Thursday, July 9, 2015

Armchair Travel: Ann Arbor Art Fair Artist Peek

It's debatable how much I'll get to wander the Ann Arbor Art Fair next week, but just right now, with the baby asleep in a snuggly blanket in the study and a steady thrum of rain hitting our roof, it's a good time to visit the artists' directory for "the original." Starting in the A's, we have numerous returning artists here ... If I have the baby freedom, I'll check out:

  • Kent Ambler's woodcuts. Is there a growing printmaker presence at the show, or is it just my imagination? Ambler's prints strike me as more traditional woodblocks, though this may be inaccurate from an art school perspective. More rough hewn? Blockier? Words are clearly failing me. Or I am failing them. Anyhoo, they look similar to the woodblock prints I grew up seeing in my parents' house: bold lines, high contrast between light and dark, palpable texture. While I am most drawn to his single block work, his use of color is also quite good, as seen in "On the Hunt." Separately, block constructs, whaaaaaaaaaat??? In theory, we destroy our woodblocks after an edition, which I have an aversion to; but every once in a while an artist will do something else with the blocks -- or flat out sell them. Looks like he deconstructs his... Booth A532, Hails from Greenville, SC 
  • Jerry Brem's large scale mixed media paintings of book shelves hold appeal within their abstracted repetition and color variation; and inspire (a knee-jerk?) fondness. The repetitions of chairs though, aggravate in their floatiness and call to mind a furniture warehouse. Will see how they sit (*sorry*) in person.  Booth A520, hails from Lady's Island, SC
  • Curt Miller's prints. His website made me laugh, why not go laugh at him in person? Booth A537, Montoursville, PA
  • Katie Mulsoff's watercolors! Yayyyyyyyy, I love her! Returning. One year on, and I still love the pieces on my wall. Had I a bigger kitchen, I would buy some of her produce pieces. Baby currently talks to "Come Together," a still life with bird, with outstretched wings, flanked by ferns and small purple flowers. Warning: her work sells out. Booth A328, Stoddard, WI
  • Ray Maseman's narrative multiple plate etchings call to mind older schools of children's book illustration; Listed categories under his Projects tab on his web site gives some of the flavor: "Saints Reimagined," "Sub-Arctic Expedition," "Giraffe Story." Booth A518, hails from Albuquerque, NM
  • Sarah Bean's book art. Returning. I *believe* her booth was one that caused a buzz among my artist/book friends last year? Always, book sculptures make me feel ambivalent. Books! Drawn to them. Books were cut up! Makes me cringe. Booth A504, from Redford, VA
  • Local painter Karin Wagner Coron's landscapes. Returning. Local readers may have viewed her pieces at WSG on Main Street. I am a long-time admirer. The photo onsite doesn't do justice to her work -- the colors and compositions of her large pieces simultaneously energize and calm -- they'd be a pleasure to live with. Booth A364.
  • Creepy, fabulous, claustrophobic, plush dystopia of National Treasure. Joachim Knill returns. Always popular. always disquieting. Booth A206, Hannibal, MO
On a *completely* different note, artist's statements~~~ This really can help to differentiate you if it's done well. Judging by an initial scan, oiiiiiii, so many generic ones... Either inflated with art speak, or bland and obvious (I allow my viewers to bring their experiences to my work, therefore, *they* complete the art -- yes, thanks, Art 101; I use many media and colors, so it's never boring! ---hmmm, what?) On the flip side, a statement can occasionally miss the mark by striking an oddly personal tone, as in: "I just try to be myself, it is sometimes difficult when the whole world is telling you not to be" (note: this was the entire artist statement). Flip flip flip side -- this bare bones statement definitely needs fleshing out -- it tells nothing of Matthew Hemminghaus' motivation, but admit is -- it kind of makes you want to check it out (Booth A411) : "I build miniature sets in my studio which i use to photograph my chickens."

Also of Note: Artist Demonstrations! Dallison, Bean, and others are demonstrating their craft (photography, clay, fiber, metalworking, more) at select times. Full schedule here.

AND OH MY GOD I CAN'T BELIEVE BABY HAS BEEN ASLEEP THIS LONG. A blanket is being rustled. I will stop while I'm ahead.

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