Creatively Centered: Two Ambitious Exhibits Feature Found Objects, The Unexpected | News

“Are there admission fees? How much does it cost to enter? »

It’s a common question at Crooked Tree Arts Center reception, and the happy answer is that visiting our galleries is always free! Free and open access to exhibits is a cornerstone of our mission and role as an arts-based community center. It is a way to foster appreciation of visual art and to establish connections between artists, gallery visitors and the content of the work.

Of course, setting up new exhibits every six to eight weeks doesn’t come without cost, though it’s joyful and satisfying work. CCAT members, supporters and volunteers are the behind-the-scenes heroes who keep the doors of our gallery open to everyone, regardless of their means.

On Saturday, April 30, our galleries will open to everyone with two new exhibits that are sure to be plenty to enjoy, contemplate and discuss. Pi Benio and Liz Barick Fall are two artists from Michigan who will each present a solo exhibition at CTAC in Traverse City. Each work incorporates found objects and unexpected materials, and the exhibitions represent perhaps our most ambitious installations to date.

CCAT was introduced to both artists when they respectively participated and won awards in two previous CCAT exhibitions. Liz Barick Fall, when she participated in our spring 2020 juried photography exhibition; and Pi Benio in our summer 2021 exhibition, GREAT.

In her new exhibition Reflective Perspective, Liz Barick Fall uses photography, found objects, encaustic wax, and other materials to create layered, nuanced works of art that address societal and environmental themes. Liz Barick Fall explores these broad ideas while reflecting her personal experience as a designer, woman, Midwesterner and mother.

“I was first drawn to Liz Barick Fall’s work because she incorporates photography into multimedia pieces in inventive ways, such as embedding photos in encaustic wax,” says Liz Erlewine, director of CCAT visual arts. “It gives the photo a nostalgic quality.”

Barick Fall has lived and worked in Ann Arbor for 30 years and holds a BFA from the University of Michigan and an MFA in Metallurgy from the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Pi Benio’s exhibition “Earthbound” features recent work by the Adrian, Michigan-based artist. Benio uses found objects such as driftwood and other organic materials, which are mixed with electronic components to create airy sculptural forms that explore themes of transformation, rebirth and interconnectedness.

“Parts appear to float and change appearance with light,” Erlewine explains. “The juxtaposition of lightness, electricity and light, rooted in dead organic matter, is quite interesting and compelling.”

Pi Benio received an MFA from Eastern Michigan University and his work has been featured locally, including in a solo exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Art.

Pi Benio will present a free Coffee @ Ten talk at CTAC in Traverse City on Friday, April 29. Liz Barick Fall will be the featured presenter on Friday, May 20. The exhibitions will continue until June 2. Visit crookedtree.org/TC for more information.

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