Art flowing freely at the "Creative Expressions" group show opening.
It is easy, in the context of the art world, to take art very seriously. To be sure, art is a mechanism for social critique and personal catharsis, and that can lead to dark and solemn places. But there is a refreshing feeling to art, which is taking fun seriously. That spirit is alive and in colorful bloom at the CCS Center Galleries, where the “Creative Expressions” group show opened on March 21
Down low: a collection of shoes with boxes by Mike Swaney (foreground); Dylan Spaysky's "Turtle" (background).
The show, which will run through May 2, was organized by artist Jonathan Rajewski—who has been blowing up a number of Detroit’s venerable art institutions of late—and a cohort of his contemporaries whose collective nod to Neo-expressionist and Primitivism could be ripped straight out of a Jean-Michel Basquiat fever dream.
Eclectic, erotic, ingenious portraiture, such as "Blush" by Katrina Fimmel, formed a strong feminine counterpoint to John Maggie's imagery.
Fridge, with drawing by Katrina Fimmel, magnets by Mike Swaney, and "Freezer" by Rajewski inside, alongside opening night refreshments.
This includes John Maggie’s luridly textured portraiture, Katrina Fimmel’s astoundingly detailed paintings, Mike Swaney's hyper-color primitive paintings, Chris Riddell breaking any weird way he pleases, Dylan Spaysky’s playful object-sculptures, and Rajewski’s continued no-holds-barred efforts to bring any and every available material to the table.
Up high: detail from "Green Lamp," one of Spaysky's creations.
Detail from "Pooh" by Dylan Spaysky.
Taken as a whole, the gallery is an energizing and hilarious spectacle, with installations inside and upon a working refrigerator, a riot of color and texture on the walls, and work poking up from the floor and hanging down from the rafters. Rajewski has employed kiddie pools as a material motif for this set of work, most notably in fully inflated and functioning form, receiving running water from a concrete fountain that is the latest recipient of one of his signature colorful caulk makeovers.
Rajewski's "Fountain" and "Umbrella Painting."
The show has a feel of an improvisational comedy show, with artists clearly riffing off each other, borrowing styles or developing them on the fly, taking pieces further almost as a dare, perhaps. But each artist maintains an individual voice as well, and if few pieces stand out in the field, it is only because nearly everything in “Creative Expressions” is fighting for attention.
"Untitled" by the quietly awesome Chris Riddell.
Block some time to take this one in—“Creative Expressions” certainly has enough to say for itself, with or without the added distraction of opening night scene-making.
College for Creative Studies Center Galleries: 301 Frederick St., Detroit; 313-664-7800; collegeforcreativestudies.edu