The earthly concerns of "the MUNDANE show" at the Scarab Club

arts / Article

January 13, 2015 by Rosie Sharp

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Six works by Jaye Schlesinger.

the MUNDANE spread, including everyone's favorite foods: PB&J, Red Vines, Twinkies, peanut brittle, and double-stuff Oreos. The "MUNDANE" spread, including everyone's favorite foods: PB&J, Red Vines, Twinkies, peanut brittle and double-stuff Oreos.

You can be reasonably assured that when an art show adopts the moniker of “the MUNDANE show,” you are likely walking into an environment that is anything but common, ordinary, banal or unimaginative. It is the natural tendency of creative people, when faced with artistic constraints like the theme of mundaneness, to wrestle innovation from the jaws of pedestrian subject matter.

Detail from "Snow Dogs" by Bill Schwab. Detail from "Snow Dogs" by Bill Schwab.

Such is the case with “the MUNDANE show,” which opened at the Scarab Club on January 7th, and held its opening reception Friday, January 9th. The show, which features dozens of pieces by 13 artists, is comprised of paintings, predominately, punctuated with some photography, dramatic sculptural work by Rose DeSloover and Kyle Dill, and an enchanting group of mixed media works by Suzanne Andersen.

Detail of "Wares" by Rose DeSloover. Detail of "Wares" by Rose DeSloover.

The scene was a riot of color, with many artists choosing bold hues and multiple works in tight thematic clusters to offset the everyday nature of their subject matter and add dynamism to their installations. Krysti Spence offered two meticulous groupings of object portraits that seemed to stand in for human subjects, as solitary objects often do. Amy Fell’s explosively colored and patterned “Squirt” series battled for attention with Claudia Shepard’s large-scale examinations of a lipstick or prom dress. DeSloover filled a fire engine-red cabinet with objects in her signature neon green Kryptonite shade, creating an irresistible draw toward one corner.

"Her Earrings" by Krysti Spence. "Her Earrings" by Krysti Spence.

"Gumball in Gold" (right), and three squirts by Amy Fell. "Gumball in Gold" (right), and three "Squirts" by Amy Fell.

Three "Imaginary Space" prints by Kyohei Abe, some of the only abstract work in the show. Three "Imaginary Space" prints by Kyohei Abe, some of the only abstract work in the show.

There were some truly interesting pieces flying under the radar, as well. Andersen’s porcelain casts of "Baby Sock," "Doll Shirt" and "Dishrag," mounted in wooden drawers, had the quiet presence of ghosts, and remarkable movement for their stiff medium. Dill’s copper mock-ups of folding containers typically rendered in cardboard (beer caddy) or waxed paper (milk cartons) elevated each box to something both more simple and more complex than its “mundane” counterpart.

Suzanne Anderson&squot;s "Baby Sock," "Doll Shirt," and "Hanging Sock." Suzanne Andersen's "Baby Sock," "Doll Shirt" and "Hanging Sock."

Kyle Dill&squot;s "Waffle Box," "Tissue Box," and "Morning Pour." Kyle Dill's "Waffle Box," "Tissue Box" and "Morning Pour."

There’s no fooling us, "the MUNDANE show" is brimming with originality. The show runs through February 14th at the Scarab Club.

Scarab Club: 217 Farnsworth, Detroit; 313-831-1250; scarabclub.org

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