‘Vessels and Dwellings’ at WSG in Ann Arbor

Michael H. Hodges
Detroit News Fine Arts Writer

Ann Arbor’s airy WSG gallery is an artist-owned cooperative well worth dropping into if you’re wandering down Main Street.

Every six weeks WSG exhibits a new featured artist at the front of the gallery, and on display through March 26 is the Barcelona-born Francesc Burgos and his show “Vessels and Dwellings.”

Burgos, an architect and ceramacist, is concentrating on what his website describes as “one of a kind” ceramic and mixed-media pieces for the home.

Burgos presents a range of vessels, all rather architectural in nature. Some are bone white and delicate, others heavy, muscular and coal-colored on the outside, dull orange within. Several of these, including “vessel,” have unexpected, jagged openings that give an intriguing geometric quality to the design.

By contrast, Burgos’ “vase” looks a bit like a white, rough-surfaced porcelain “skyscraper” with small porthole windows that rises up around the vessel’s opening, partly concealing it, from which protrudes a branch-like twisted wire.

It’s an oddly compelling composition that somehow calls to mind the biblical Tower of Babel.

One of the virtues to WSG is that in addition to the featured artist, there’s always a rotating show of pieces by the collective’s members in the rest of the gallery, as well as contributions by a limited number of invited artists.

So after considering Burgos’ muted, esoteric vessels, there’s the rest of the gallery to explore.

Well worth pondering, and almost impossible to miss, is Peter Gooch’s electric “Sun — Oreti Beach, NZ (Red),” a blazing orange canvas with one of his signature motifs at the center — a rectangle comprised of alternating stripes in dull black and gray.

We’re used to bright objects exploding off dark backgrounds, but here we have precisely the reverse — and it’s a stunner.

In other notable work, Norma Penchansky Glasser offers an abstracted, black-and-white study of a dancer — or dancers — moving through space with “Rehearsal in Studio A,” while Carlye Crisler’s “Looking Up Liberty” is a deeply satisfying, impressionistic portrait of the back side of Ann Arbor’s downtown.

Finally, Candace Compton Pappas’ quartet of painted cement tiles of birds in flight constitutes a handsome series of figure studies, with birds standing in for the usual naked humans.



“Vessels and Dwellings”

Francesc Burgos

Through March 26

WSG Gallery, 306 S. Main,

Ann Arbor

Noon-6 p.m. Tues.-Thurs.; noon - 9 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; noon-5 p.m. Sun.

(734) 761-2287