By Jeffery L Carey, Jr.
Buckham Gallery’s latest show, Field Work, highlights eight female artists, but Buckham’s Exhibition Director Michele Leclaire asserted “it is not about being a female artist…an exhibition of this caliber should inspire all artists and art lovers.”
Nonetheless, the show was sponsored by Marylin Steele and the Dorothy Olsen Fund, LeClaire said, specifically to showcase and “raises the value” of women’s art. The works included encompass painting, photography, fiber and mixed media.
The eight intriguing artists featured in Field Work, almost all living and working in Southeast Michigan, “have a deep understanding and appreciation of the imagery and materials they are employing in their practice,” she said.
As the show’s title suggests, Field Work explores the natural world through a variety of approaches that include interpretations of flora and fauna. An underlying urgency of the exhibit, Leclaire added, is an effort “to invoke a commentary on resources and sustainability.”
According to Leclaire, the artists each worked with the concept in distinctly different ways.
They are Morgan Barrie, Susan Goethel Campbell, Lindsey Dezman, Iris Eichenberg, Nancy Mitchnick, Amy Sacksteder, Margo Wolowiec, and Elizabeth Youngblood.
The show opened during Flint’s Art Walk Friday, Sept. 13 and will run through Oct. 6. A panel discussion moderated by Sarah Rose Sharp, a writer for the national arts magazine Hyperallergic will be held at the gallery 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3. Leclaire said 373 people attended the opening.
She added gratitude to Marylin Steele and the Dorothy Olsen Fund for enabling the gallery to work with curator Alison Wong.
Wong is from Wasserman Projects in Detroit, a project whose “mission is to promote the work of outstanding practitioners based locally and around the globe by hosting exhibitions, conversations, and supporting creativity wherever we can be useful.”
“It is truly curator Alison Wong’s masterful understanding of contemporary art,” stated Leclaire, “to pull together eight artists, all working in different mediums, into a cohesive vision.”
Cass Corridor (Detroit) artist Nancy Mitchnick offers a large scale painting “that highlights her mastery of the medium by capturing the beauty of a pastoral landscape through a layering of expressive brush strokes and rich colors,” Leclaire said.
According to the Detroit Artists Workshop, Mitchnick has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, and a National Endowment for the Arts award. She recently received the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award at Harvard.
Artist Susan Goethel Campbell of Detroit not only took inspiration from nature, Leclaire said, but used it to create a large scale installation composed of grasses grown in plastic bottles and other manmade packaging. Campbell’s bio describes her work as “multi-disciplinary that considers the contemporary landscape to be an emergent system where nature, culture and the engineered environment are indistinguishable from one another.”
“She put soil and grass seed in water bottles,” Buckham Executive Director Lynn Penning said of Campbell’s piece Flint Carpet. “The grass seed grew and then she uncapped it.” Once uncapped, the water evaporated and the grass dried. Penning said the installation, a comment on Flint’s water crisis, was made of found materials and scraps including primarily water bottles and food trays.
Also included are Lindsey Dezman’s inkjet documentations of natural forming clays mined from an area in the United States known as the Driftless Area in contiguous corners of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, According to Leclaire, Dezman, of Detroit, investigated the clays during a residency to that region.
Like Dezman, photographer Morgan Barrie now of Wisconsin uses digital inkjet composites. Her body of work, as described by Leclaire, explores “a built aspect of the environment” by following the same basic structure as millefleur tapestries, a tapestry usually characterized by its background motif of many small flowers.
Two pieces from Iris Eichenberg, a sculptor and installation artist originally of Amsterdam but now full-time at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, are included as well, with one piece being a table made of wood and wool. There also are gouache collages from artist, Amy Sacksteder of Ypsilanti who works in painting, drawing, and collage.
Another interesting piece is a large hand-woven linen, Aftermath II, by artist Margo Wolowiec of Detroit. According to Leclaire, Wolwiec works predominantly with textiles. “She prints images on fabric, rips the fibers apart, and then reweaves the strands together creating new tapestry,” Leclaire said.
Rounding out the exhibit are Detroiter Elizabeth Youngblood’s pieces, Bow with Privet and 4 Small Domestic Vessels made of porcelain. Leclaire defined Youngblood’s artmaking practice as including the mediums of drawing, ceramics, weaving, book binding and more.
“Buckham Gallery has received 500+ visitors during Art Walk since we moved into the new space,” Leclaire said. “To truly experience Field Work, visitors should return during the month.”
Buckham Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. during this exhibit.
“It is the mission of Buckham Gallery to enrich the cultural life of its surrounding communities by presenting a broad range of innovative contemporary art of the highest quality and standard,” Leclaire said.
More information on the Field Work exhibit is available at Buckham Gallery, 810-239-6233, 121 W. Second St. Flint.
Banner photo, Susan Goethel Campbell’s Flint Carpet, by Darlene Carey.
EVM Staff Writer Jeffery L. Carey, Jr. can be reached at jeff