posted March 19, 2004

Del Michel's Work Exhibited in Traverse City

An exhibition of artwork by Del Michel, professor emeritus of art at Hope College, is on display at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City.

The exhibition, "Nomadic Images - The Patina of Time," which features paintings and assemblages, opened on Sunday, March 21, and will continue through Sunday, June 20. Michel will give a gallery talk on Sunday, March 28, at 2 p.m. at the museum.

"This series of works was inspired by my fascination with imagery from past and distant cultures as revealed in the fragments of architecture and artifacts," Michel noted in an artist's statement prepared for the museum. "Through travel to ancient monuments and museums, I came to realize that my experience with time-worn works of art was actually heightened by their state of disrepair... figurative sculpture with limbs missing, architectural friezes fragmented by exposure to the elements, walls of decorative tiles altered with age. A sense of history in these images has become central to my creative response."

The assemblages incorporate fragments of old and thread-bare Kilim carpets from the nomadic tribes of central Asia, along with paint, cement and other materials. "These works, I hope, will communicate the sense of history and visual traditions of those nomadic artisans but also express the joy I feel as I spontaneously borrow, adapt and compose these images into contemporary patterns," he said.

The paintings incorporate the gestural energy of automatic handwriting as well as the movement of color and light through fragmented, quilted patterns. "While the subject is landscape or skyscape, the segmented format also relates to the fragmented compositions of the Kilim series," Michel noted.

Michel taught at Hope from 1964 until retiring in 2003, and has since relocated to Suttons Bay near Traverse City. His work has been exhibited in galleries and shows worldwide, and included in many private, corporate, university and art museum collections.

The Dennos Museum Center is located at 1701 East Front Street, 1.5 miles east of downtown Traverse City at the entrance of Northwestern Michigan College. The museum is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., but is closed on major holidays. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children.