2018-07-07 / News

Island Hosts First Sensoria Showing; Guests Enjoy Variety of Artwork

By Marina Lindland


Dr. Don Goeckel (left) of Mackinac Island and artist Bernie Park of Marquette discuss Mr. Park’s oil paintings on the nature of the Upper Peninsula. Dr. Don Goeckel (left) of Mackinac Island and artist Bernie Park of Marquette discuss Mr. Park’s oil paintings on the nature of the Upper Peninsula. At least 45 guests gazed at art ranging from ceramic urns to stunning oil paintings at a Sunday, July 1 reception for the first group showing of the Sensoria Collective at the Mission Point Theater.

Marquette artist Bernard “Bernie” Park, a member of the group who has been painting more than 40 years, said the gallery space in the theater works for a variety of art media.

“Usually dark corners in a gallery don’t work well at all, but it lends itself great to Russ Prather’s work,” said Mr. Park, gesturing toward four light boxes installed in the darker corners of the room. “The natural light and the white walls work wonderfully with my paintings. Then it’s amazing to see Kristine’s work on a large movie screen.”


Ceramic artist Scott Leipski with two works, “God of Dreams” (left) and “Artemis Emerges.” Mr. Leipski takes only a day to sculpt all of his work so the clay has the same moisture content and will not crack when it dries. Drying, firing, and glazing the piece can take weeks or months afterward, depending on the size of the work. Ceramic artist Scott Leipski with two works, “God of Dreams” (left) and “Artemis Emerges.” Mr. Leipski takes only a day to sculpt all of his work so the clay has the same moisture content and will not crack when it dries. Drying, firing, and glazing the piece can take weeks or months afterward, depending on the size of the work. Scott Leipski, who coordinated the show with Mackinac Arts Council Executive Director Philip Rice, said that he could not be more pleased with the opening reception and the layout of the gallery space.

“Philip did an incredible job with the labels,” said Mr. Leipski. “Those are always a hit or miss when you go to a gallery, but these are great. The artists’ statements are right by their work, so everyone can know what we’re all about, both as a group and as an individual artist.”


Catherine Benda of Houghton with three paintings, (from left) “We Were Too,” “My Bounty,” and “Compote.” She has been painting for more than 30 years. Catherine Benda of Houghton with three paintings, (from left) “We Were Too,” “My Bounty,” and “Compote.” She has been painting for more than 30 years. Mr. Leipski also credited Mr. Rice for graciousness and the hard work.

“He built all of these pedestals,” Mr. Leipski said. “The person who was supposed to make them apparently backed out at the last minute, so Philip took it on himself. He was very professional and takes a genuine interest in showcases.”

Ann Russ and Diana Magnuson founded the collective four years ago, after another group of nearly nine years dissolved. According to Ms. Russ, the artists in the former group were heading in different directions.

She knows the key to the Sensoria Collective’s success lies in its dynamic.

“Everyone is dedicated to supporting each other as artists,” she said. “The level of trust in the group makes it possible for honest critiques.”

Ms. Magnuson agreed, saying this group is more organized than the previous one.

“All of the artists are ambitious and professional,” she said. “We love to talk about each other’s art without feelings getting in the way.”

Multi-media artist Kristine Granger showcased both photography and videography at the exhibit. She loves experimenting with varied media, including Super 8 film and instillation art.

“I can never stick to a singular medium, because that’s not where the focus is for me. The focus is on the feeling,” she said. “I look at which medium can best get across the sensorial. I think about how sounds, objects, and images can help you reflect on that subject.”

One piece, “Organ Grinder,” got a visceral reaction from audience members. The video consisted of Ms. Granger using her grandmother’s meat grinder to break down the organs of livestock. She smiles as she turns the crank, vintage organ music playing with each revolution.

Ms. Granger’s grandmother, who, in her lifetime adopted several children and fostered at least 40 more, was the inspiration behind “Organ Grinder.” Ms. Ganger remembers that her grandmother would make as much as she could out of little and says those efforts could not have been easy on her.

“I really wanted to show how you can push yourself through this difficult task with a smile, but at the same time, it’s still grinding your insides,” she said. “I had to work so hard to find my place and my voice, and this was my way of giving this voice.”

The Sensoria Artist Collective Exhibit will be available for viewing in the Mission Point Theater until August 6.

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