The theme for the 2015 Stamps Alumni Juried Exhibition is “Puzzles, Riddles, and Enigmas”. All alumni are invited to submit up to two works on this theme. Submissions should be recent accomplishments and should not have been featured in a previous alumni show.
We are very pleased to have Tom Berding (Associate Professor of Painting, Michigan State University) and Michael Stone-Richards ( Professor of Critical Theory, Visual Studies and Comparative Literary Studies, College for Creative Studies) as the jurors for this show.
Work will be displayed July 13 — August 1, 2015, during the Ann Arbor Art Fair (July 15 — 18). Three jury prizes of $500 and 10 honorable mentions will be awarded.
The fictitious nature of the material and surface treatment, where the object appears to be something that it is not.
John Angell and Louis Lozon
Red State/No Boots
Red State/No Boots is an interstate collaboration that resulted from the enduring, enigmatic friendship of two University of Michigan art school graduates who never met in school, but became good friends in Ann Arbor in the 1970s. Utilizing a free-form artistic process that employed the US Postal Service to bridge the 2,048 miles between Sacramento and Chicago, this work creates a time-slipping, hellish vision that incorporates elements of gridlock, Dresden, and the Joffrey Ballet.
A vote of no confidence, Red State/No Boots references the absurdity of the current state of affairs while extolling the core values of friendship and collaboration. The work abstractly depicts mankind’s collective self-annihilation and layers savage archival imagery from civilization’s barbarous past to transcend the planned obsolescence of everyday life and achieve a shimmering, ephemeral beauty.
If seeing is believing, then perception is meaning.
We are John Angell and Louis Lozon, and we approve this message.
Joan M. Beesley
Break the Code ( .…. — — — )
Numbers have always intrigued me as graphic designer. I tend to keep my designs simple and to the point for my viewer and at the same time meaningful yet artistic in favor.
Pamela Martel Bernstein
Reflection: the creation of alternate perspective. Is one more authentic than the other?
The study of graphic design was my primary focus in college and then became my career for the next 30 years. Over the course of my career as an artist, I have especially enjoyed the study of color. In recent years, I have found myself gravitating back to the fine arts, in particular, working with pastels. I often find myself studying an object or nature scene, focusing on it so intently that I can see colors that I never even knew were there at first glance. I love getting lost in the process of placing shadows or darkest colors first and then layering one color on top of another to create the mood, define the object, or create a new unique color. Choosing the right color is intuitive. My hand seems to know what feels right. I find the process of translating a scene or object into a two dimensional piece of art to be a gratifying and therapeutic experience.
Pieces of Goodness
One of my methods for organizing my thinking for a painting is starting with a major idea and adding additional ideas that fit together to tell a story. These ideas are like pieces of a puzzle that fit together to make a complete picture. In this painting, I started with Christ’s transfiguration. As I read about Gandhi, I saw his involvement with light and freedom just like the transfiguration. Seeing how much Martin Luther King was influenced by Gandhi fit with my ideas of the transfiguration. These ideas were opportunities to learn a better road in life. Why is the road so tough? Why do we choose to stay in the same place rejecting the freedom for all and refusing to change? Where is our courage? Instead we are left with prejudice, terrorism, hatred and violence in our cities, and wars around the world.
untitled (see cover symbol) or: Sacred Geometry, Universal Mathematics, Infinite Perfection
This sculptural “artist book” compiles symbols from the most mathematically complex of crop circles of unexplained origins that have appeared around the world throughout history. The book is composed based on the interpretation of the universal geometric structure of the symbols, i.e. the symbols are placed within similar contexts of each other to provoke within the viewer a sense of connection between the symbols — however far apart they may have actually occurred in space and time — and a conclusion that might be simultaneously meaningful and open-ended.
My work is inspired by the performance of life through color, texture, time, and space. I am drawn to beauty, but I am constantly curious about my instincts. I find nature to be a source of answers — how be them answers that in many ways ask even larger questions.
The outbreak of Ebola this year greatly alarmed me because it was caused by a virus. When people get sick you always hear them say “Oh, its just a virus.”
My series Going Viral creates a visual connection between people and the deadly virus that killed them. The enigma is how could such a microscopic and visually elegant microbe be fatal? How did these worthy individuals die from “just a virus”?
Dr. Sheik Humair Khan was in the forefront of Ebola research when he died of the disease. Liewise, Rudolf Nureyev was in the forefront of dance when he died of AIDS. The puzzle of prevention remains.
I am fascinated by the recontextualizing of objects on small scale. It doesn’t take fireworks, just a twist slight enough to interrupt and capture our attention. Here is a play on form and on our relationship with these objects which we would never normally associate. Here we see them striking the same pose. Leaving them to play side by side in this blank context, somehow the teapot becomes animated while the boxer becomes more of an object and they almost lose their identities in this empty space.
untitled 14 – 9
My work focuses on simple abstract form. I am fascinated with the associations that we make as we interpret the world around us, and I hope to create objects with broad and ambiguous references, forms that are perplexing due to their many allusions. My works draw on references to human form, to nature, and to mass-produced objects. By embracing the plumpness of anatomical form, as well as the symmetrical rigidity of machine-tooled objects, I strive to heighten potential readings.
We all experience waiting for something at some point in our life. Maybe it’s a special moment, a much anticipated experience, or just what seems an ordinary event to most of us but not everyone.The puzzle here is what or who are these children waiting for?
Mary Ethyl Palmer Brown Photographing her Mother’s homestead in North Dakota where she was born in a sod shack in 1915.
Mary Ethyl Palmer Brown was a private Michigan photographer from 1935 until her death in 2014.
I was inspired by the microscopic level of measles for this exhibition because I find it to be a puzzle, riddle and enigma that such a beautiful organism can be so highly contagious and dangerous.
Chica Brunsvold (née Mary Sue Willey)
Begun non-objectively with watercolor on Yupo, figures appeared amid the stampings and textures. They seemed to fit the idea of gossip, complete with “a little bird.”
A nuclear family,
A house they hold dear,
love keeps them here,
when the rest disappear,
but the number is wrong,
and the suits are too many,
what ever happened to
Uncle Ben and Aunt Penny?
Can you guess what happened?
Circus Trick — Halo
Solving a puzzle in our life or making a hard decision sometimes can come down to what seems like two or more equal solutions. We then juggle our facts, our feelings and others’ opinions. My solution is to make a ‘leap of faith’ or ‘take a free-fall’ and see where I land. A ‘leap’ often solves the enigma of Who I Am? and What Do I Want In My Life? As an artist, I do this all the time. In front of a canvas, I let go of the ‘tree branch’ and ‘make a leap’ — I trust my intuition and ‘listen’ to the paint. The painting knows what it wants.
Robin Bukovina (Khym)
Wooden blocks covered with a silvery iridescent sheen hang loosely on ordinary hardware screws. The blocks can be easily removed and rearranged. Shadowy words are imprinted on them. Some are lightly smudged. Some can be made out. Words of doubt, worry, inspiration, fear, longing-. Words that are whispering in my head. Like these puzzle pieces, I can rearrange them daily- but the pattern never really changes.
Ducks on the Wheel
Ducks on the Wheel Go round and round All through the town Amsterdam bicycle culture 2014
Mobile with Arm Balance
The world is always in motion. I make sculptures that highlight motion and respond to the touch or air currents.
The bumblebee enigma is twofold. There still exists the timeless mystery of the unlikely aerodynamics of bumblebee flight and study of their wing kinesiology continues to inspire innovation in mechanical engineering. Conversely, hive collapse is a recent, urgent, puzzle. “Innovations” in modern agricultural practices may be the culprit. Ironically, our attempts to improve crop yield may irreparably devastate the very populations that underpin essential pollination.
Photographed on 35mm color film and printed on kodak color paper. An exploration of the wonder of a handmade Disneyland in Dmytro Szylak’s backyard in Hamtramck Michigan.
I am an artist who works in a variety of media. By studying sign processes and communication, I make work that generates diverse meanings. Associations and meanings collide. Space becomes time and language becomes image. My artworks are inspired by the intersection of science and personal narratives-visions that reflect the randomness of existence combined with subtle details of odd, humorous or eccentric elements. My works question the appearance of an image in the context of contemporary visual culture in which images, representations and ideas operate operate with mixed and misled messages.
The Tragedy of Phaethon
Inspired by classical literature and the neo classical painters, the legend of Phaethon is the subject of this work. The son of a god who strove to achieve greatness, overreaching and perishing in the attempt. I have tried to create a mysterious and timeless quality to this painting.
Expressing and sharing ideas and feelings through art in interesting ways is the spark of life.
Alan Turing’s Clippers
This painting is an enigmatic representation of Alan Turing’s fascination with Fibonacci phyllo taxis.
Abstract landscapes, my paintings are motivated by the natural landscape… sometimes with a degree of representation and often times more abstraction.
Untitled #2, Red
This is a drawing about making and feelings. The process of making is labor intensive, involving all of my physical attributes, especially my arms and hands. The feelings are more complex, of course, but inextricably a part of this piece. This drawing is also autobiographical, as it is based on an earlier piece from five years ago. So this is a reworking of the past, bringing the past into the present. It’s also about the power of the artist to say something personal.
Twined 1 and Twined 2 are part of a long and ongoing drawing exploration of stones, wrapped in an interest in Celtic design. Continuous interlace and knot-work have always represented a puzzle of sorts, demanding that our imaginations follow edges and account for ends. The idea of enclosing stones inside woven strips of grass or reed was irresistible. Looping strands of imagined fibers around solid stone surfaces and the resulting interplay of light, shadow and texture is much of what interested me about this subject, but I also like the idea of story. My work has always included an element of mysterious and ambiguous narrative. Why do I draw these stones? What do they mean? You may be able to follow a laced length of fiber until it ends or meets itself, but I love the notion of a mystery behind the presence of this artifact.
J Michael Davison
Black & White & Read Allover
Always trying new media and techniques helps keep my eye fresh.
Nicole DesChamps-Benke’s interests are deeply rooted in environmental preservation, global sustainability, and on the social influences that impact the choices we make for nutrition and health. In her studio practice, Nicole creates wearable pieces that raise the awareness of materials by exploiting the dichotomy between precious and nonprecious metals. Specifically, aluminum soda cans with colorful surface printings are paired with silver to either heighten the awareness of the value added by aluminum as a versatile resource or amplify the complex health issues associated with their contents. As critical survivability on earth, maintaining our health and protecting our environment are issues of global proportions.
Fall was designed and created to be an interactive artwork. The cubes are removable and moveable. The viewer is able to puzzle out a visual solution that fits their aesthetic vision. I have been creating interactive artwork for over a decade now and of all of the work I create, it is the body of work which creates the most interest. It generates a lot of conversation and if the work is in a venue which allows for interaction, most people cannot help but be drawn to touch the work and move the cubes around. The work is very tactile and begs to be touched.
This photograph of reeds on the shores of the Huron River has been deconstructed digitally, and altered to appear as a pattern of colors and shapes, while maintaining the integrity of the original visual image. I overlaid the original print with pastel to enhance and define the shapes, design and color.
#876, Puzzle Series
Relief layers in each panel give clues to puzzle panel arrangements/connections for various hanging options. How many can you find?
A History of Toil: The Roost
A home-sewn, full-coverage blue apron, worn and badly stained, discovered in a basement rag pile. Who made it? Who wore it? And why, curiously, was the border of dancing Highland children, complete with bagpipes and Scotty dog, applied to the bottom edge upside-down? This mysterious garment appears at the center of this quilt. A small section of the border can be seen near the upper left corner.
My interest in photography did not begin with a burning desire to see the world through a camera. It evolved through a fascination with creating photographs that capture our surrounding environments. The photograph offers me the ability to suspend the world in fragments of time and space, and express how multiple visual narratives are the essential ability of photography to reveal the enigma of a perpetual present. For me, the photograph is more than just a fleeting moment of still visual documentation, it is an arrested phenomenon – a collapsing fragment of light patterns coming together to form a larger perceptual understanding of our world that surrounds us.
Guarded: An invisible layer of self protection. An emotional and physical safe guard.
The Chess Players
Puzzles, riddles, and enigmas — chess ! .…
Messages are misunderstood as papers fall with the leaves and the writing disappears. What did he/she mean by that….the words were lost.
Communication is a recurring theme in my work, and it also one of many ways I share and communicate with the arts.
Art can perhaps help translate our deeper meanings.
M. Sedestrom Guthrie
The path ahead.
A TOUR OF AMAZVILLE.
A TOUR of AMAZVILLE.” (Seat Belts Optional.)
I love letter forms. In my early art-director days, we had to design ads and draw illustrations. Once I hired a professional lettering artist to design a unique alphabet for Ford Trucks ads, and Mr. Isbell named it “Harper.”
Now, within my painting are sections and pieces of letters and numbers, among other things. In an intuitive sense, simply putting this together has been rather amazing and lots of fun!
An influence for my painting is Stuart Davis. Interestingly, Davis started his career as an advertising illustrator. I can relate to that.
Take a close or far-away look. And enjoy your Amazville “fly-over” Tour.
Bondage Jigsaw is a part of a larger body of work about the ways in which we, in our culture, assign value to people based on their numerical statistics: height, girth, weight, age, income. These measurements are often seen as evidence of moral uprightness or moral turpitude. This tryannous insistence on a homogenous ideal is especially felt by women in regard to weight and beauty. The confusion of statistics with human value creates a personal and economic minefield, tied up with measuring tape.
Kitchen Wall; North End
As Detroit changes the landscape of the city changes. Some neighborhoods continue to become depopulated while others are rebuilt and repaired. This dilapidated wall is part of a structure that will be demolished soon.
I am interested in finding and recording that precise place in the world where the manufactured and the natural converge in the imagination of the viewer. To locate that spot, I search for elusive suggestions of the natural world in the manufactured object, imposing and juxtaposing these visual nuances into the natural world to create a new landscape.
Images of North Dakota and the Midwest flatland are always with me. These are the fields I plowed in my youth and well into adulthood. The stark markings of furrowed land, patterns of irrigation, and stubble fields have a poetic quality, and in them I find a rich and meaningful source for visual expression. Abstracted, their imprint seems even bolder, representing colorful independent sections that coexist peacefully despite their diversity. I left the North Dakota farm to explore the greener pastures of artistic pursuits, only to be pulled back to the fields.
The Problem of a Hand
I document the process of teaching my child to name her world. Her fine motor skills are bewildering to watch develop; her language teeters between simple and difficult problems.
I have published a handful of New Yorker cartoons over the years and submitted this last week. At the time of my submission to Stamps Alumni show this has not YET been rejected.
Interdependent Opposites, no. 25
At a distance, this piece might be perceived as a flat, homogenous texture of static or noise. Closer inspection, however, reveals thousands of individual layers and fibers of paper, seen on end and receding into space. This illusion of depth and complexity contradicts the fact that the image is printed onto a single, flat sheet of paper. This piece contemplates the combinatory and generative nature of language — not only spoken and written, but also the universal mathematical language of computer binary code that employs the most elemental of signs (0s or 1s) to represent “on” or “off” states. Similarly, this work utilizes the parameters of diametrically opposed concepts (light/dark; addition/subtraction; under/over; horizontal/vertical; hidden/exposed; physical/virtual) as its creative inspiration. Its basic compositional elements consist of specified sections of four rotated, but otherwise identical, digitized sheets of paper ( the traditional physical medium for written language), precisely aligned to produce the illusory appearance of an intricately interwoven pattern.
Caesar’s Cipher and the Enigma of Time
This piece refers to time and the many ways that one thinks and speaks about it.
The text is a Caesar cipher that, when decoded, will expose some thoughts on time.
DuWaine Hoy Jr
The Akashic Records
The Akashic Records refer to a database of every word, thought or action that is stored energetically and encoded in a non-physical plane of existence in the fourth dimension. They are said to contain the information of every Soul or Being in the cosmos. The Records are continually updated, with each new thought, word or action that every Soul or Entity makes.
The human mind is an enigma. This piece is an expression of the mysteries of my own mind accumulated through life’s journeys and unforeseen roads. Each photograph or image was created in a separate moment of time and then pieced together to become a representational whole. The collective images triggered strong emotional and physiological responses of anxious energy. The anxiety is contained in each image and then transformed through the art making process as the pieces were put together and photographed in a new form. The plasticity of the brain and cellular structure are able to change and new neural pathways are created through this creative and transformative process. Through art making, overall feelings of wellbeing and improved mental health functioning can occur.
As a creative art therapist, I continually work on my own process as this is what I ask others to do in our work together as I walk alongside them in their process. This is a cathartic and reflective piece for me as I learn to manage my own anxieties which have taken on a new form through the creative transitions and the interplay of relationships in my life. The neuroplasticity of the brain has aided me in this transformation.
Helen Jacobson (Goldstein)
Presently pursuing painting and printmaking in my studio at Waltham Mills, MA. Intrigued still by shapes in human figures, how they relate to each other and the spaces around them. Use my figure drawings to print, paste on and add depth to my canvases.
Studied art with Friso Ten Holt in Amsterdam, Edward Corbett at U C Santa Barbara. Course work at MFA, Castle Hill, Provincetown Art Association Museum. Exhibited in local libraries, schools, Open Studios and at PAAM member’s exhibitions.
Grew up in Europe and Latin America, always interested in diverse cultures and their artistic expressions.
Villa Al Bahar
Time, identity, and influences collide in the interior design of the Villa Al Bahar, Kuwait City, Kuwait. The result of the collaboration of Amy Depew Jeffries and Minta Bell of Minta Bell Design Group and Kenneth Hobgood of Hobgood Architects. The living room is remarkable in scale at 900 square feet within a 22,000 square foot villa. The project reflects the exploration of culture and historical design influences. The process wound through the significance of religion, beauty, hierarchy, social interaction, the unfolding of expectations and roles and the symbolism of opulence, materials, motif, ritual, and customs. The project is a representation of the passage of ten years from the inception of the project until the initial installation. The house continues to evolve as new requirements are revealed.
HIC SVNT LEONES (Here Are Lions)
HIC SVNT LEONES (Here Are Lions) explores the latest upward redistribution of wealth in the United States. The installation‑s title derives from the Latin, ‑HIC SVNT LEONES,- often inscribed on medieval maps to indicate uncharted territory; it remains appropriate when imagining future economic effects and cultural consequences brought about by the redistribution of capital.
HIC SVNT LEONES (Here Are Lions) is a mixed media installation that uses steel, glass and gold as the primary materials. Cut, welded and rusted steel elements are utilized to reference industrial labor, the working class, and those unemployed through the relocation of manufacturing centers. The glass portion of the piece represents the middle-class, made possible and fueled by post World War II policy followed by a booming U.S. economy. The manufactured glass blocks echo the concept of the middle class as a historically recent construction, now in a state of erosion. Gold is used in the installation to represent the uppermost echelon of American wealth and power. Its display speaks not only to the care and support, political and otherwise, required to preserve this wealth, but also to its social containment and isolation within the larger whole. The size, condition and proximity of each mound suggest their neglect as drivers of domestic economic policy, and also highlight the flux and precariousness between these class divisions as representative of socio-economic levels.
The greatest puzzle on earth is the human brain.
Charles (Kel) Keller
Inspired at the Museo Morandi, Bologna.
The revelation of digital beauty.
Jennifer Krause Chapeau
Vincent 1 to 10” depicts the same boy at age one, and ten, gazing out through a glass window. The viewer looking at the painting sees both; into the interior, and the exterior landscape reflected in the glass. The result is a visual puzzle that interweaves the interior space with the external environment. Are we seeing in, out, or both?
Showing the subject as both a baby and an older boy forcing us to contemplate the passing of time and its inevitable effects upon us.
Moveable type made life easier, right? Perhaps, perhaps not. We define ourselves with letters. Our lives are shaped by letters. Letters can stand for many things. These letters make my life meaningful.
The Greek mythical Icarus challenged the sun, Helios, by flying too close with his wings of wax, feathers, and string, causing the beeswax to melt, and thereby plunge the exuberant lad into the Aegean Sea. The mystery is, why did Icarus defy his father’s orders to avoid flying too close to the sun that eventually led to his son’s demise?
My earliest memories of “art appreciation” were listening to my Mom explaining “fustagno” to admirers of the art work hanging on the walls of our home. “My sister in Italy made them,” she would say. “The process is called ‘pirografia’.” “She burns the fabric with an alcohol heated tool.” “The fabric has to have a nap, like cotton velvet or fine corduroy, because it is the nap that is burned away or scorched.” “Beautiful, isn’t it?” Once a popular art form, Fustagno, pyrography on natural fibers, met its nemesis with the introduction of miracle fibers that melt under a heated tool.
Elegy I (Tetrad)
It is not for me to tell you what you should see, but I control it.
Throughout our lives, many objects, events, people and feelings stay with us and sometimes invoke change. Very often passed down through generations, it is not always. clear how they affected us and why we have become who we are. Reflection sometimes (but more often not) reveals the mystery behind these representations of moments in time that make up the complexity of the person we have become. These moments make us who we are — sometimes dark, sometimes full of light — all necessary in a rich, complex life.
The Nightmare In The Cut
Detroit’s Dequindre Cut, a former below-grade freight train route now turned public park, reaches from Atwater Street to Eastern Market. Last summer, the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum installed a reproduction of Henry Fuseli’s 1781 painting ‘The Nightmare’ on a pockmarked and scratched wall covered with layers of street art. Fuseli’s framed work, previously displayed on a museum wall among other paintings of its era, looks as if it is removed from the interiors of Mies Van Der Rohe’s Lafayette Tower, rising in the upper part of the picture, obscured by overgrown vegetation. Two posters to the right of ‘The Nightmare’ present similarly exaggerated, otherworldly depictions of human forms. The posters, their weathered material suggesting they were hung before ‘The Nightmare,’ could have been removed from apartments as well. A seam in the concrete wall extends the linear path of a corner of the tower into the Cut, slicing in half a billboard-sized painted rectangle that covers up what might have been the most explosive expression of the entire scene.
When I painted in Arches National Park, I marveled at the puzzle of this arch. How did it form so perfectly? Why doesn’t it collapse? I know the formation is a fleeting moment in earth time, but to me it is timeless!
This piece explores the moment of Fidel Castro’s announcement that Cuba would align with the Soviet Union. I attempted to capture a moment emblematic of the the Cuban revolution’s efforts to secure a future in the face of US hostility. This was a decision stamped by the contradictions of switching from one patron state to another while still maintaining the island’s independence.
Self Portrait 6.0
Each moment, each year, each decade creates our so called “life”. A puzzle indeed.
“In Answer to Puzzles, Riddles, and Enigmas”
In choosing a design to comply with this theme of Puzzles, Riddles and Enigmas, I went directly to spirituality which means so very much to me. Life and religion are so filled with endless puzzlings, riddles and enigmas (mysteries) that I found it interesting and fun to give a visual representation to these concepts. The pastel colors suggest optimism, while the detail — some childlike in structure (the shapes) — and some sophisticated (the gradation of pencil) — explain the whimsical yet difficult challenges of life. This piece was a joy to do. My 7‑year-old granddaughter, Aubrie, influences me a lot with her brushstrokes. Having been a U of M student influenced me by challenging me to represent my art — not in just photo-realism — but in abstraction. Peace to you.
Move. Change.- 2015 Acrylic on canvas by Marcia McMillen. This painting’s fluid movement and energy morphs and changes from the smallest to the largest in the world of nature..