The Paint Is Real


River’s Edge Gallery at 3024 Biddle in downtown Wyandotte is opening an exhibit on September 16th curated purposely with works slanted towards realism and created by women artists.

According to Jeremy Hansen, gallery director and the curator,  the next exhibit highlights the talents of four female artists.  Hansen stated, “this work overpowers any gender identification.   Each artist works in their own way with realistic imagery.  Their subject matter differs greatly sometimes using inspiration from historical or iconic figures sometimes past experiences or just depicting every day familiar objects in an unfamiliar way.

River’s Edge Gallery has always been a space that has shown a predominance of female artists even though the statistics for gallery space available for female vs male would not reflect that on a national or international level.   Patt Slack, who started the gallery almost 40 years ago with her late husband and Detroit artist Jim Slack, has dedicated much of herself to promoting metro Detroit artists.  Patt was a female gallery owner during a time when national and international trends did not support that.  This perhaps made River’s Edge gallery a natural spot to find a lot of strong female work. Although, Patt states, “There was never an attempt to divide female from male.  We just always looked for the artists that were doing the strongest work.  The truth is it was harder for females to find showing space especially if their work was considered ‘unfeminine’.  Bold colors with intense applications or controversial subject matters were considered ‘male’.   Flowers and garden scenes were considered ‘feminine’…also a reverse stereotype.”

This show will feature Amy Chenier, who has been a part of River’s Edge almost from the gallery’s inception. Chenier uses her painting talents to create a collage like painting usually including a known iconic figure in a surrounding that makes asocial or cultural statement.  Her paintings are challenging to the viewer.  Amy began her career as a sports artists.  Her sports figures hang in all the walls of  top sports museums and sports collectors including the offices of Comerica Park.

Jelly Estrada is the less experienced in the group of four, yet her style reflects a modern approach to painting even though the images that inspire her are usually retro.  Her paintings are striking as the skin tones are a combination of bright colors making the result a racially neutral scene.

Kelly O’Hara’s pieces for “The Paint Is Real” were created solely for this exhibition. These works demonstrate her ability to create a narrative.  She uses her sharp illustrative skill to create a realistic scene in a fantasy world.

Lisa Poszywak is the freshest of the bunch.   For this particular show Poszywak, who has a wide range of subjects matters that have inspired her,  has combined an unusual selection of objects in a twist on the standard still life.

Paint paint is real: Statements from Artists

Amy Chenier

Marcel Duchamp’s appreciation of wordplay and puns is the inspiration for my recent works for the exhibit “The Paint is Real”.  Duchamp comments that puns are “a source of stimulation both because of their actual sound and because of the unexpected meaning attached to the interrelationships of disparate words.”  I value and share that source of possibility;  it is the spirit behind my first work in this series- “The Velvet Underground Railroad “. The wordplay and images for that painting serve as a catalyst the the works that followed, as I explore visually the underground of stardom, legend, and personal desire.  I hope these paintings reflect the nature of this show- the paint indeed is real, but the fire behind the concepts is a bit more evasive.  The joy of being an artist is in harnessing that rogue flame and forging it into a work of art that is genuine.

Jelly Estrada

I feel my work is unique and most recognizable by my signature use of vibrant colors. I use multiple layers and brush strokes to bring out dimension and values in each piece I create. To some, the colors might seem misplaced like red skies and purple faces. I often work from old photographs and my goal is always to recreate a memory, both real or imagined. The juxtaposition of the photograph I choose may not be appealing initially, but I find the overall scene and underlying emotion of the photographs fascinating. The results brings outdated moments back to life, or allows the viewer to narrate their own story.

Kelly O’Hara

I am  a Detroit-based painter and have sold my works internationally.   In recent years I started working in the comic industry publishing published books,  posters and trading card sets.  I specialize in sci-fi and fantasy art as well as portraiture painted on everything from upcycled vintage school desks, bowling pins and milk bottles as well as the traditional canvas and comic covers. I work in a variety of painting mediums from acrylic and enamel to inks and watercolors.

In addition to creating and showing art in the Detroit area, I also travel around the nation to comic cons selling my own work, cosplaying and puppeteering.

Lisa Poszywak

I am a Detroit based artist working primarily in painting.  I graduated with a BFA from the College for Creative Studies in 2009  and have since exhibited my work both locally and nationally. In 2013.   I  was selected to be a resident artist for Cycle 4 of the Red Bull House of Art.  Painting is what I do and I paint whatever inspires me.   In addition to being a painter, I manage the gallery at Corktown Studios in Detroit and I am  a musician performing with the indie rock duo Rogue Satellites.