You are invited to the opening reception of “The Detroit Show,” curated by Gary Mayer, featuring 11 artists living in Detroit and from the Detroit diaspora. The show opens on Saturday, August 4 from 5 to 7 PM and runs from August 4 until August 25, 2018, Tuesday-Saturday 3-9 PM. Best viewing hours are before 6 PM.
“The Detroit Show” exhibiting artists include Jim Chatelain, John Egner, Ed Fraga, Christine Hughes , Doug James, Katherine Brackett Luchs, Michael Luchs , Gary Mayer, Kurt Novak, Sandy Osip, Carlo Vitale, and Shelley Vitale.
About the Artists
About Jim Chatelain
A native of Findlay, Ohio, Jim Chatelain studied painting at Wayne State University, Detroit, receiving his BFA in 1971. His work, as well as that of his contemporaries living and working along the Detroit’s Cass Corridor, was recognized in a major exhibition undertaken by the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1980 titled “Kick Out the Jams: Detroit’s Cass Corridor 1963-1977.” In 1978 his work was included in “’Bad’ Paintings,” Marcia Tucker’s inaugural exhibition for the New Museum. He moved to New York City for five years and then returned to Ohio for a number of years where he continued his studio practice while exhibiting extensively in Detroit—Chatelain has had 18 solo exhibitions in metro-Detroit during his career. In 2014 his work was featured in “Another Look at Detroit: Parts 1 and 2” curated by Todd Levin and presented at Marianne Boesky Gallery and Marlborough Chelsea, New York. Chatelain’s work may be found in numerous private and public collections, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Flint Institute of Arts, Cranbrook Art Museum (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan), Wayne State University, and the Bowling Hall of Fame (St. Louis). Chatelain currently lives and works in the town of Franklin, NY.
About John Egner
John Egner attended the Philadelphia Museum College of Art (B.F.A. 1963) and Yale University (M.F.A. 1966), where he studied with Jack Tworkov and Frank Stella. He joined the faculty at Wayne State University in 1966 and soon became an influential force in the emerging Cass Corridor art community, as he was the first artist to move into Convention Hall, and was a founding member of the Willis Gallery.
Egners’ formalist approach to the problems of painting is exhibited in his use of grids as a compositional device. These first appear in his work in a series of patchwork like drawings that originated as designs for a carpet commissioned by collector James Duffy for his Grosse Pointe home. Similar drawings of color squares arranged in systematic configurations were used as the basis for Egner’s monumental wall painting on the park Shelton apartments on Woodward Avenue in 1974.
Egner’s work is part of several museum and private collections, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, and Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. He currently lives and works in Andes, NY.
About Ed Fraga
Ed Fraga is a Detroit based artist whose work explores social, cultural and religious themes using various media. His work is usually concept-driven and involves exhaustive personal investigation into the subjects or themes. He is primarily a figurative painter, but often seeks alternative methods and forms to present ideas. From 2007 – 2010, a series of works on paper and installation books explored two poems from Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience by William Blake. Other works from Art History have informed Ed’s paintings. He is drawn to work from the past, especially the medieval period, for stylistic and conceptual reasons. In 2011, he was awarded an Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Fellowship and in 2009 a Kresge in Detroit Fellowship. He is a recipient of an Awards in the Visual Arts 8, an Arts Midwest National Endowment for the Arts, and a Bellagio Center Rockefeller Foundation residency. His paintings and drawings are in the public collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Cranbrook Art Museum, Flint Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
About Christine Hughes
Part of making art is work. Trying to figure out what to do, what imagery is right, how to draw a form and so on. Part of it is more ethereal and (for me at least) is not verbal or even something I understand very well. I enter my studio each time like it is the first time. Whatever I have done previously eludes me. If I consider a piece good, I have no idea how I did it or how to do it again. I spend an awful lot of time flailing about.
Drawing for me is a sensual event, the feel of the mechanical pencil’s soft lead, or pen tip on paper. And I always look for a line that reflects that quality, roundness, and rhythm in the finished drawing.
I spend a lot of my time looking down. Sidewalks, pathways, and looking closely. (Earth sign, shy.) Have always felt much better being grounded in the small bits of the natural world there. It was only natural that those were the things I was drawn to as imagery. My focus is on something taken from that world which contains enough information, depth and volume for me to want to work with it.
When drawing I study, look, understand with my pencil how something is formed, adjust my work. Drawing is more outside myself than painting is for me.
The physical aspect of painting, both the holding of the brush and the moving paint around, and the painting a physical object, even if abstract, are what I find important. The line around something, encompassing it, the shading on the edge of a form giving it volume, the illusion of physical. The teasing out the essence of the thing, a poetic reference as opposed to a recreation of the thing.
Painting then is a grappling with the elements of form, structure. Color becomes a tool to evoke space or weight. I am no longer interested in delineating the forms, as while drawing, but allow for other things to enter the mix. The Unconscious plays there, humor. There is a tension between what I am looking at and where the painting is taking me. After so many years of working and looking, there are certain elements which resonate in me. These aspects are like an ancient memory held somewhere in my periphery which I am drawn to, long for, and managing to capture even a glimpse of them in my paintings brings me great pleasure.
I have recently been working with handfuls of soil which contain many different things. The shapes are universal, familiar, simple and are all in relation to each other, connected, yet separate.
About Douglas James
Douglas James came of age in Detroit in the late sixties. He was the son of a factory worker, his inheritance a city engulfed in protests and riots, sound tracked by John Lee Hooker and the MC5. James went to Wayne State and then to Yale, and rather than continue on the well-lit art track to Manhattan, he went back to the darkened streets of the Motor City. There he found a community of like minds in the Cass Corridor and made paintings that, in the rear view mirror, look like Blue Collar Pop.
– Steve Powers 2016
Kathryn Brackett Luchs
Kathryn Brackett Luchs investigates traditional studio approaches for experimental outcomes – creating ‘hybrid’ works and installations that combine printmaking, painting, drawing and photography. Born in Detroit Michigan, at an early age Brackett Luchs moved to the Cultural Center in Detroit and began living, painting and filming experimental artists also creating in studios along what is now called the Detroit Cass Corridor. These early Super 8 documents became important source materials for the work ‘Images’ from Detroit’s Cass Corridor, an experimental video documentary that looks at Detroit’s experimental visual arts movement during the 1970’s and 80’s. The video premiered at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 2002 and in 2002 screened at the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival. It is shown often in conjunction with Detroit’s Cass Corridor visual art exhibitions – most recently, 2018, at MOCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit) where it has screened continuously at her husband’s 2018 exhibition – Michael Luchs: Fictitious Character.
Luchs began her formal education late, after developing a personal studio practice and being in group shows at The Detroit Institute of Arts and Kick Out the Jams: Detroit’s Cass Corridor 1963-1977 at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois. Her expressive early works in painting were chosen to represent Michigan in 1986-87 in The Contemporary Arts Center Biennial that traveled to The Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; Cleveland Institute of Art, Ohio; Herron Gallery, Indianapolis Center for Contemporary Art, Indiana; Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Her continuing interest in studio experiments and development of large-scale hybrid works have received recognition and many awards that include The Michigan Council for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award and The Ed Foundation Grant. Her knowledge, based in multiple studio approaches, has led to a rich teaching history at the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design that began in 1992.
For logistical reasons Brackett Luchs has selected a ‘source’ drawing to exhibit in
‘Detroit Diaspora’ “I began groups of charcoal pencil works on canvas in 2011 when my brother was dying. Coming home from my long teaching stint and commute and being with him – I just wanted to draw on a surface I could feel. Later these source drawings became installations with graphic photo materials – blown up images from the drawing (see ESSAY”D, Dennis Nawrocki) What has kept me interested in these drawings, beyond how they feel as they are made, is the fact that the charcoal pencil cannot be erased or painted out – I keep drawing to resolve the drawing – or abandon it.”
About Michael Luchs
“(Michael) Luchs was a key figure in the development of the Detroit avant-garde that is named after Cass Corridor – one of the down-and-out areas of the city devastated by the 1967 riots. In the 60’s and 70’s, the Cass Corridor art of Luchs, Gordon Newton, James Chatelain, Brenda Goodman, Ellen Phelan and others had a tough, sometimes violent, almost always experimental quality that reflected the Detroit inner city and made its avant-garde an inspiration for new art throughout the Middle West.
During his years in Detroit, Luchs made sculptures and assemblages in which forms were added to one another. He also did works on paper, like those in this show, which seem to be disintegrating before our eyes. The rabbits are indispensable. Their flowing, organic outlines and silhouettes, their link with fecundity and associations with softness and vulnerability provide a compositional and emotional background against which Luchs can burn and tear away.”
—Michael Brenson, New York times.
About Gary Mayer
Gary Mayer studied art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Gary’s work has been described as impactful and frenetic, kinetic but underneath is a framework built on a rich study of nature, of literature and of the history of art. Gary is prolific at all. His work is both lyrical and dark, sometimes using cartoon line a and sometimes highly expressionist brushwork. He has developed a broad organic vocabulary of forms which he reworks with a mastery of stroke whether it be a brush, a marker, or colored pencils. In 1982 he moved from his native Detroit to New York City where he exhibited at Exit Art. His work has since appeared in shows in his native Detroit and other parts of the country.
About Kurt Novak
Born and raised in Detroit, Kurt Novak has lived in New York City for the past 25 years. Originally known for installation works, which often included sound, he has been creating sculptures of various sizes and materials for most of his life. For the past 10 years he has primarily concentrated on scanner photography (using a scanner to create photographic works), a new medium of which he was an early proponent. An occasional curator, Novak currently has an exhibition of his scanner work on view at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall and a group show he curated called SOUL2SOUL: Detroit Art in Harlem on view in his private gallery/home in Harlem.
About Sandra Osip
I am part of the Detroit diaspora and currently live and work in
Brooklyn, NY. My current work is mixed media sculptures reminiscent of modern day dystopia wastelands such as old-school Detroit and the catastrophic destruction in Aleppo.
About Carlo Vitale
My work is mostly abstract impressionist paintings in oil (sometimes acrylic, watercolor and prints.)
The paintings and prints are kinetic and metaphysical abstractions. This evolved in my work because I was in an automobile that was hit by lightening. As the lightening lifted the car off the ground I experienced some sort of dimension change. Visually, there was no color, only the most brilliant white that can ever be imagined and also the darkest black. When one stares at my paintings the same positive/negative effect should happen. (This also happens with Seurat’s work.) Capturing the moment like a photograph.
I am a Detroit area artist, part of the 2nd generation of the Cass Corridor Abstract Movement. I grew up in Detroit, by City Airport and now have studios in Macomb and in the Thumb (of Michigan). I also spent much of my childhood summers on a relative’s farm where I developed a deep love for that lifestyle.
Much of my work is influenced by farmland area views, quilt-like ideas, city and farmscapes and ideas from my family life.
I have a Masters degree from Wayne State University and have taught at Macomb Community College.
Michigan artist, part of the 2nd generation of the Detroit Cass Corridor Movement.
About Shelly Malec Vitale
Shelley Malec Vitale is a Michigan artist and writer. She just finished a humorous contemporary romance book. Ms. Vitale worked in Detroit most of my life at art agencies, galleries and Center for Creative Studies. She was Art Director at a wild historic site in Romeo Michigan, The Starkweather Society. She has a BFA from Eastern Michigan University and now a teacher of watercolor and drawing at Anton Art Center in Mt. Clemens Michigan.