“Process and Form” review, by Lindsay Jewell

“Process and Form” review, by Lindsay Jewell

Process and Form, at Marygrove College, had three entrances or passageways that beckoned the viewer further into the gallery space.  The first entrance is to the Liberal Arts Building.  As we entered the building the clock tower chimed, adding to the sense of anticipation.  The show, curated by Nicole Parker and co-curated by Eric Froh, features works by Froh, Jean Wilson, Chris Turner, and Jennifer Quigley.

In the fourth floor gallery entrance stood a large ominous steel sculpture titled “Results of a Beautiful Implosion” by Eric Froh, surrounded by a number of his smaller works.  The sculptures resemble dreamlike vessels, simultaneously mechanical and organic. They are heavy, yet delicate looking, inviting the viewer to touch.  Most of the sculptures are made from torch cut steel. Each piece and title is representative of particular life experiences or moments in Froh’s life.  His process in placement of the steel comes spontaneously, in that the forms are not drawn out beforehand. However, Froh does draw throughout the creative process to help him move beyond points where he may be stuck.  I asked him about his large charcoal drawing, “Self Portrait with Black Lungs and Crown”, which provided a stark contrast to the rest of his work.  He described the piece as his “cure for steel neuroticism”, which was interesting, to get a deeper look into the artist’s creative process.

A third entrance beckons from the back of the gallery.  It was adorned with black curtains and labeled “Enter if you dare to dream!” Inside is a mystical dream world constructed by Jean Wilson.  She calls it the “Dream Activator Apparatus.”  Here she encourages the viewer to take time to meditate on childhood dreams. The apparatus is constructed from found materials; including black curtains from old Cass Tech, holographic sheets, dream catcher motifs, blinking stars, floating feathers and letters, an antique sewing machine which when pumped makes noise, and a circuit bending experiment.  Wilson connected a Theremin to baby monitors and a toy megaphone, which broadcast the happenings on the inside throughout the gallery. Viewers became participants as we played with the instruments and left our thoughts in her comment box. The room became a chill spot, a discussion area, and certainly a place to dream and experiment.

Chris Turner’s work is in the adjoining room. I heard that he had intended to do an installation for this show, but what sits in that room does not fit the script. The area was dominated by deep salmon colored sculptures standing in a grid formation. The “Mono” sculptures included a combination of sculpted forms from seemingly found objects and block-style letters, reminiscent of the Kettering “K”. This pairing provides a cacophonous contrast between straight and organic forms. One may attempt to create anagrams from the various letters to draw the meaning of the works. Turner elusively escapes this question. Jennifer Quigley exhibited work throughout the gallery. Her most interesting works are the “Vogue” series. Both tactile and engaging, these books are made from old Vogue magazines. They are very much reimagined, with bottle caps and other remnants of what may be daily life pressed between pages of marker-scarred models and writings.  Process and Form, engaging and appropriate, is running at the gallery at Marygrove College until March third.

-Lindsay Jewell