THE GREAT LAKES BAY BODY brings to Counter Culture, 620 Gratiot in Saginaw, several regional figurative artists in paint, photography and collage, whose work hasn't been considered together until now. Work by David Young, Doug Julian, Alexander Imax, Erin Case and Mike Mosher will be on exhibit March 2 through March 31, with a Reception Thursday, March 3.
The show is curated by Mike Mosher.
What is THE GREAT LAKES BAY BODY? Is it obese, comfort-food-fed and tobacco-fetid, coughing and wheezing through the working day?
Is it heated and sweaty from fast-paced health club or school gym treadmills and Nautilus machines, getting in trim and hyper-efficient fighting form?
Is it softly erotic, sentimentally charged by grass-stained summer evenings, or long dark winters, hands exploring skin beneath flannel, under the comforter?
Does it emerge from, and fit into, the post-industrial Midwest by becoming a cyborg, hooked into its own Kettering starter or electronically monitored by Obamacareful health professionals? Almost 85 years ago, Diego Rivera looked at Ford assembly line machinery and saw an Aztec goddess within.
Five area artists have picked up their creative probes and magnifiers to examine it.
David Young, respectable and esteemed elementary school teacher, celebrates the African American female form, in acrylics and sometimes filter treatments of received photographs. He has exhibited in several annual Dirty Shows in Detroit, but had not found a proper venue to display this work around here.
Doug Julian is a professional photographer, often seen in Great Lakes Bay magazine. He has been called upon by many gyms and personal trainers to create their portfolios, and his attention to buffed bodies, on or off athletic equipment, exude health, eroticism and good cheer. His mid-Michigan athletes would have been welcomed as ideal in ancient Greece, Rome or Renaissance Italy.
Alexander Imax, aka Benjamin Robinson, is another solid citizen who often serves as a substitute teacher in Saginaw High Schools. He struts, pumps and poses before the selfie camera, then tweaks and filters the results to give himself superhero status and gravitas. How can one truly be a hero, be good and fight for justice, in the rustbelt city?
Erin Case is a Counter Culture favorite, whose wryly surreal collages have gotten her notice internationally, now included in the Saatchi collection, London. They have frequently appeared in Cardinal Sins. Very briefly an SVSU student of this exhibition's curator, she impressed him by carrying around 1950s encyclopedia volumes to mine for imagery.
Mike Mosher, Professor of Art/Communication Digital Media at Saginaw Valley State University, is curator of THE GREAT LAKES BAY BODY and often juxtaposes human forms with electronics in his own works. Schematic circuitry, including voltmeters and ammeters, circulate energy that might be erotic, might be political.