On a sunny Sunday, I ventured down Liberty — past Main — to the Ann Arbor Art Center. Despite being my first time venturing upstairs, it was my second-ever visit. Both times, natural light and kind staff have made the space feel open and inviting. The first floor was comprised mainly of their shop behind a small gallery space of artworks for sale, but stairs in the middle of the room invited me to see the exhibition space in their 117 Gallery. This juried exhibition was media-focused, displaying drawings from multiple different styles and perceptions.


I never really know the best direction in which to roam around a gallery, but there were only two other visitors there that afternoon, so I had some freedom. The first artwork I saw was a large, colorful piece that had received honorable mention: Scott Teplin’s mixed media piece Big School. I remembered seeing it on the AAAC website, but in person, the colors were much more vibrant and the large piece encapsulated much detail.

There were some more traditional pieces, such as John McKaig’s Blind Crown, a large-scale colored pencil piece full of exquisite drapery. Often enamored by drapery studies from both a viewer and artist perspective, it became one of my favorites.

Detail of “Blind Crown”

Beside it, a 3D-drawing pen and plant-based resin sculpture by Lavinia Hanachiuc named Silkie3 hung with its shadow close by on the wall. It didn’t take very long to notice the depths of the variety in style from piece to piece, and I quickly began to realize that I was getting an indirect lesson in the possibilities of drawing as a media. While there wasn’t an every-other order from the traditional to “experimental” styles (for lack of a more accurate descriptor), there was a nice shift from framed pieces to installation-types every so often.

The gallery space flows from windowless to brightly sunlit-spaces, though I enjoyed all of the shadows created of the three-dimensional pieces no matter the light source. I never thought about the corners of galleries until I noticed Larry Cressman’s Drawing (Into a Corner 10) installation drawing, composed of teasel, graphite, matte, medium, and pinsi — seemingly created to be shown in a corner. It sticks out, drawing attention to itself, though somehow also seemed reserved…an element that I enjoyed.

“Drawing (Into a Corner 10)”

Aside from final results of drawing, an exhibited piece was a drawer itself. The center of the room boasts a robot drawing machine by Ashley Pigford, available for demonstration with the assistance of AAAC staff. I didn’t end up using it, but I’d be interested in seeing its results.

As far as the gallery space itself, I liked that it was on the second floor because it felt like a more personal and unsupervised first experience with the art on show. There was no pressure to react in any specific ways, which I sometimes sense when viewing galleries with a staff member nearby or passersby peering in through a window. The sunlit section was more inviting than the other space flowing into it, but that’s absolutely a personal bias and not related to the exhibition itself. I attended alone on a particularly quiet afternoon, but it would be a fun outing with friends as well. It was also a nice chance to see works done by artists affiliated with the Ann Arbor arts community, outside of the university bubble.

This gallery visit was kind and eye-opening with simple displays of a wide range of works. I highly recommend a visit! It’s free and open to the public, and if you’re an interested art-buyer, many of these works are for sale. On March 16th from 5-7pm, the day before the exhibit ends, AAAC is hosting a happy hour as one of the final chances to see Art Now: Drawing. There will be refreshments and an interactive drawing activity — if it’s with the robot, I want to see results! Otherwise, gallery hours are below.



Venturing just slightly beyond the bubble of UM, one can find the Ann Arbor Art Center, a nonprofit organization home to local art and rotating exhibitions. The current exhibition is “ART NOW: Drawing” — one focused on particular media and the fourth annual of its kind, exploring conventional and less traditional types of drawing.

For more information, check out their website.

Or, wander down Liberty and check it out!

Dates: Showing through March 17th, 2018
Location: Ann Arbor Art Center’s 117 Gallery
117 W. Liberty St.
Gallery Hours:

REVIEW: 93rd Annual All Media Exhibition


I attended the opening reception for the 93rd Annual All Media Exhibition. The event was packed with art-lovers and the walls were decked out with works of art. The live music contributed to the classiness of the atmosphere and the free wine and appetizers satisfied the crowd. A few artists that captured my attention as I made my way through the gallery were Michael Reedy and Cathryn Amidei. All of the exhibited artists are based in the Great Lakes region and these artists in particular are based in Michigan.

Reedy’s piece in the exhibition, entitled The Kiss, is a mixed-media piece. It involves a naked female-figure and a child-figure in an ambiguous space. The naked female-figure sits and embraces the child-figure with closed eyes. Hauntingly, the child-figure is eyeless and skinless; the viewer sees its veins, organs, and skeletal structure. Both figures are vulnerable insofar as the female-figure is naked and the child-figure’s bodily insides are literally exposed. The relationship between the two figures suggests intimacy and the title, The Kiss, reinforces this perceived intimacy. The ambiguous space in the background highlights the all-consuming intensity of their intimacy. Nothing else exists.


Amidei’s piece in the exhibition, entitled Receptor, is a hand-woven fabric piece. Its solitary female figure directly stares at the viewer and her gaze is longs for attention. A familiar-feeling pattern spreads across her face. The greens and purples add to the seductive quality of her gaze. The piece is quite hypnotic in-person because the texture is more perceptible. The title, Receptor, implies receiving and the state of openness. The piece invites its viewers to step into into its seductively-patterned world. The Kiss involves figures engaged with each other rather than with the viewer; Receptor, however, involves a solitary figure that directly and hypnotically engages the viewer.


Several other artists participated in the exhibition and their works are worth experiencing in-person. Importantly, the exhibition included Great Lakes artists that work in a variety of media. Artists tend to concentrate within somewhat limited scopes of expertise. For example, an accomplished painter may know little about photography and likewise an accomplished photographer may know little about painting. The exhibition combines artists with differing scopes of expertise and celebrates their shared characteristics: firstly, their ability to create art and secondly, their ties to the Great Lakes region.

The 93rd Annual All Media Exhibition will run until the end of November.

PREVIEW: Please Don’t Feed The Animals

Please Don’t Feed the Animals

This Saturday, April 20th there will be multiple gallery- both openings on campus and off- that exhibit the year long Integrative Projects of the senior students in the Penny Stamps School of Art & Design. This particular show, “Please Don’t Feed the Animals,” features the work of Erica Neumann, Anna Schulte, and Claire Jones. Each artist practices a different medium: typography, photography, and sculpture respectively. Two of these three artists are in my Book Arts class so I have already previewed their work. It is stunning- so professional, clean, intriguing, and unprecedented. Erica Neumann has fashioned animal figures out of various fonts and tells the narrative of evolution, both of typography and animal species. Anna Schulte’s photographs are a meditation of happiness. Claire Jones has created her own version of “taxidermy.”

This creative and labor intensive process will finally be on display at the Ann Arbor Art Center from April 20th to May 4th (117 W. Liberty St). An opening reception to celebrate the artwork will take place beginning at 5 pm on Saturday. Don’t miss the special  opportunity to see the talented designs of these up and coming artists. See you there!

PREVIEW: UMMA’s Student Late Night

UMMA’s Student Late Night

On Thursday April 4th from 8-11 pm, the UMMA will host the annual Student Late Night. Since September, the UMMA Student Programming Advisory Council (SPAC) has been planning for this multi-media evening. The venue will be jam packed with activities, performances, and prizes.  WCBN Radio will be DJ-ing all night; live music  includes Music School senior Peter Felsman and friends who will accompany a performance by Cadance Dance Company.  The Ann Arbor Art Center will host an art-making activity. The SPAC has arranged a scavenger hunt throughout the museum, featuring pieces from the permanent collection. But there will also be ample opportunity to explore the visiting exhibits by El Anatsui, Florencia Pita F/P Mod, and Francis Alÿs. There will also be  a photo booth for you and your friends as well as free snacks and refreshments. The evening is partially  sponsored by Arts at Michigan and a number of local businesses and restaurants whose goods are up for prizes. Come get your UMMA gear, including buttons featuring images from the permanent collection, and so much more.

Bring your friends! In the meantime, check out the SPAC’s blog The Annex. See you there!