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The Fed Galleries @ KCAD Ring In 2016 with Pair of Immersive Exhibitions Showcasing Michigan Artists

Posted January 19, 2016 in Gallery

The Fed Galleries @ Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) are kicking off 2016 with two new exhibitions, on view from January 5, 2016 through February 20, 2016.

“Ripple Effect: From Industry to Environment in the Kalamazoo River Basin” will feature work by Michigan-based artists Sarah Lindley and Steve Nelson, while the solo exhibition “Darshan | Seeing” showcases the paintings of Katherine Sullivan, another Michigan-based artist.

“KCAD values the work of creatives from the region and The Fed Galleries are pleased to present this body of work by three artists living and working in West Michigan,” says KCAD Director of Exhibitions Sarah Joseph. “In addition to the exhibitions, we encourage the community to join us for upcoming presentations by the exhibiting artists.”

Ripple Effect: From Industry to Environment in the Kalamazoo River Basin.

The muse behind both Lindley’s and Nelson’s work is the former Plainwell paper mill, which was abandoned in 2000 after the Plainwell Paper Mill Company declared bankruptcy. Lindley’s “Exposure Pathways” was originally created as a site-specific sculptural intervention inside the abandoned mill and is constructed entirely of paper product found there. The 20’ x 35’ structure’s intertwining three-dimensional sections reference the form of the Kalamazoo Watershed and reflect what Lindley calls her “process of investigating and interpreting the push-play power dynamics between industry, surrounding communities and environments.”

"Exposure Pathways" by Sarah Lindley"Exposure Pathways" by Sarah Lindley (image courtesy of Sarah Lindley)

Nelson’s large-format photographs, on the other hand, document the site’s industrial architecture, interiors and surroundings from an intimate perspective. A series of black-and-white prints titled “Angels and Guardians” and a series of near life-size color prints titled “The Interloper” illuminate forgotten places of industry while revealing the daily and seasonal cycles of time and questioning what Nelson calls “the illusion of purpose and function.”

One of Nelson's photographs included in the exhibition (image courtesy of Steve Nelson)

“Through Lindley’s and Nelson’s work, we are challenged to look closely at both industrial and natural environments and the interactions between the two,” says KCAD Curator of Exhibitions Michele Bosak. “How do we treat places like the Plainwell paper mill once they’re no longer of any industrial value? What do we do with them now? What feelings do they create when we encounter them in an abandoned state? These are all questions we want to raise through the exhibition.”

Darshan | Seeing

“Darshan | Seeing” showcases Katherine Sullivan’s newest work, which incorporates aspects of Indian and Western painting styles and explores the boundaries between abstract and representational imagery, color and form, and direct and indirect painting technique.

By combining the layered, translucent backgrounds that characterize 18th and 19th century British oil painting with the flat, opaque color and borders of Pahari, Rajput and Mughal miniature painting, Sullivan’s hybrid paintings explore how particular painting styles carry with them specific political and geographic connotations.

Cry not here, O bird of heart II (Murgh-e-dil mat ro yahan) by Katherine Sullivan"Cry not here, O bird of heart II (Murgh-e-dil mat ro yahan)" by Katherine Sullivan (image courtesy of Katherine Sullivan)

Sullivan’s work also references the color palette and ritual objects associated Hindu Puja, or the act of showing reverence to Hindu gods or spirits. In this way, the paintings focus on how particular materials are transformed by ritualistic religious practice, becoming what Sullivan calls “metaphors for the act of painting itself and for the transformation of colored pigment into illusionistic, expressive form.”

“What makes Katherine’s paintings so arresting is how they explore the spaces between different cultures, different forms of art and different painting techniques,” says Bosak. “Her work is disruptive in a very positive way because it leads us to question the role that otherness and appropriation play in the creation of art, and in turn helps us think more broadly about the role of painting in contemporary society.”

Gallery Talk and Closing Reception

Sarah Lindley and Steve Nelson will give a gallery talk inside The Fed Galleries @ KCAD on February 3 from 11:30am – 12:30pm. A joint closing reception featuring all three artists will be held on February 17 from 5:00 – 6:30pm.

Admission to the closing reception, gallery talk and the exhibitions is free of charge. For gallery hours, visit kcad.edu/galleries.