Ferndale Library hosts portraits by Jud Coveyou

Michael H. Hodges
The Detroit News

Here's reason to duck into the Ferndale Area District Library on E. Nine Mile in the next 10 days -- a small, punchy show of Jud Coveyou's psychological portraits will be up through Dec. 15. 

Coveyou, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who up till 10 years ago taught at Seaholm High School in Birmingham, combines an astute use of color with a knowing eye in paintings of family and friends and one ecstatic cat. 

Jud Coveyou's "Prax" at the Ferndale Area District Library through Dec. 15.

In style, Coveyou ranges from the highly realistic to something looser and almost slapdash, as with "Rick Two," perhaps this show's most-powerful work. 

A young man crouching in a sunny field is rendered in quick, impressionistic strokes, while above him a threatening sky, all lurid purples and grays, presses down heavily on the scene.

Don't be surprised if it's hard to take your eyes off it. 

"Rick Two" by Ferndale artist Jud Coveyou at the Ferndale Area District Library.

Completely different in style and feel is Coveyou's "Front Room," with its elderly couple caught in their own private worlds, one apparently focused on TV, the other checking his cellphone, both rendered in highly realistic terms. 

Also sharp in focus is "Afrodeezeac," with its muscular young man whose Afro reads almost like the nimbus around the saint's head in a Renaissance painting.

Coveyou, who published a collection "Rotten with Anecdote : A Retrospective 1970-2014" five years ago, employs a scrim of sorts to advance the paintings' narratives in a couple pieces.

The young woman in "Tribunal," framed by two harpies, stares out at the viewer through the repetitive horizontals of a a Venetian blind -- visual distraction that only heightens the moment's implicit drama. 

Ferndale artist Jud Coveyou's "Maughmie Dearest" at Ferndale Area District Library through Dec. 15.

By contrast, the fedora-sporting fellow with the piercing blue eyes in "Maughmie Dearest" peers through multi-colored, vertical stripes that look a little like Jazz Age bead curtains.

This particular portrait almost comes equipped with its own storyline. Both the subject's hat and his square jaw suggest a Raymond Chandler detective spying on putative criminals engaged in heinous felonies.

The exhibition only takes about 10 minutes to walk through, but it will lift your day. 

The amusingly named "Mayhem" by Jud Coveyou at the Ferndale Area District Library through Dec. 15.


(313) 222-6021

Twitter: @mhodgesartguy 

'Jud Coveyou: Paintings'

Through Dec. 15

Ferndale Area District Library, 222 E. Nine Mile, Ferndale 

10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Thurs; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri; noon-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

(248) 546-2504


"Rotten with Anecdote : A Retrospective 1970-2014," published in 2014