Three good things January brings: mistletoe, champagne and a welcome rush of openings at area art galleries.
And, really — where better to recover from the season’s chilly blast than a warm gallery surrounded by art? Better yet, these group and solo shows are all free.
Friday evening provides an opportunity when “3” opens at the Detroit Artists Market. This small group show for the first time pulls together three women of outsized importance on the Detroit art scene — print maker Kathryn Brackett Luchs, sculptor Lois Teicher and ceramicist Marie Woo.
“Kathy does these huge, huge prints, while Lois, who’s in her early 70s, does steel sculpture,” says DAM exhibitions director Gary Eleinko. “And how many women do that?”
As for Woo, Eleinko says, “I’ve always admired Marie for constantly pushing her art in new directions,” often investing her ceramics with an amusingly sculptural twist.
Opening Sunday afternoon at the Marygrove College Art Gallery will be a group show, “Photography & Digital Imagery,” with the work of more than 20 area photographers and videographers.
Among them is Ann Arbor documentary photographer Janice Milhem, whose portraits of Detroiters pack a sort of one-two punch. Take a look at “Allen,” her emotionally raw shot of a homeless man living at the Packard Plant and see if you don’t agree.
Another group show, “Terra Nullius (Land That Belongs to No One),” this one at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, features the work of Janie Paul, Robert Platt, Endi Poskovic, Nancy Thayer and Russell Thayer, all faculty at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design.
Curated by Nancy Thayer, the show is loosely organized around the impact landscape has on the human experience — not a surprising choice given Thayer’s moody paintings of far-off horizon lines. “Terra,” which includes artifacts that range from painting to film to sculpture, runs through Feb. 28.
In what BBAC president Annie VanGelderen calls “a nice juxtaposition,” the faculty show rubs elbows with a student show from the best from BBAC’s adult classes. Curated by Mary Fortuna from Rochester’s Paint Creek Center for the Arts, “BBAC: Current Student Works” runs through Feb. 28.
Continuing this “best” theme, Ferndale’s Lawrence Street Gallery hosts its “Best of the Best” exhibit through Jan. 31. The show displays works by 11 artists, including painter Jud Coveyou and photographer James Ritchie. All the show’s artists took prizes in one of the quarterly juried shows the gallery held last year.
Those fired up about ceramic glazes will want to check out Pewabic Pottery’s “State of Flux,” a five-person show that explores new techniques and methods in pottery work. “State of Flux” comes down March 9.
With “16 + 16,” Ann Arbor’s WSG Gallery gives the group-show thing a nifty twist. Up through Feb. 15, this high-concept exhibit features the work of 16 member artists, each of whom has chosen a companion artist to exhibit alongside them.
Back in Detroit, the legendary Scarab Club has two shows up right now: A solo show from rock-poster king Gary Grimshaw, who died Monday, is on the first floor, and Charles Alexander’s “Art Bi-Polar” on the second floor. Each will be up through Feb. 15. “It’s sad and poignant Gary couldn’t be here,” says exhibitions director Treena Flannery-Ericson. “He was so looking forward to signing one of our beams.” (His signature, she added, will be transferred to a beam in any case.)
Alexander works in doodles and hieroglyphs, a neo-psychedelic style that channels the optimism of a radical artistic era some 40 years ago. Of his richly detailed paintings, Alexander says, “There’s little conscious planning as I create my art. I work intuitively and rather quickly.”
Two shows will have opening receptions starting at 7 p.m. Friday at Rochester’s Paint Creek. There’s “Surface/Space” with Detroit fiber artist Lynn Bennett-Carpenter and Ohioan painters Matthew Hunt and Keri Mortimer, and “Print,” with works from printmaker Alexander Buzzalini, whose work often looks whimsical from a distance but turns out to be unsettling up close.
And finally, it’s a full month of gallery fun. On Jan. 31, Birmingham photographer Laurie Tennent’s unearthly close-ups of common garden flowers will open with a reception at Cranbrook House in Bloomfield Hills. “Botanicals,” which was shot in the Cranbrook House gardens, will be up through Feb. 28.
Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center
1516 S. Cranbrook, Birmingham
380 Lone Pine Bloomfield Hills
Detroit Artists Market
4719 Woodward, Detroit
Lawrence Street Gallery
22620 Woodward, Ferndale
Marygrove College Art Gallery
Liberal Arts Building, Fourth floor
8425 W. McNichols, Detroit
Paint Creek Center for the Arts
407 Pine, Rochester
10125 E Jefferson, Detroit
217 Farnsworth, Detroit
306 S Main, Ann Arbor