March 5 2009 12:00 AM

Scene exhibit shows talent of Spartan artists


Rather than filling Scene Metrospace with artwork that conveys a common subject or material, like many of the contemporary art space’s group shows often do, gallery director and curator Tim Lane chose to start 2009 by showing his Spartan spirit.

The “Bleeding Green at Scene” exhibit, which went up at the East Lansing art space in January, features the work of five artists, all affiliated with Michigan State University in some way.

“The artwork itself doesn’t have an underlying theme,” Lane said. “But it’s interesting, because a lot of people who come in here remark that a lot of the work bears similarity to each other.”

Lane said it makes sense, because the artists, who include Andrew Reider, Renee Robbins, Grant Whipple, Michelle Word and Chris VanWyck, all went through MSUs art program.

“When artists are working closely, they can’t help but influence each other,” he said. “I have seen all of the work in isolation, so it didn’t really occur to me that there were similarities at first, but I see it now.”

Between Whipple’s shapes and colors and Robbins’ systems and patterns, Lane said it somehow all makes perfect sense that these pieces are part of the same show.

While he said it would be impossible to choose a favorite, Lane spoke very highly of Reider, a graduate student at MSU. “I like the different layers in his work, the complexity,” he said.

“I like that he attempts to tackle social themes. Each new wave of paintings he does seem to get better and better.”

Some of the themes Reider explores in the exhibit include perception and stereotypes. “The pieces up there revolve around an urban setting and are reflective of my experiences living in Chicago before I moved to Lansing to go to school,” Reider said. “It deals with my own working class identity, and it deals with ethnic and cultural stereotypes, as well.”

Reider agrees that the works in the show fit well together, despite the disparate subject matter. “There wasn’t really an underlying theme I saw in the work, but more of an idea,” he said. “Multiple materials, mixed media, multiple ways of viewing something and blending both abstract an figurative elements. Everybody in the show seems to be pushing toward experimentation and has a desire to push whichever media the artist is using as far as it can go.”

Reider said similarities between the artists may be because of their affiliation with MSU’s Art Department. “At MSU there’s not one overriding philosophy that all the faculty subscribe to,” he said. “Students can decide what their drive and aesthetic direction is and pursue it openly.”

Reider said it was a treat to have his work in a show with Robbins. After seeing her painting in the front entryway of the Kresge Art Center every day since coming to MSU, Reider said he was able to see a smaller scale version of her work at the show and appreciate how much her work has grown since that point.

Lane has been pleased with the show’s success and is looking forward to turning “Bleeding Green at Scene” into an annual event. Viewers still have through Sunday to check out this inaugural installment before it comes down.

“I wanted to create a healthy bridge between Scene Metrospace and MSU’s Art Department,” Lane said. “It’s our first all- MSU, show and it’s a good way to kick each year off.”

‘Bleeding Green’

March 1 Scene Metrospace, 110 Charles St., East Lansing Gallery Hours:
2-5 p.m. Thursday 2-6 p.m. Friday & Saturday Noon-4 p.m. Sunday
(517) 319-6832 www.scenemetrospace.com