture the smoky atmosphere, the dramatic structures, and the bold silhouettes that give this early twentieth-century technical marvel at the center of modern American industry its character.”

Kenna is not the first photographer to take an interest in the Rouge Plant. While Charles Sheeler’s famous Rouge Plant images were admittedly Kenna’s inspiration, others like Diego Rivera have taken a more painterly approach to this subject in his mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Check time/date for scheduled docent guided tours of the exhibition and read up on Michael Kenna in the library's collection.

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