Artful winter DeVos Museum has a busy semester planned

MARQUETTE – The DeVos Art Museum at Northern Michigan University will be hopping all through the winter semester with a truly diverse array of activity.

“It’s another busy semester at the museum with special events and exhibitions,” said Melissa Matuscak, DeVos director and curator. “Currently on display are two new exhibitions, a solo show by an artist from Grand Rapids and a show of work from the museum’s permanent collection.”

The Grand Rapids artist is Mariel Versluis, a printmaker and painter who also teaches at Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University.

“The museum has three different series on display – large collages, drawings and sculpture,” Matuscak said. “The collages were completed during Versluis’ recent sabbatical and feature the animals that are a part of Versluis’ daily life, including horses on her farm and dogs she skijor races with. A new series of drawings called ‘Pages from a Book’ are inspired by the poetry of Sappho. Finally the sculptures, called ‘Train of Fools’ is a new iteration of found object sculpture Versluis first began several years ago.

“Versluis has been working on reworking this piece over the past year and this is the first time it’s been seen since then.”

On display for much of the year is a new exhibition featuring work from the museum’s permanent art collection.

“Four student interns from the School of Art and Design experienced what goes into organizing an exhibition from start to finish,” Matuscak said. “The interns – Matthew Bizoe, Craig Neeson, Sam Page and Sophia Thomas – selected the artwork, researched and wrote about the pieces, designed a brochure for the exhibition, decided on the layout of the show and helped install the artwork.

“Part of the mission of the museum is to provide real world opportunities for students at NMU and all of these students had previous experience working with the DeVos so the timing was perfect when they all expressed interest in having a curatorial internship,” she said. “It’s also great for the museum to have fresh perspective from students when thinking about the museum’s collection, which is very diverse.”

Matuscak said the students chose the title “The End Will Look as the Beginning Did” based on the idea that history often repeats itself, especially in visual culture.

“To put late 19th century photographs in the same space as a sculpture by 20th century minimalist artist Sol Lewitt creates some very interesting dialogue,” she said.

Other upcoming events at DeVos:

March 3-April 6: “UP Focus: Cynthia Cote, Greg Green and Jack Oyler”

“In March we open our annual UP Focus exhibition, featuring the three artists from Calumet. The Keweenaw is full of incredibly creative people and this show highlights work by Cynthia Cote, Greg Green and Jack Oyler,” Matuscak said. “The three of them work in very different approaches, but there are similarities in that they all utilize elements of collage. Cynthia paints and draws and also works with paper, Greg also paints but collages found fabric into his paintings and Jack layers cut plywood into what feel like stills from movie scenes. Cynthia and Jack also incorporate some text into their work which can help the viewer find meaning.”

April 16-May 2, NMU School of Art and Design WInter 2014 Senior Exhibition

“The semester will end with the senior exhibition, which will feature over 60 graduating students from the NMU School of Art and Design,” Matuscak said. “The art program at NMU continues to be among the largest on campus and this exhibition gives the public a chance to see the student’s work. There promises to be a great variety of work from sculpture to painting to computer-based art to illustration.

“Immediately after the senior exhibition will be the annual Marquette County children’s exhibition which will feature around 1,000 pieces of artwork by elementary, middle and high school students from the area.”

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Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.