Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan

Current Exhibitions


Bottom Feeders and The Distant Self

September 15, 2014

Bottom Feeders and The Distant Self: Alternative Approaches to Self-Portraiture

Bottom Feeders and the Distant Self aims to present art making as a means of self-reflection and indexing. Delving beyond the limited thresholds of representation and likeness, the artists in this exhibition are asked to experiment, interrupt, and test their individual experiences to present works that reach for a deeper understanding of mental and physical being, expanding the definition of “self-portrait.” Through multidisciplinary curating this exhibition surveys the ways in which artists working in different media approach the underpinnings of personal narrative and psychological nuance that describe the experience of “self.”

Curated by Trevor King.

Sept 15 - Oct 6 at Slusser Gallery
Exhibition Opening Reception:  Monday, September 15, 5 - 8 pm

Bottom Feeders and The Distant Self
Jean Paul Slusser Gallery

Open during exhibitions Monday through Saturday: 8 am - 5 pm. Closed Sundays and Holidays. Free Admission, Handicapped Accessible

UM School of Art & Design, 1st Floor
2000 Bonisteel Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2069
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Pan Gongkai: Melt

September 12, 2014

Pan Gongkai: Melt / 潘公凯:融

September 12 - October 11 at Work Gallery

This exhibition is made possible with co-sponsorship from the Confucius Institute at the University of Michigan.

A renowned artist, theoretician and educator, Pan Gongkai is a strong proponent of the traditional ink painting in China. His large ink paintings retain essential elements of traditional literati painting enhanced with modern aesthetics. In this way, his work exemplifies a modern synthesis of traditional ink and wash painting.

Critically acclaimed, Pan’s ink paintings have been exhibited at the Paris headquarters of UNESCO, and major art museums in New York, San Francisco, Beijing, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Macao. He is the author of History of Painting in China, Limit and Exploration, Analysis of Pan Tianshou’s Painting Skill and On Pan Tianshou’s Life and Art.

In recent years, Pan has dedicated himself to comprehensive research on modern Chinese art, and his recent publication The Road of Chinese Modern Art has made a significant impact on the liberal arts in China. Pan currently serves as the president of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.

Pan Gonkai will also be presenting a lecture in conjunction with the exhibition:

Ink Painting as Case Study: Combining Traditional Elements with Contemporary Practices
Friday, September 26 at 4 pm
Pendleton Room, Michigan Union

Interest in new ink — ink painting which combines new techniques with traditional influences — is on the rise in China and internationally. This is true from both a craft perspective, as a study of methodology, and from that of museums looking to feature installations and establish collections. This trend developed as scholars of traditional ink painting, and artists who work in the medium, have been forced to confront the question of whether the form remains relevant and retains the persuasive artistic power it has traditionally held, or whether it must become more reflective of the contemporary.

Before answering this question, it is important to develop an ontological discourse on the tradition of painting in ink—to determine the core essence of the form in order to understand the ways in which its elements may be combined with contemporary techniques. What are we talking about when we discuss ink painting? Ink and rice paper as materials? The blackness of ink as a color? The brush as a strange tool? In contrasting various arguments, it becomes clear that the existing discourse on ink painting, in presuming the tradition a virtue, over-evaluates its specialties and advantages in style, and in its use of material and the tools employed. There is little basis for the assumption by devotees of the form that the techniques and material used in ink painting are superior to oil and canvas. Instead, the true essence of ink painting, and its strength as a medium, comes from the spirituality of the literati ink painting tradition, in which artists produce work with the aim of reflecting the ideal values of a community, rather than to produce a physical object of value.

What follows is a presentation on my own art practices in seeking alternative ways of combining the contemporary and the traditional: contemporary installation work with an ink element; a video installation presenting reflections on the aesthetic mechanics of ink painting; and practices developed from sense of self-discipline which evolved with the tradition. Only the last should be considered new ink, though the first two make for interesting contemporary work.

Pan Gongkai: Melt
Work : Ann Arbor

Open during exhibitions Tuesday through Saturday, 12 pm to 7 pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays and Holidays. Free Admission.

Work will be closed after 4 pm on September 26, 2014 for a private event.

306 State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
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