“Made of Wood,” now showing through Jan. 30, at Northville’s Art House Gallery features a baker’s dozen of mostly local artists who have converted wood from raw or previously used forms to objects d’art.
Jeff Cancelosi, curator of the show, said he sought a range of interpretations of the theme and was delighted by the response to the call for submission.
Surprising was the fact that some submissions came from artists not known for their work in wood, Northville painter Darcel Deneau among them. Deneau is recognized for her representational Detroit cityscapes that depict traffic laden street scenes.
Deneau’s entries are small but fascinating wooden “cabinets” made from discarded materials. They hold the “little secrets” that people tend to hide. The paradox is that the sequestered feelings and past deeds are in truth readily apparent and that attempts to cover them up, deny them or otherwise keep them from the public, are futile.
Detroiter Theresa Petersen converts discarded table extenders – she calls them sliders — into horizontal three-tiered “Rubik’s Cubes” that are made up of collaged images that break up and reassemble as the three wooden bars are extended one way or another. The images on the sliders are from old advertising images and illustrations and depict the relationships between women’s stereotypes and ideals. By collaging the images onto the old table sliders, Petersen alludes to the fact that our lives can be re-sorted or changed.
“Cutting things apart and symbolically recreating them is part of the charm and power of collage and assemblage. It’s like you are really changing the world, in a way, since you are changing real, everyday things from the world,” said Petersen.
For me, the highlight of the show is a trio of intricately carved sculptures – each nearly reaching the Art House’s ceiling, created by Ann Arbor’s Michael Kapetan. One is a somewhat roughly hewn but gracefully standing ribbon of wood that may be liturgical – a priest’s sash comes to mind – which is one of three areas in which Kapetan specializes. The other two are abstract and solar.
Another of Kapetan’s entries is a vertical piece comprising columns of daisy-chain-like cubes, each about the size of child’s toy block standing on one corner, while the third piece in the show is a magnificently carved, figure-laden vertical merry-go-round for lack of a better description that can be rotated by hand.
Kaptean‘s abstract sculptures tend to probe beneath the surface appearance to find the dynamic
interplay of energy, time, space and emotion and bring them to light in a visual musical way. Here he succeeds very well.
Other artists in the show are Larry Cressman, Gary Eleinko, Todd Erickson, Larry Fox, Joe Fugate, Joan Painter Jones, Victor Pytko, Gene Smith, Joe Trippi, and Larry Zdeb.
Gallery hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. For more information, call 248-344-0497 or visit www.northvillearts.org. The Art House is located at 215 W. Cady Street and is a facility of the Northville Arts Commission. There is no admission fee.