Detroit Industrial Projects presents Sense of Site
An art installation by Wayne State University artists Cheri Allen, Louis Casinelli, Rory Chapman, Matt Doyle, Katie Etchill, Jan Janiczek, Sean Marshall, Matt Pawenski, Nick Portice, Michel Soucisse. Curated by Lindsay Satchell.
Exhibition: April 4 to April 19, 2008
Opening Reception: Friday, April 4th, 6-9pm
Concerned by the suggestion that modern people are visually oriented to the point of other-sensory atrophy, “Sense of Site” aims to explore and develop all five senses, particularly in relationship to our understanding of physical spaces. Inspired by such installation artists as Ann Hamilton and Bernhard Gal, ten Detroit artists will appeal to our senses while exploring spatial relationships.
WSU art students use space to expose awareness beyond sight
Mary Sitto / For The South End
The innovative art exhibit Sense of Sight opened Friday at Detroit Industrial Projects and The Overpass, two galleries located in the Russell Industrial Center.
Artist Jeanette Strezinski is founder and director of Detroit Industrial Projects. Her mission is to “provide artists with an environment where they can showcase their art in an uninhibited setting free of conventional constraints.”
The exhibit contains the installation art of all10 of the art major students in the Mixed Media Installation Art Course led by WSU instructor Lindsay Satchell. It is based on two ideas, “the idea of the five senses, a sensory experience, then relationships, some relate more to space and some more to the five senses,” Satchell said.
“Installation art is a lot more site specific, process oriented, conceptual,” according to Strezinski. Satchell adds, “it isn’t necessarily about a discreet individual object, it’s about creating an environment or creating an experience.” The installations were fabricated by the students in the galleries just a week prior to the opening and are their final projects for the class.
The Russell Industrial Center is historically significant in Detroit’s automotive industry. It was originally home to the Murray Mfg. Company, an auto body supplier that manufactured stamped sheet metal parts. It is now home to not only these galleries, but also many businesses, artists, craftspeople and printers.
Our sense of touch is required in Katie Etchill’s “Sensory Survey: Detroit.” The installation includes boxes that are lined on the wall and you put your hand into to discover the surprising natural world inside. “I just went in and around Detroit and collected things,” Etchill said. The viewer almost feels as if they are taking a risk, not knowing what is inside each of the boxes. It’s an entertaining exploration of art. “My intent was to take the beauty we often ignore in the everyday and present it in an organized, blatant manner” according to Etchill “I feel that by using touch, as opposed to sight, the viewer can experience a new understanding of the city and the beauty that is sometimes forgotten.”
“Everything has multiple sides, multiple viewpoints,” said Jan Janiczek, the artist who created “Cudlum Gathering” a juxtaposed piece that includes soft spiders crawling on the floor outside of The Overpass gallery. “These pieces were about something that was cute and cuddly, but at the same time kind of creepy and weird, said Janiczek, “opposites filling the same space at the same time.” In his “Untitled” display of yarn and glass he wants the viewer to see these objects “in a different way, to take them out of context.”
The highly imaginative “…records,” displays old console televisions sets that are stacked by design and include electrical cords that run from one gallery to the other to connect the exhibits. A video displays what is happening in the opposite gallery. The artist is Matt Pawenski, who describes himself as an installation, performance and tattoo artist. He also employs The Overpass Gallery as his own studio and gallery. “I thought a lot about technology and how it changes our life, how it transforms or deconstructs space.” Pawenski said. “Since there’s video [recording and] playing from the other space here, and vice-versa, you’re in both spaces at the same time.” You’re in one gallery space through video and the other physically.
Sense of Sight is a “full sensory experience.” It uses our senses to enhance our awareness of existence. It’s intent to deal with our understanding to physical space and develop an awareness beyond what is seen is accomplished superbly through the ingenuity of these inspirational Wayne State artists.
The exhibition runs through April 19th. The galleries are located in buildings one and two of the Russell Industrial Center on Clay Street in Detroit.