Janice Charach Gallery reopens Sunday with exhibition on ceramic tableware

By Erica Hobbs
Special to The Detroit News

After being closed for 19 months because of COVID-19, West Bloomfield's  Janice Charach Gallery reopens Sunday with a new exhibition showcasing utilitarian ceramics. In partnership with the Michigan Ceramics Art Association (MCAA), “delecTable" is all about tableware, showcasing plates, mugs, bowls and servingware.

“It’s a good show for people who love ceramics and love functional work,” said Gallery Director Kelly Kaatz. “It will also hold the interest of somebody who likes to go to galleries and see more fine artwork.”

The exhibition will feature more than 40 ceramic artists from across Michigan, coming from Lansing, Grand Rapids, Mackinac and more, in addition to southeast Michigan. Each artist will showcase between three and 12 pieces, with more than 350 pieces of artwork on display throughout the 5,000 square-foot space.

Kaatz said 95 percent of the work is food safe and functional to use.  The pieces are wide-ranging works from artists from traditional potters to ceramic sculptors who push the boundaries of functionality.

Ceramics are the focus of a new exhibit in West Bloomfield.

The exhibition will feature a giant dining room table set with 35 table settings showcasing the work of exhibiting artists. The table settings vary from simple two-piece sets to elaborate displays that include a salad plate, dinner plate, goblet, mug and custom silverware.

“It’s an eclectic mix of these different artists coming together,” Kaatz said. “It just looks stunning in the gallery.”

Some of the artists include Genevieve VanZandt, named sculpture award winner at the last MCAA exhibition, known for creating brightly colored porcelain pieces with mythical landscapes using multiple layers of textured clay, said Kaatz.

Visitors will also see work by Carole Berhorst, who Kaatz said creates lightweight, comfortable pieces featuring intricate contemporary shapes made with tradition in mind.

Another featured artist, Frank James Fisher, will display rare utilitarian pieces, including three bowls and two place settings, Kaatz said. Fisher is better known for his non-functional art, including intricate raku sculptures and graphic prints, she said.

“It was kind of cool to see him make something different just for the show,” she said.

Pieces range from $30 to $1200 and will include one-of-a-kind work as well as custom orders, depending on the artist.

Sunday’s opening will include a free reception from 1-4 p.m., which Kaatz said offers visitors the opportunity to meet with most of the artists.

Jeff Ham is showcasing work at the Janice Charach Gallery exhibit that opens Oct. 24.

“This is the first time that all of these artists have been in one room together,” she said.

Masks are required to attend the opening.

Kaatz said the exhibit is a rare and fleeting opportunity to see all of these artists at once.

“It’s a good chance to see artwork that you may not see in southeast Michigan often since these artists live so far away,” she said. “Since it’s functional artwork, these things tend to sell faster than a two-dimensional painting, you may only have two months to see this piece before it sells.”

If you go: DelecTable opens Sunday, Oct. 24, with a free reception from 1-4 p.m. at the Janice Charach Gallery, 6600 W. Maple in West Bloomfield Township, inside the Jewish Community Center. The exhibition runs until Dec. 9. For more information visit https://gallery.jccdet.org/ ,