Another DAM good show: Northern Lights

Another DAM good show: Northern Lights

Originally published with

Another DAM good show: Northern LIghts – By Colin Darke

Date: May 4, 2011Author: thedetroiter.comCategory: Exhibit ReviewsOpenings and ExhibitsVisual Art← “Unhooked from Time” at Gallery ProjectCranbrook MFA vs. Nolan Simon/CCS Students vs. BBAC vs. Chris Riddell →

Rich Branstrom – Deer

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Rick Kolb – Harbor Town

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Rich Branstrom – Duck

In producing a voyage to the unique beauty of Up North, the Detroit Artists Market’s latest show falls short. Perhaps because of its limited scope (a showcase of northern Michigan artists), co-curators John F. Korachis and Rebecca Glotfelty failed to produce (as promised) a coherent artistic statement that reflects the charm of northern Michigan. And I am okay with that.

John and Rebecca showcased 20 northern Michigan artists whose work ranges from delicate, detail rich watercolor paintings to comical, readymade-esque sculptures. The show starts and ends with pieces that have the strongest points of view. Namely, the first few paintings (the paintings by Meredith Krell and Rick Kolb) have vivid colors (straight out of the tube primary colors) that depict postcard scenes of northern Michigan. The last few items are sculptures of a dog, a duck, and a deer’s head that Douglas Racich crafted out of found objects (the dog’s head is a boot). While an entire show of crafted sculptures would not resonate with me, I think that these pieces are a nice stopping point in the show. The show has quiet moments, funny moments, and confusing moments – like all worthwhile voyages should have.

One piece that I particularly liked was Steve Toornman’s Lake News. This is a serene painting that captures a stolen moment on a magnificent lake. I am glad that the show did not cling on to easily recognizable images from northern Michigan, but I am equally glad that the show does highlight some of the great imagery of northern Michigan. (Fun Fact: two of the most successful pieces (in my view) were painted by two artists who are married—Meredith Krell and Steve Toornman from Charlevoix.)

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Douglas Racich – Lightning Rod

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Pat Custer Denison – Bird of Many Legends

Please make a point to journey to the Northern Lights, which closes on Friday, May 27, 2011. DAM is open from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, and is located at 4719 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201,

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