Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Dennos Museum Summer Exhibit

As a History of Art major, it should come as no surprised that I'm a big fan of Traverse City's Dennos Museum Center (housed on the Northwestern Michigan College campus). And, even though I technically studied the "history" of art, I'm a big fan of art in the here and now. New artists and fantastic pieces are popping up all the time, and whenever I get the chance to wander about and admire some awesome artwork, I'm all over it. 

The Dennos has two great exhibits going on right now: Sideways (which explores skateboard art and culture) and Perimeter (a photo story filled with portraits taken around the perimeter of Lake Michigan. The high-quality visual images in these two exhibits greatly compliment each other.

 As someone who knows absolutely zero about skateboarding (and probably couldn't make it down a straight road on a board without falling over), I found this exhibit to be so fresh. It's bold, colorful, and rooted in a culture I know nothing about but am now totally enraptured by. 

The Dennos put out a call for skateboard art submissions to the community at large, and in return they received a wide array of clever, original, and downright awesome designs. Artists range from all ages and locations, and there are some really beautiful works on display. I have a few favorites myself, but I don't want to ruin the fun for everyone else, so you should go see it for yourself!

Professional artists are also represented. There's a gorgeous mural covering an entire wall in the gallery room, detailed screenprinted works, plus stunning photographs from Michigander Mike Blabac. Honestly, though, nothing took my breath away like the simple yet powerful works of Aaron Draplin, an NMC alum who is absolutely slaying the graphic design world. There's a whole wall of his latest and greatest designs, and he'll be in TC this Friday giving a special presentation as part of the Dennos' skateboard weekend extravaganza (June 20-21). A few of my favorites from Draplin:

 Skateboarding not your thing? Well, it's impossible to not be a fan of the Great Lakes, and Kevin Miyazaki's portraits taken from all around the border of Lake Michigan remind us just how many people love and live around the majestic Michigan. The portraits hug the whole gallery. It's great to see the lake personified in the faces of all these people: young, old, working, vacationing, in groups or all alone.

 My personal favorite part of the Perimeter exhibit is the wall of pictures depicting Lake Michigan from different points around the lake at different times. The entire wall engulfs the viewer in sky and water, and it creates a really intriguing geometric pattern.

 Both exhibits are on display at the Dennos until early September, so go and check it out! Don't forget about the fun and festivities for the TC Park Jam this weekend, too!

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