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Wayne State University Press

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Essay'd 3

30 Detroit Artists

Edited and compiled by Dennis Alan Nawrocki, Steve Panton, and Matthew Piper

Detroit, Art

Painted Turtle

Published: October 2018
ISBN: 9780814345870
Pages: 200 Size: 8.5 x 11
Illustrations: 223 color photos

Essay’d 3: 30 Detroit Artists is the third volume in a series of collections that present short, illustrated essays about artists who live and work in Detroit or who have participated in the Detroit art scene in an important way. Stemming from the popular website of the same name, Essay’d 3 seeks to introduce readers to new insight and a fresh perspective on the city’s contemporary art practitioners. The arts writers behind the original Essay’d—a professor, a gallerist, and a critic—are joined in Essay’d 3 by twelve guest writers. This remarkable multiplicity of voices enlarges and enriches the overall scope of this ambitious project as it grows to become ever more inclusive of Detroit’s astonishingly rich and diverse art community.

Essay’d 3 offers thirty new profiles of artists both well-known and under-the-radar. Each artist is profiled by a writer with an avowed interest in and enthusiasm for that artist’s work and each essay takes into account biography, context, interpretation, and analysis of individual artworks. Certain themes emerge in this collection, including a turn toward more performing artists, as well as a recurrent concern with the use of the body as a surrogate for social conditions. Some of the artists highlighted in this volume include Richard Lewis, a portrait painter and "keen-eyed explorer of souls and their discontents"; photographer Lauren Semivan, who works in serial aggregates of thirty or more black-and-white images, shot with an early twentieth-century, large-format, tripod-mounted camera; experimental performance artists The Hinterlands (Liza Bielby and Richard Newman); and Tom Phardel—sculptor, ceramist, and curator—who has served as teacher and chair of ceramics at the College for Creative Studies for thirty years.

With renewed regional, national, and international on to Detroit and its creative culture, it is more important than ever that the evolving and vital work of the city’s artists be documented and made known to the wider public. Art lovers and regional history buffs will appreciate this continued conversation.

Published by: Painted Turtle

Dennis A. Nawrocki serves as adjunct faculty in the department of Art and Art History at Wayne State University. Author of Art in Detroit Public Places (Wayne State University Press, 2008) and a freelance critic, Nawrocki has penned reviews for a wide range of publications including Art in America, Metro Times, and Sculpture.

Steve Panton is the founder of 2739 Edwin and 9338 Campau galleries, co-founder of the Hamtramck Neighborhood Arts Festival and the Free School of Hamtramck, and the inaugural curator of Art@TheMax. His personal interests are in interdisciplinary projects at the intersection of pedagogy, research, and exhibition making.

Matthew Piper is a writer, photographer, and librarian who is interested in art, architecture, and sustainable development in Detroit. His work has been featured in KnightArts, Bad at Sports, Detroit Research, Infinite Mile, and Model D.

Featured artists: Susan Aaron-Taylor, Carla Anderson, Jeanne Bieri, Sophie Eisner, Gary Eleinko, Ed Fraga, Eli Gold, Oren Goldenberg, Cynthia Greig, Matthew Angelo Harrison, The Hinterlands, Sydney G. James, Laith Karmo, Nicola Kuperus, Richard Lewis, Billy Mark, Tiff Massey, Allie McGhee, Carole Morisseau, Sabrina Nelson, Tom Phardel, Sharon Que, Yvette Rock, Gary Schwartz, Lauren Semivan, Donita Simpson, Maya Stovall, Andrew Thompson, Millee Tibbs, Timothy Van Laar

Essay’d 3 is the latest installment of an ongoing and powerful project that focuses on the contributions of Detroit artists and writers to the creative life of this city.

– Lynne Avadenka, artist and director of Signal-Return

Essay’d 3 showcases the diverse and vibrant contributions that Detroit artists are making to the cultural fabric of our city. These stories and the artists themselves illuminate, entertain, and elevate our understanding of the world we all share. We’re grateful to partner with the editors of Essay’d on regular exhibitions of some of these wonderful artists in our midtown Detroit home.

– Anne Parsons, president and CEO, Detroit Symphony Orchestra

The Essay’d team continues their unprecedented survey of Detroit and area artists, providing us all with an intimate look into the artists’ creative process and work. Without a doubt, this series is one of my favorite collections of writing about artists, and the third printed installation does not disappoint.

– Phil Gilchrist, executive director, Anton Art Center