Paint Creek Center for the Arts presents “Abstract Michigan”

April 19 – May 17, 2013

Opening Reception Friday, April 19, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Gallery Talk Saturday, April 20, 2:00 p.m.

Abstract painting and sculpture are sometimes misunderstood. While they are often thought of as being completely open-ended, or having nothing to do with representation of anything in the material world, they often derive from something that can be observed, whether natural or man made. They use a visual language of form, color and line to create a painting or object that is, to varying degrees, free of visual reference. Even representational, figurative, or “realistic” painting and sculpture rely on abstract design to convey meaning. Paint Creek Center for the Arts has brought together a group of painters and sculptors who excel at abstract composition. Through their very different approaches, they each use their chosen medium to create challenging and beautiful abstract artworks.

Abstract Michigan opens with a reception for the artists on Friday, April 19, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., and runs through Friday, May 17. The opening reception coincides with the Downtown Rochester Spring Gallery Stroll, and is free and open to the public. We will also host a gallery talk with the artists on Saturday, April 20 at 2:00 p.m., where visitors will be invited to participate in an informal conversation about the works on display.

Participating artists include:

Ken Brown (Ann Arbor) earned his MFA at Ohio State University. He taught sculpture and other at many schools over the years. He worked for ten years as the sculpture studio coordinator at the University of Michigan until his retirement. He now devotes himself to his sculpture, which he has practiced throughout his life. His carved wood and other sculptures are informed by the time he spent in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he did work for renowned Haida sculptor Bill Reid. Ken’s years of experience carving wood give his organic forms a unity and harmony between form and content.

Linda Ferguson (Au Train) teaches in the Art & Design department at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. She has an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, with a concentration in textiles and abstract painting. She currently has work included in the Women’s Caucus of Art’s Bound catalog In New York, NY and a solo exhibition at Oasis Gallery in Marquette, MI. The River Gallery in Chelsea, Michigan and GVG Contemporary in Santa Fe, New Mexico represent her work. Linda presents a series of abstract paintings that explore the experience of fire. She says “My work articulates the landscape of organic forces and elements: structure in the space of light, fire, and atmosphere. I draw with paint directly from experience, in plein air and in the studio, investigating emotional architecture through surface texture, pattern, and form.”

Marcia Freedman (Bloomfield Hills) graduated with an MFA from Wayne State University in 1992. Her work has been in solo and group exhibits all over the United States, and is included in museum and corporate collections. She says, “Using organic forms found in the figure and landscape as a source, the work is informed by nature, science and the potential for investigating new ideas to describe the fluidity of life and bodily changes that occur due to the effects of genetics or the environment, causing decay and death… The resultant images are mostly abstract, but in fact, based on the constant inquiry into the reality of life experience.”

Stephanie Palagyi (Lansing) earned her MFA in painting at Michigan State University. She has exhibited her work all over Michigan and in Billings, Montana. Her paintings draw on observation of her environment and objects in nature. She says, “While I begin with images and objects from the observable world, my paintings are less specific in order to reference the interconnectedness of all organic life and to focus on a way of feeling rather than object identification.

Brian Pitman (Berkley) earned his MFA at Eastern Michigan University. He has exhibited his work in Michiganand Ohio, and has done several commissioned works. His sculptures in wood and metal are inspired by his life-long observation of nature and his place within it. He says, “In my work I try to find balance of conscious and unconscious, intellect and imagination. To me, the process is as important as the final piece.  While creating, hand tools and their often repetitive and meditative action give me a personal connection to the material.  I find that this brings more sensitivity to the essence of the form.”

Rick Vian (Royal Oak) earned his MFA at Wayne State University. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the College for Creative Studies. He has exhibited his work extensively since 1970, most recently at Robert Kidd Gallery in Birmingham, Michigan. He has received many awards for his work over the years, and has presented several lectures and participated in symposia. For many years, Rick has observed trees, lakes, and other natural features, and rendered them as lush, emotional abstract compositions. He says, “I am most interested in visual perception and the underlying patterns that make sense of it. I am interested in how the visual information of this world is filtered through the mechanisms of perception (which are part of that world) and is affected by thought and emotion, resulting in expression.”

About Tom and Ann Gendich

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