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Acts of Recognition

Posted March 6, 2012 in Events

Acts of Recognition 

The current exhibit in the galleries at Kendall College of Art and Design are a perfect spot to take a little time out from the busy-ness of life.  It’s serene, airy and uncluttered while giving the visiter an opportunity to  meander, meditate and ponder what the artists might be trying to say.   
The eight artists being exhibited are from Grand Rapids and Chicago.  Many of them know each other and seemed comfortable with their work installed in the same show. 
The show is called “Acts of Recognition.” According to Michele Bosak, the curator, “ This exhibition was specially designed to bring together selected works by eight artists who employ structure through material physicality, relationships, repetition, labor, language, history and space. Although  visually quiet in nature, these works reveal themselves through careful consideration and layers of interest.”
I’m not a art critic.  My background is design and fashion so I feel a little out of my element when I wander around the opening reception.  To my relief,  Michael Pfleghaar, a well known GR artist who currently has an exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum,  sensed my confusion and led me to some some of his favorite pieces.  
“I like the work of Miriam Slager,’” he said pointing to the end wall.  “I think it fits with the theme of seeing something and then having it revealed as you get closer. “ 
And yes, what had appeared to me to be books on shelves, turned out to be dryer papers artfully arranged.  Another shelf held junk mail all lined up by color and size and another, blocks of sandpaper.  

So I talked to Miriam who explained it as kind of a documentation of every day life. I thought it a wonderful mix of what is called conceptual art--it has a message--and something I found pleasing to look at.

Another artist who took the time to chat with me was Sarah Lindley. She had several architectural porcelain pieces that represent the industrial buildings on the Kalamazoo River. I found myself drawn to a piece attached to the long wall of the gallery. I liked the shadow it made as well as its winding nature, delicate and inviting, like the river it represents.

We talked a bit about the residency she and her husband, also an artist, shared at the Kohler Art Center in Wisconsin. At this point, Jeff Meeuwsen, the Executive Director of UICA (Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts) joined the discussion and he talked about how artists from the Midwest are gaining more recognition for their work.

"Acts of Recognition" is certainly an example of that thought. It will be on view until March 17, 2012.

-by Susan J. Smith
-Photography by Matthew Gubancsik  


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