When people hear the name “Michigan” automatically we think of the geographic aspects of the state, and Detroit and automobile production. But at the same time, looking closely, there are small, diverse sections of PEOPLE, talented people. The community that I want to speak of today is that of the diverse visual arts at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). The art world is starting to blossom in this lovely state of automobiles and cherry picking, with all forms of art: performing, architecture, design and other forms of visual arts. At EMU, Jennifer Seibert and Jason Ferguson help young artists open their minds to materials, installation techniques, and concepts of visual arts. On Monday, August 19th 2013 at 5pm, a one day open art exhibit called Uncertain Control will exhibit the talent of the community of Ypsilanti with a diverse interpretation of personal, social and political problems /experiences.
Artists Samantha Stamper and Kristen Strimbel express personal attachments to traditions in the family and what traditions and heritages are lost from the family. Stamper draws portraits of her grandparents and parents on parallel walls across from each other connecting them with fragile yarn. After creating this cat’s cradle like pattern, one by one she cuts each piece of yarn and tries to create new portraits. Future generations may not see this heritage and these traditions that the strings represent in this piece.
Kristen Strimbel explains that her family had a tradition of baking during the holidays. “You would have to be admitted in the hospital to miss this. Everyone has to call off work” she said during the interview. Strimbel talked about her grandmother being admitted in the hospital, leaving her to trying to bake these cookie recipes without the rest of the group for her installation. With tradition being such an important influence in her family, her installation focuses on the individual in the group and how to pass on these traditions.
There are things that challenge us personally everyday, such as our loss and unreachable goals. Artist Hania Bigoszewska will be performing and have an installation based on the performance. Handling the death of five of her close friends, she takes a huge personal leap to interpretation the emotional pain with physical discomfort. She will be filming herself enduring hot wax dripping on her back and creating a sculpture with the wax itself as a representation of emotional pain.
While loss is definitely something personal that everyone copes with differently, unattainable perfection is also a personal struggle to every individual. Kim Hildbrandt’s piece titled “Reach” is a performance in which she focuses on things both physically and emotional out of reach. Hildbrandt will perform as herself in a tutu trying to place dishes of ink on a shelf too high for her to reach, representing all the struggles that grow personally within us.
Some of these artist take a more personal connection with social subjects. Artists Maegen Damazyn, Jennifer Lickers and Amy Hinken all focus on matters of opinion and conflict in the world. Damazyn focuses her attention towards abuse. Creating a design weaving yellow yarn with purple to create the words “Stop Abuse”, she sends out a clear message with a unique twist to spread the word of an important issue that has recently over the last few decades, been looked at more closely.
Lickers shows a strong video on the inside of pipes where oil is being drilled. This piece is inspired by her local home in Saline, MI, where oil fracking is about to start. Her powerful imagery gives a statement to care about our environment and with empty water bottles filled with used motor oil and water of different mixtures is displayed by the video, gives a clear message. Would you want to drink the water you see in those bottles?
Amber Hinken’s installation resembles a child’s room but with fast food wrappers, happy meal toys and a small bed with a blanket having an abstract look of the obesity chart, are used to create the setting everything in this room is connected with child obesity. Hinken expressed a close tie to obesity in America. With all the controversy about body image and all the health issues obesity puts oneself at risk for, why don’t we change our habits? This installation is a message as to how we accept obesity in fear of changing to more healthier habits. And why don’t we change these habits?
Tina Kincer expresses much faith in our own local social commentary about Detroit. In her installation, she had everything either from Detroit or to be donated to the city to help the poor. In her interview she stated “Stop pointing fingers at the city and help the city.” Kincer expressed a huge hope and passion for Detroit and believes that with her heart she will inspire people to do the same. Her work is focused on metaphorical meaning that like us, Detroit has baggage and in order to move on, we must leave this baggage behind.
All of these artists have shown great passion in what they stand for and what moves their art into place. Artists like Michael Randall and Stephanie Pary however, have as much passion but with a little more abstraction.
Michael Randall uses fish wire, plastic balls (e.g. like from Chuckie Cheese’s ball pit) wrapped in gold leaf, and digital media to create an abstract installation of his interpretation of the value of creation. Using certain colors and music to create an environment, everything has a symbol such as the balls are covered in gold leaf and gold being symbol of value. This stunning installation is left for the audience to ponder and think with there own beliefs and thoughts on the creation such as found in religious stories.
Stephanie Pary has a passion for physics and while her work is more for the aesthetic rather than concept, she uses unique, everyday materials such as knee high socks and colored table salt to show the theory of chaotic motion. Being partially a performance art, Pary will show the theory of chaotic motion by creating motion with the socks filled with colored table salt.
The last artist, Todd Runge, is creating a space within the gallery. “Someone, only one will experience the room”. A quote from the artist himself, Todd wants to experiment with inclusion, value and expectation. The fact that only one individual will be admitted through a ticket with a lucky number, leaves everyone’s thoughts about this closed off space with a strong amount of curiosity. Want to experience this piece for yourself? August 19th is your only chance. Please come to enjoy this works of art for yourself.