Two shows on the west side, both heavy on paintings — one at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, and the other at the Janice Charach Gallery in West Bloomfield — would make for a great afternoon’s outing.

BBAC hosts the Birmingham Society of Women Painters annual exhibition through Nov. 17, while “Doors of Perception” will be at Charach in the Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit through Dec. 7.

“The Doors of Perception” was organized by two artists who each took up painting about 10 years ago, long after college.

Amy Fell and Melissa Jones, each a deft artist in her own right, know a lot of other artists and pulled in 11 cool individuals from around the state for a robust group show.

“These were artists we’d wanted to work with for a long time,” Fell said, “but the show wasn’t curated. They picked out their own work.”

It’s a crew rich with talent, including among others, Sergio De Giusti, Catherine Peet, Michael Reedy, Joanne Rochon and Paula Zammit.

Of particular note are Sandra Cardew’s odd, ethereal collages starring sober-faced little girls — works of color and texture that are surprisingly stunning.

Jones called Cardew’s figures “haunting and beautiful at the same time,” while 9338 Campau gallerist Steve Panton, writing in the art journal Essay’d, found her figures “laden with hidden meanings and possibilities.”

Coincidentally, the Birmingham Society of Women Painters show at BBAC is also titled “Perceptions,” and is another rich group show with some very impressive high points.

The society has some great people in it. Founded in 1944, it’s limited to 50 members, who have to be nominated and submit portfolios of their work.

“Perceptions” was curated by the Center for Creative Studies’ Elena Arnaoutova.

Taking first place in this year’s show is Connie McEwen’s up-close, photo-realistic portrait of the right side of a zebra’s face. It’s a pretty darned arresting image.

McEwen plays with the photographic quality of the painting, giving it what photographers call low depth of field — so that while the lines on the beast’s face are sharp and crisp, his shoulder just beyond is blurred and out of focus.

Also worth going out of your way for, particularly if you like cats, is society president Loretta Markell’s large canvas, “Man with Cat.”

(313) 222-6021

Twitter: @mhodgesartguy


Through Nov. 17

Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, 1516 S. Cranbrook, Birmingham

9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat.

(248) 644-0866


of Perception’

Through Dec. 7

Janice Charach Gallery, 6600 W. Maple, West Bloomfield

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Wed.; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thurs.; noon-4 p.m. Sun.

(248) 432-5579

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