Ceramics and furniture often get consigned to the fine-arts attic, disparaged as more decor than art.

But “FUNction” at West Bloomfield’s Janice Charach Gallery (through May 10) puts that lazy assumption to rest. There’s a lot of remarkable going on here.

This sprawling, 50-artist show was curated by ceramicist Tom Phardel and furniture-designer Maxwell Davis, both College for Creative Studies professors.

Start with the marvelously silly.

Marco Terenzi is a Detroit-based wood and metal worker whose website identifies him as an artist-craftsman working in miniatures — as it happens, really, really precise little miniatures.

Terenzi told Woodworking Journal he initially started making miniatures of his larger pieces just for fun. “I figured I liked doing it so much,” he said, “I’m just going to keep making miniature things.”

Previously Terenzi crafted wood-and-metal tools for the Lilliputian set, but with his “Untitled” folding metal chair a few inches tall on a concrete plinth, he’s branched out into the world of exquisitely rendered, dollhouse home furnishings.

Ann Arbor furniture designer Stephen B. Proctor gives us a tall, minimalist “White Cabinet” (amusingly subtitled “Self Portrait in Wood”), which is elegant and delightfully absurd. His “Saddle Seat Chair” also is amusing, an interesting exercise in stripping a utilitarian object down to essentials.

In the realm of the purely sculptural, CCS student Sydni Oliver crafted a rough-textured white ceramic “Temple” that looks like a chunky ziggurat straight out of ancient Mesopotamia.

The curators paired “Temple” with Alexis Bratto’s “Contorted Tower,” a modernist ceramic sculpture that almost reads like oxydized copper. Together, they make a pretty pairing.

One of the delights of “FUNction” is its frequent detours into the odd and whimsical.

Put Dan Cholette’s “Stacked Pile” in that folder. This ceramic sculpture of four bowls, oddly nested and hanging off the wall, is a delightful sight.

(313) 222-6021


Through May 10

Janice Charach Gallery

JCC of Metro Detroit

6600 W. Maple

West Bloomfield

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

(248) 432-5579

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