DECOMPOSE/RECOMPOSE brings together the work of four artists who are connected by a shared interest in the concepts of breakdown and transformation. At its core, this exhibition is about transmogrification, the process of changing from one substance or object into another. Transformation through decomposition and othernatural processes is a constant touchstone in these works, not only as a reference, but also as a metaphor for their artistic processes– breaking down and reconstructing their materials to create something entirely new. The artists featured in this exhibition create work alluding to various processes seen in nature: decay, death, decomposition, disintegration, regrowth and overgrowth. Likewise, in many instances, the artists are also recomposing and constructing new forms by manipulating a wide range of materials and mimicking natural substances, processes, and aesthetics. These shared elements tie together four artists with disparate backgrounds and experiences.
On view in the midst of the change from winter into spring, this exhibition looks to nature as its very timely, traditional subject matter. But whereas fresh plant growth and new life are usually the imagery of choice, this exhibit focuses on the decay left behind, and seeks meaning in the degeneration as much as the regeneration.
Rachel Hefferan is a sculptor and fiber artist from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Many of her sculptures are crocheted forms reminiscent of seed pods, gourds, or dead leaves. Tom Pyrzewski is a sculptor in Hamtramck who combines trash and detritus to create complex pseudo-organic forms that seem to exist somewhere between weathered animal carcasses, and otherworldly sea life. Breanne Sherwood is an Ypsilanti-based fiber artist using found organic materials and hand-dyed fabrics, combining them to mimic or allude to the surfaces of feathers, rust, and earth. Katherine St. Clair is a painter living in Ann Arbor who incorporates collaged photographs and drawings of plants and animals into her paintings, creating rich tapestries of texture and image that are at once abstract and figurative. Joe Levickas is an artist, curator and arts administrator living in Ann Arbor, and this is the first exhibition he has curated at the Ann Arbor Art Center