Current Press & Events

October 11, 2017

LUCILLE TENAZAS LECTURE, Wednesday, October 11 at Noon

Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 10.51.13 AM

September 25, 2017

Steve Frykholm Lecture, Thursday, September 28 at Noon

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 10.11.52 AM

September 22, 2017

Review of the Ethics of Depiction Exhibition in detroitartreview.com

Group Exhibition @ Oakland University Art Gallery
September 20, 2017 by Ron Scott

An exhibition, Ethics of Depiction: Landscape, Still Life, Human opens at Oakland University Art Gallery

Rather than a Detroit-based solo artist or group show, Dick Goody, Chairman of the Department of Art and Art History, and Director Oakland University Art Gallery has curated an exhibition that draws on artists from various parts of world that provide an experience in imagery that questions fantasy, deception and truth. Fueled by contemporary image making, the exhibition is a collection of twenty-one artists ranging in gender, location, age, and location, providing artwork that includes photography, video, painting, and drawing. It could not be more diverse.

Goody says in a statement, “These works represent something just short of an inundation of content, and the presentation— “salon style” — affirms the idea that kaleidoscopic subject matter is enriching and arouses curiosity about the way in which contemporary artists use data and themes in their work to create a reflection of their lifespan on earth. The ethos of the exhibition sees parallels with the cabinets of curiosities from the past. Like the inquiring viewers of old encountering astonishing collections of objects, we today also experience a primary emotional connection to this type of work because its meaning is self-evident. Concurrently, the viewer’s entry point into these pictures is unclouded by unfamiliarity with Contemporary art. Anyone can find their way into these accessible depictions and explore the familiar, the strange, the formalistic and the conceptual stance of each image. But even using the phrase “conceptual stance” creates an unnecessary barrier between the viewer and the images. Perhaps it is much better to say “poetic stance.”
Richard-Moss_The-Man-Who-Sold-the-World-HR
Richard Mosse, The Man Who Sold the World, 2015, digital c-print, 28 x 35″ Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

This image, The Man Who Sold the World, by Richard Mosse, an artist from Ireland, captured on infrared film, is shot in the Congo and feels like an Ethnographic recording of workers, while moving away from a truthful depiction of the landscape. The reality of the image raises more questions than it answers.

Mosse says in a statement, “The subject of my work in Congo is the conflict’s intangibility, the irruption of the real beneath the generic conventions — it is a problem of representation. The word ‘infra’ means below, what is beneath. A dialogue about form and representation is one of the work’s objectives so I don’t think it’s a bad thing if people get hung up on the way Congo has been depicted, rather than what is being depicted.”
JasperdeBeijer_TheBrazilianSuitcasePart2_#1_CPrint_45x67in
Jasper de Beijer, The Brazilian Suitcase (Part 2) #1, 2017, c-print 44.5 x 67 inches Courtesy of the artist and Asya Geisberg Gallery, New York

When I first experienced this image, I was taken back by my own thoughts of a place where a shrine was erected to the remnants of a Brazilian airplane. Again, this feels like an Ethnographic image capturing a cultural act by what might be described as third world tribal individuals living in the jungle of Brazil. The images of Jasper de Beijer, an artist from the Netherlands, seem to want to break the perception of what we see as real, juxtaposed and complimented by our own experience and memory.

He says in a statement, “We experience reality through interpretation. For me, the most interesting feature of this process is that the interpretation of reality gains a new actuality, forming a corpus of imagery that becomes more and more disconnected from what actually took place. This is where images start to lead their own life — becoming more or less autonomous.”
Becky-Suss-Hallway-HR
Becky Suss, Hallway, 2017, oil on canvas, 84 x 180 inches Courtesy of The West Collection

The very large oil on canvas painting, Hallway, 84 x 180, by the artist Becky Suss from Philadelphia, dominates the entrance to the exhibition. This flat, neutral depiction of an empty house captures the mundane. If it were 6 x 12” on board it might pass as a postcard. The scale plays a major role in requiring the viewer to stop and study the contents, calling on our own memories and perceptions. In this work and for that matter all artwork, we bring our own experience to the moment and that is what can make all the difference. This idea works in the same fashion for all artwork.

Suss says in her statement, “In terms of the painting world, I do feel like sometimes there’s a dismissal of subject matter: “What is it? It’s just a room. It’s just a domestic interior. What does it mean?” There’s this idea that somehow it’s not terribly meaningful. But so much of our time is spent in these domestic spaces; they are where the scenes of our lives play out. Again, it’s something that’s undervalued. It’s taken for granted in some ways, like it’s an undeserving thing for a big painting to be made about.”
ALLEE_Fireworks_2016
David S. Allee, Fireworks, 2016, dye sublimation metal print, 48 x 72 inches Courtesy of the artist and Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York

The photographic image, Fireworks, by David Allee, made me stop and study the large work, 48 x 72”, a dye sublimation on metal. I was first drawn to the image by the even lighting in the foreground and the sky, which lead me to the question of exposure. Upon close examination, the viewer can observe movement in the detail of people, disclosing a long exposure time for the image. From the title one can assume we are viewing a group of people viewing fireworks, but the light source is intriguing and a mystery.

He says in a statement, “Structure, environments, spaces interest me for the stories they tell and layers of meanings they can describe. Photos of these forms usually require people to look closely, study, interpret and infer. If a viewer is drawn into an image of a built environment, they’re forced to use their imagination to understand it, make sense of it and in effect complete the image. The more an image has this relationship with people who view it the more successful I see my artistic process. I also have great interests in architecture and planning and a desire to build and create. Photographing these forms and framing them probably also helps to fulfill some of these desires.” After seeing the image, one can reimagine the landscape romantically, and change your perception of an experience. David S. Allee earned his MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

For this writer, this exhibition clarifies the role of a university gallery, especially with respect to their freedom to explore new ideas without the concerns of commerce. Goody at OAUG, focuses in his curatorial work, on educating his university students and raises the bar on exploration, dialogue, and meaning, not just for the students, but also for the Detroit Metro area at large.

Oakland University Art Gallery

Ethics of Depiction: Landscape, Still Life, Human runs through November 19, 2017

Click here to read the full article.

March 30, 2017

Catalogue Launch & Cody VanderKaay in Conversation with Dick Goody, Thursday, April 6 at noon

vanderkaay_celestial_3_17-43

March 17, 2017

Cody VanderKaay @ Oakland University Art Gallery detroitsreview.com

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 12.29.05 PM

Click here to read the full article.

February 6, 2017

Hiberna Flores Catalog Launch: Laurie Tennent and Lisa Waud in Conversation

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 9.28.11 AM

Laurie Tennent & Lisa Waud in Conversation with Dick Goody & Catalogue Launch, Sunday, February 12 at 2PM

Hiberna Flores featuring Laurie Tennent and Lisa Waud

“A rose is a rose is a rose…” Gertrude Stein’s semiotic-inflected phrase beautifully extrapolates on the fact that a flower is an indivisible aesthetic cul-de-sac, a fundamental adorable form. In winter, this intimates that the next best thing to a living rose is a picture of one.

This exhibition embodies the idea of creating an overarching environment or an inclusive artistic synthesis through the work of artists Laurie Tennant and Lisa Waud.

Using flowers as object and imitation, signified and signifier, life and art, the gallery becomes a place to contemplate the living and the dead and the interplay between the joy of existence and the grief of memorialization, which is in essence at the core of our preoccupation with the meaning of a photograph of the living, to inevitably become a remembrance of the once alive.

detroitartreview: Laurie Tennent @ Oakland University Art Gallery

Laurie Tennent @ Oakland University Art Gallery
January 11, 2017 by Ron Scott
giant fern I II III

Laurie Tennent, Giant Fern, 30 x 135″, Polychrome on Aluminum, 2016

One of the oldest surviving photographic images, a daguerreotype still life from 1839, carefully depicts objects made of plaster cast sculptures and a wicker-wrapped bottle. In that same year, William Henry Talbot created a photo image of a leaf, Leaf with Serrated Edge, by placing a plant leaf on a piece of light-sensitive paper before exposing it to a light source. Later, that same year, the Magazine of Science published photograms from work by Anna Atkins that were botanicals placed directly on photosensitive paper.
Science Magazine

Magazine of Science, School of Art, William Talbot samples, London, 1839
Blue photogram

Anna Atkins, Poppy, Cyanotype, Vitoria & Albert Museum, London, 1839

From those beginnings through the following 160 years we have seen photography develop in myriad ways, which brings me to the current exhibition of photography at Oakland University Art Gallery, Hiberna Flores, by Laurie Tennent. The Birmingham, Michigan-based commercial photographer has worked hard to produce a body of work comprised of botanically-based images. These relatively large-scale photographs (40 X 72”) are digital images printed on aluminum. One assumes they are real plant objects set up in a studio and captured with a large format camera that sits on a tripod, providing the artist maximum control over focus and exposure.

She says in her interview, “Complexity of character, masculine and feminine, intimate yet bold, sensual yet strong: My photographs are an exploration of these dualities. By exaggerating the inner architecture of plant life, I offer the viewer a chance to at once become confronted by and immersed in nature.”
oriental poppy

Laurie Tennent, Oriental Poppy, 36 x 70″, Polychrome on Aluminum, 2014

While many photographers are shooting events, people, fashion, cars, wars and outer space, there are photographers who have devoted parts of their careers to capturing flowers. In the late 1980s Robert Mapplethorpe devoted part of his oeuvre to capturing botanicals in both black and white and color. They often get overlooked in his total body of work because of his focus on the fetish, but they stand out elegantly in composition and scale. Around that same time, in the mid-1980s, Bulfinch Publishing released Harold Feinstein’s book, 100 Flowers. Feinstein was the first to use a scanner as his camera. His work was covered by Life magazine and received a Smithsonian Award for digital photography in 2000.

But Tennent brings her signature to her work primarily in her selection of plants and her approach to the composition. The image, Oriental Poppy (36 X 70”, 2014) produces a feeling similar to Grande Odalisque, by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, the French Neoclassical painter, 1819. Soft light stretched out on this horizontal botanical composition against a black background creates a similar feeling in the experience of the viewer: How beautiful!

For this review, I asked Tennent a few questions:

Ron Scott – How did you get interested in photography, early on?

Laurie Tennent – My interest in photography started in high school with a love of science and biology. After an introduction to College for Creative Studies, I decided to pursue photography. It was the darkroom that really amazed me.

RS – What lead you to fine art photography?

LT – Having an education in both fine art and commercial photography, I have practiced both for over 30 years. After college, I worked in the gallery business first at the Rubiner Gallery then opened The Eton Street Gallery in Birmingham, Michigan. To support the gallery, I worked in the fashion and commercial photography business.

RS – How would you describe the technical approach in capturing and printing these images (what degree of post production in the work is done)?

LT – All of the images are created in the studio. Plants and botanical specimens are photographed with digital capture and then dust and pollen are removed in post. They are printed on aluminum with a heat transfer process called dye sublimation. I only print a limited edition of 5 to 10 prints of each image.

RS – What photographers (past and present) influenced your work?

LT – Locally, my mentors are Balthazar Korab and Bill Rauhauser. Korab made a huge impression on me with his work ethic and ability to blur the lines between fine art and commercial images. Rauhauser was my professor and thesis advisor at Center for Creative Studies. His knowledge of history and passion for photography is infectious. In addition, I was also influenced by the work of Imogen Cunningham for the pattern and detail in her photographs and the sculptural scientific images of organic structures by Karl Blossfeldt .
Kalanchoe

Laurie Tennent, Kalanchoe, 40 x 60″, Polychrome on Aluminum, 2016

With an acute sensitivity to today’s persistent digital noise, Tennent’s collection of intimate portraits commands attention by returning us to our most primitive and organic roots. Isolating delicate living structures and amplifying them on a massive scale transports the viewer to a serene space where we are encouraged to breathe and to reconnect with the simple beauty of these objects.
ranunculus

Laurie Tennent, Ranunculus, 48 x 69, Polychrome on Aluminum, 2013

Click here to read the full article.

Oakland University Art Gallery | 208 Wilson Hall | Rochester, MI 48309 | copyright 2017