MadeINTERationally - exhibition at Slusser Gallery

Curated by Sara Adlerstein-Gonzalez and Doug Hesseltine
Slusser Gallery, School of Art and Design University of Michigan Ann Arbor
until October 9, 2009

This is a big show - 16 artists in a range of media from paint, scultpture to video. The focus of the show is a commonality of experience: artists who have spent significant time internationally and how it informs their work. It’s a terrific show and is beautifully installed as well. The work is organic, mature and engaging and the installation intelligently allows the art to speak to each other making the whole stronger and more interesting yet.

The work ranges from Nora Venturelli’s lyrical nudes and Jordi López-Alert’s conte drawings on brown paper to highly abstract ceramics by John and Susanne Stephenson and Georgette Zirbes. The organic abstracted forms of the ceramics play beautifully off of Sara Adlerstein-Gonzalez’s paintings and Takeshi Takahara’s intaglio prints on an interesting range of substrates including carved wood and ceramic. Janie Paul’s austere drawings on panel are subtle and meditative, drawing on close for more in depth contemplation.

Takeshi Takahara - intaglio on carved wood

array of ceramic pieces - wall pieces are Susanne Stephenson, pieces on pedestals are John Stephenson

John Stephenson

Susanne Stephenson

Janie Paul - drawing on wood panel

Janie Paul's small drawings on panel quietly draw one in to inspect closely - there's a lot happening here but you need to get close to experience it.

Co-Curator Sara Adlerstein-Gonzalez's abstracted organic paintings
are reminiscent of cave paintings or natural objects to me. Her work has a sensibility which I find very engaging and this aesthetic shows throughout the entire exhibition. Much of the work in the exhibition echoes the palette in her own work- making for a very harmonious feel in the room.

Edward West's photographs have a painterly sensibility.

Nora Venturelli's multi-panel figurative work is elegant and beautifully drawn.

Jordi López-Alert's conte drawings on brown paper bags are more informally presented than the rest of the work shown here but somehow they have a gravitas that kept me from being perturbed by the inconsitency of their presentation. They are lyrical drawings and the roughness of the paper holds up to the informality of their hanging.

Georgette Zirbes' installation of tiles with shards of other work embedded.

Susan Crowell's polychrome ceramic wall installation

Endi Poskovic - 10 large woodcuts

Miriam Korolkovas - design and maquette for installation. I liked this piece but did feel that it was a lone exception which didn't tie into an otherwise tightly linked group of works. The maquette could have read as sculpture without the architectural graphic behind it. there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this piece but it didn't feel integrated into the exhibition as a whole - in a show which was otherwise very tightly linked to my mind.

Not shown but worth checking out are two video pieces, one by John Marshall and one by Tirtza Even. Marshall's video cleverly lines up scenes from Braveheart and Trainspotting to make trenchant commentary on his native Scotland and people's stereotypes of same. Even's video incorporates camera work which took me quite off balance - provocative if disconcerting.

This is a strong and engaging show - well worth taking the time to head up to North Campus to see.

[post edited to add information about Tirtza Even's work and to correct the spelling of Jordi López-Alert's name.]


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