What’s going on: Contemporary art from Detroit

June 30 – August 28, 2011

Clinton Snider, "What's Going On," oil painting, 16”h x 24”w
Clinton Snider, “What’s Going On,” oil painting, 16”h x 24”w

This show, curated by Steve Panton of 2739 Edwin Gallery in Hamtramck, Michigan, presents a loosely compiled survey of Detroit area artists whose work results in some form of representation of the city. Wide-ranging in terms of media, approach and ambition, the intent is to highlight work that shows perception, empathy and an avoidance of the clichéd.

Quote from participating artist Kathleen Rashid:

“In the late 70’s and early ‘80’s I did a lot of plien-air painting around Detroit focusing on what struck me then as overlooked and forgotten parts of the city. Local residents were bemused; people couldn’t understand why I wanted to paint the city at all, and particularly why I wanted to paint the scenes I did. In 2010 I returned to some of the same locations to re-paint them. Of course the locations themselves had changed, but more striking was the interest that local residents showed in the work I was doing. It seemed that Detroiters now took it for granted that the city was a subject for representation and that the ways in which it was represented impacted them directly.”

Participating Artists

‘jide Aje

'jide Aje, "Africa Series #22910", mixed media on cardboard, 15" x 22"
‘jide Aje, “Africa Series #22910″, mixed media on cardboard, 15″ x 22”

‘jide Aje is a Hamtramck-based artist whose work reflects a deep interest in African culture and a constant experimentation with new creative processes. Educated in Nigeria and the U.S., Aje has a degree in Art from the University of Ife, where his tutors were influenced by the “Zaria Rebels” — the pioneering group of artists who questioned the European syllabus at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria around the time of Nigerian independence (late 50’s to early 60’s).

Reflecting the “natural synthesis” philosophy from Zaria, Aje’s own work draws its content primarily, but not exclusively, from Yoruba traditional sources, and derives from a background that contrasts rural and urban, traditional and modern, African and Western. Constantly experimenting with new materials and processes, and always seeking out new experiences and knowledge, his work is ever evolving, yet instantly recognizable.

Anthony Bacon, DJ Swine Flu, mixed media, 30" x 48" framed
Anthony Bacon, DJ Swine Flu, mixed media, 30″ x 48″ framed

Anthony Bacon
Tony Bacon is an artist, art educator and lifelong Detroiter whose diverse catalog is characterized by its energy and constant experimentation. He graduated in Fine Arts from Howard University and currently teaches in the Liberal Arts department at Schoolcraft College. “DJ Swine Flu” is part of a large and rich series of work that places the DJ figure into various situations in the city.

Rebecca Cook

Rebecca Cook is a Reuters contract photographer covering SE Michigan and the surrounding area. As a long time Detroit resident and veteran photo-journalist Cook has been uniquely positioned to observe the city over the last quarter century, being both thrust into the center of the most newsworthy events of the period, as well as independently investigating and promoting stories that might otherwise go unrecorded. Her practice has often returned to the themes of community, labor and the environment and she has built a remarkable body of work in these areas.

Maurice Greenia, Jr.

Maurice Greenia Jr. is a native Detroit artist whose work grows out of the city. His surrealist vision has responded to Detroit in both the good times and bad times and has expressed itself in temporary chalk street drawings, his street theater / music project “The Space Band,” film, puppetry, his long running twice-monthly poetry broadsheet “The Poetic Express” and literally thousands of paintings and drawings.

In 2008 he was recognized with a large survey of his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. His work is currently being archived in a special on-line collection at the University of Detroit Mercy.

Scott Hocking

Scott Hocking, Ziggurat, East, Summer II, (from series Ziggurat and FB21 (2008), 22" x 33"
Scott Hocking, Ziggurat, East, Summer II, (from series Ziggurat and FB21 (2008), 22″ x 33″

Scott Hocking was born in Redford Township, Michigan in 1975, and has lived and worked in Detroit proper since 1996. He creates site-specific sculptural and photographic installation projects, often using found materials.

His artwork has been exhibited nationally at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Cranbrook Art Museum, the University of Michigan, the Smart Museum of Art, and Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and internationally at the Kunst-Werke Institute, the Van Abbemuseum, and the Kunsthalle Wien. He recently completed projects at Sculpture Space in upstate New York, and at the Bundanon Trust in New South Wales, Australia.

Toby Millman

Toby Millman is a Hamtramck-based artist whose work combines text, photography and various strategies for cut-paper, to illustrate the intersection of identities, culture and politics.

The blocks on display are influenced by her time working on the census, and flyers she’s collected in the highly diverse Detroit enclave city of Hamtramck.

Her artist’s book “Access and Closure” (stories from in and out of an occupied Palestine) is available from Vamp & Tramp, Booksellers

Kathleen Rashid

Kathleen Rashid is a lifelong Detroiter who grew up in the Linwood and Lothrop area, and graduated from Wayne State with degrees in English and Fine Art. She has exhibited regularly since the early 80’s in venues throughout the Detroit Metro area and elsewhere.

Rashid has adopted a consistently representational approach as a painter. Her mature painting style takes easily overlooked objects, or scenes, and meticulously observes details that only appear after careful observation. In this way her paintings transcend the literal, and become invested with a luminous quality. Her painting style is entirely consistent with her lifelong commitment to peace, tolerance and looking beyond the surface.

Gary Schwartz

Gary Schwartz is an Academy Award nominated filmmaker, award winning animator, director, artist & educator. He conducts intensive hands-on animation workshops in elementary, middle, high school, under-graduate, graduate, post-graduate, professional training, film festivals, museums, summer camps, community centers, prisons & psychiatric hospitals national & internationally in an environment of creativity, imagination & self-expression.

Through his company, Single Frame Films, Gary produced, designed & directed animation for Disney, Sesame Street, MTV, Fox Television, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and others.

Mr. Schwartz is currently Lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design. His kinetic cinema sculptures, installations & films have been exhibited in major museums & galleries internationally.

Clinton Snider

Clinton Snider is a Detroit area artist who has made extensive use of landscape to examine issues of social, environmental and personal transformation. Working primarily in the city and utilizing a variety of mediums, but most notably oil painting, he has produced a body of work that is beautifully realized and approachable, but which defies easy analysis.

Bryant Tillman

Bryant Tillman is a lifelong Detroiter who studied at Wayne County Community College and the Center for Creative studies before serving in the US Navy. He is a prolific artist who has exhibited regularly throughout the metro Detroit area and elsewhere since the early 1980’s. More recently he has curated shows at a number of artist run galleries in the city.

Working primarily in acrylic his art moves effortlessly between representation and abstraction. His landscapes of the city deal with everyday scenes and impress with their painterly qualities and their quiet beauty and honesty.

1 Comment on “What’s going on: Contemporary art from Detroit

  1. I’m really, really looking forward to this great- looking exhibit! I spent some of the most formative years of my life living in Detroit – and love that city from deep in my heart. I’m always looking to see representations of the city that go beyond the stereotyped – and show the Real Detroit!