DETROIT: Who are we? Where have we been? Where are we going? These are some of the questions this exhibit seeks to answer through the lens of Detroit local artists.
What the city is and what it was are two very different things to most Detroit locals. Those who have lived the difference find themselves measuring the distance from there to here, recounting steps, and gazing off into an unfamiliar that may seem clouded for some and crystal clear for others.
With an eye towards what Detroit has been for so many of us – those distinct moments and qualities that define our city – and a vision for its future, the Irwin Gallery presents DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY – an exhibition that invites present, past and foreseeable imagery from local artists and documentarians. The exhibition additionally features the gallery’s first official Artist-in-Residence, conceptual artist and writer, John Sims, who will develop Sorrento: Portrait of a Detroit Block – a multi-media, interactive and oral-history project based on his West-side Detroit childhood street, neighbors, and memories. Sims will reside and work on-site during the exhibition, building and integrating segments of the project throughout his Residency.
Featured Artists include Brian Nickson, Damon Chamblis, Darin Darby, Dolores Slowinski, James Charles, Morris, Jeni Wheeler, Jon DeBoer, Kathleen Rashid, Lance Johnson, Melissa Vize, Robert W. Clark III and Waleed Johnson.
Darin Darby uses a distinct three-dimensional process to render connections between his childhood memories and his son’s present Detroit experiences; Kathleen Rashid employs clothing to capture dramatic neighborhood perspectives, Dolores Slowinski embroiders racial movement in her West-side community; Photographers Jon DeBoer and Melissa Vize crystallize Detroit urban-scapes in time while James Charles Morris celebrates the strength of Black Detroit, and; Waleed Johnson paints the fire of young city-dwellers. “While our space and resources do not allow us to capture the full breadth and complexity of Detroit with this exhibit, each artist brings a bit of their story, their eye, and their experience to the story,” says the Irwin Gallery’s Director, Omo Misha. “One thing that I’ve learned is that Detroiters are, and have always been, having wildly different relationships with the city.”
Exhibition programming will include a reading from the new anthology, Respect, and musical experience with ML Liebler and his Coyote Monk Poetry Vans; a screening and discussion of Pam Sporn’s Detroit 48202: Conversations Along A Postal Route; a discussion on Detroit urban agriculture and food justice with the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN), and; John Sims will stage public events in connection with his Sorrento project throughout his residency. Dates and additional programming TBA.
The Irwin House Gallery was founded by Valerie D. Irwin and her late husband, Council Irwin, Jr. to engage the community through the arts, support local talent, and invite the global art world to experience and contribute to the cultural wealth of Detroit. The gallery opened last year, amid construction, for the city’s first visual art exhibition celebrating The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. As part of the DETROIT FUTURE HISTORY Exhibition, the Irwin House unveils new developments, including the completion of its main floor gallery, the 2nd level of the building, and its Artist-In-Residency (AIR) program.
Exhibition runs through January 5, 2020. Gallery hours are Thurs-Sun 12-6pm. Open by appointment other times. Irwin House Global Art Center & Gallery, 2351 W. Grand Blvd. (Between LaSalle & Linwood), Detroit, MI 48208. Ph: 313.932.7690 | http://irwinhousegallery.org | IG: @irwinhousegallery | FB: /irwinhousegallery
IMAGES FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: John Sims Sorrento: Portrait of a Detroit Block, video still (multi-disciplinary project); Jon DeBoer Detroitism; Dolores Slowinski Detroit West Side Patterns, fiber on paper; Waleed Johnson Look Me In The Eye, oil on canvas; Kathleen Rashid Shirt (Views from the window) oil on fabric; Darin Darby Route To My Past, mixed media on board. LEFT: Gallery Director, Misha McGlown, with artist Damon Chamblis and his featured Greyscale Self-Portrait.