James May Gallery Artists Inspired by Lake Michigan, 2016 Election

James May Gallery opens their 2018 season of exhibits Jan. 5, 5:30 – 8 pm with a trio of artists. The artists are Jodi Hays, Lesley Wamsley and Craig Grabhorn.

Inspired by place, and how one finds value in material objects as heirloom or product of tradition, Grabhorn works to develop a nostalgic perspective via photographic studies, screen prints, ceramic, and woven works. He wrote, “For nearly the past year I have been working on a photo project, ‘50 over 50 Atmos’ a daily meditation from the same locations capturing the ever changing colors and atmosphere of Lake Michigan. Photography provides me a way to explore ideas of place that affects my prints and paintings, through this practice find an intimacy, respect for, and sense of place with where I am.”

“Trophy” by Lesley Wamsley.

Wamsley’s series of drawings titled Likable were created during the historic and volatile 2016 Presidential Election. She writes in her artist statement, “The imagery speaks to a particular aspect of female worth: likability. The election demonstrated unequivocally our cultural demand that women be perceived as likable. More important than education, strength, and experience, the campaign proved that the socially acceptable woman is, above all, agreeable. What I find most interesting about this sexist belief is my internalized willingness to meet its expectations. The drawings reflect this conflicted desire. They articulate a cycle that involves attention, approval and objectification. It is a brutal experience that exists under the guise of beauty.

“Tropes like hair, ribbons and flowers describe a feminine archetype of purity, innocence and congeniality. The drawings strive to be pretty, they want to be liked; but there is a disquieting overtone. The objects that I draw are associated with the body and it is their separation from it that suggests violence.”

“Ache” by Jodi Hays.

Hays’s eclectic, abstract work is “drawn from soundbites, pattern and the built environment/grid.” She further said of her work, “Through my work I address the nature of representation through process (surface, space, color, gesture) and image (grid, screens, flags), usually parallel to titles. The paintings become ways I demarcate physical and psychological borders. They are missteps, tryouts, attempts and earnest repairs – the aesthetics of the brokedown.”

For more information about this or future exhibits visit

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