Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why Would You Buy Halloween Candy Early? You're Just Going to Eat It.

Between Valerie Mann's people-packed and impressive exhibit opening at WSG in Ann Arbor, followed by the equally packed Reclaimed opening in Wyandotte, Friday was a whirlwind of visual stimuli and conversation. For me, the WSG openings have morphed into this lovely, warm opportunity to reconnect with acquaintance/friends in the local art world and I would have happily spent the entire evening there...

Each interconnected evening gown that Valerie had sewn was different from the next. The roughness and text printed on the feed sack material was a great counterpoint to the cool elegance of the vintage pattern lines. The sack wording only appeared in choice parts of each garment and so avoided overkill. Periodic use of raw silk(?) provided lustrous highlights among the swaying beige forms.

I LOVE the detailing on this!
I brought my camera with to take snaps, but strongly suspected any of my attempts to capture the installation would be inadequate. I often bring my camera places, but then become shy about actually taking pictures and wind up with 5 photos that don't reflect the event in any way whatsoever. This evening was no different: I am ashamed to say that there's a photo of myself from the night, but not even one of the guest of honor!  And at River's Edge, I didn't remove it from my bag once -- even though I probably won't trek out there again during the show -- and several of the artists I wanted to meet where there. Last month, one of my favorite people advised me to just "be ruthless and amuse yourself." She wasn't taking a keen interest in my mediocre photography skills, but maybe I'll just apply it there.
No crowd shots, but I did snag two Barbaras: a talented glassblower and a Goethe-quoting bookmaker/paper artist.                 

Isn't her necklace delicious? So rich and berrylike.

She offered to take my photo in return, because I was flitting about in the dress my Mom sewed for my junior prom. Hahaha! I thought I'd get ironic/jeering comments about it at the next destination, but no, women stopped me with compliments, on the sidewalk and as I walked past them at the bar after the Reclaimed show. No ironic armor needed!

Yes, I stepped inside the exhibit. Friend privilege. I also touched one of her sculptural purses. They kind of invite it. Or so some would say. Wow, I'm really not good with limiting for captions, hunh.

Kicky pattern paintings. They are so pleasing, grouped together like that! 

See? What you can't tell from the photos: people everywhere, more formal wear, both serious and campy; wayyy more to the exhibit and the other exhibit spaces, Val's daughter crawling underneath one of the dresses as a shortcut to rejoin her friends, good conversationalists spied across the room that I had no chance to pounce on before leaving...

I can't really do the Reclaimed show justice -- or maybe not at this point in the evening anyway. Overall, the quality was really high: the pieces were variously cool, intriguing, kerazzzy-intricate, or confidently simple and slick. Especially appreciated, after the long drive! And man, the 12 mile stretch of Eureka is U-G-L-Y: strip joints and chains that I thought had gone under decades ago. Plus several guys in pickups looking over at red lights: bizarre. I have no sense of the area outside of that, just the last leg of the drive itself felt odd.

So, Boom! I almost walk past the River's Edge, it is packed to the gills with art, but not in your staid gallery way. More gritty/urban/hipster. Another opening was happening upstairs, plus more gallery space on the third floor. Reclaimed was just to the left of the entry way, all the artwork hung in close quarters. I was excited to be able have a few "How did you DO that??" conversations and a couple times that was directed my way as well, which was gratifying. I could basically shout-out most of the folk that Perfect Laughter has already profiled, but that would be silly.

Ryan Weiss, of the postcard, was sweet and quite engaged with his art. I asked him about the significance of the houses and he said that when he first started doing them, a couple of his friends had actually just lost theirs. "So, I don't know, it was kind of like, the more I made these, the more people would have houses. That's kind of naive, silly~" This is the gist of what he said, not a direct quote. And he was wasn't being gormless. I get it : I find it almost impossible not to take things symbolically at times. And isn't that kind of perfect symbolism? And a wonderful impulse? I like it.

A handful of us grabbed a couple beers at the boringly named Sports Brew Pub. Tip: if you're ever out that way, definitely try their brews! Their weiner dog stout was as rich and full-bodied as a stout should be --  and the fruit flavors within the cherry ale perfectly balanced the beer. Stongly recommended.

The rest of the weekend I was hermitty. Last gasp for getting things ready for next Sunday's Art on the Farm! Somewhat productive, somewhat trudgy. I did a few more wood panels with print snippets:

Unlikely saint. First attempt at a halo. Maybe should have gone with red.

this came out a bit different than I meant, but could be interesting

My favorite part is actually the side.

So that's about all in that department. Card snippets all over the sofa, framed prints leaning all over each other in the living room, for the hospital show.

I eventually ventured outside to bag the leaf piles I raked up yesterday (no neighborhood kids eyeing my yard for leaves this time around). I didn't anticipate seeing anyone, what with the dinner hour, Not that I *didn't* want to see anyone, but I definitely was in my not-leaving-the-house attire. One friendly acquaintance strolled past, carrying his little boy; grandmother, in tow. I see him and his family maybe once a year. We chatted for a few minutes.  After a few exchanges, his son couldn't hold it in any longer: "I have a TRAIN set!!" We paused to contemplate that. I praised him for it and noted that my Dad, who takes pictures of trains, would LOVE that he has a train set. He nodded, happily.  His Dad asked whether I was doing any art, which enabled me to bring up the hospital exhibit again (how can this NOT be anticlimactic? Because I'm rawther excited and it's not like there's an opening.)

A few moments pass. "*I* have finger paints!!" Oh, that's great, I say. "You have paint on your pants," he adds. Yes, I agree, that's true: "Because I was also painting, earlier today." He nods, but gazes at the multi-hued pants. "But I don't have a train set," I add. At this, his face takes on a somber cast.

"Well!" says his Grandmother,"You can't have it all!"

True, I agree, true. Somehow, I'm holding it together without the Lionels.

Candy tip: "fun size" more fun when doubled or tripled.

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