Detroit Artists Marketís All Media Exhibition revels in esthetic tension

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Biannual All Media Exhibition at Detroit Artists Market is always fun, but it’s a particular treat this year in that the judging was done by Timothy J. van Laar, an artist and critic who’s just starting his second year as chair of fine arts at the College for Creative Studies.

“I wanted the show to reflect a broad range,” says van Laar, who came to CCS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It’s a goal he’s clearly accomplished in spades.

“I don’t have an ideological approach to art,” he adds. “When it’s good, I like it. And I’m particularly attracted to work with a sense of humor.”

This handsomely hung exhibit, with 67 pieces by 58 artists, turns out to be an exuberant exercise in eclecticism. And indeed, many works have an amusing hidden meaning, like Carol Hanna’s third place “Two Fish Separated by a Hare’s Breath.”

Dominated by parallel, vertical lines, “Two Fish” at first looks to be an abstract painting, but is actually an analog representation of a ringed kingfisher’s call, typical of Hanna’s inclination to mix art with science.

“So you think it’s an abstraction, but it turns out to be representational,” van Laar says. “It’s not only beautiful, but very smart.”

Excerpt from Written by Michael H. Hodge.

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