On a Quest with Sanda Cook

"Soul Retrieval" (2014) by Sanda Cook.

“Soul Retrieval” (2014) by Sanda Cook.

About an hour into the “Quest 4 Visions” opening, red dots sprinkled the collection of Sanda Cook at the Pittman-Puckett Gallery in Ferndale. “Starscape” grabbed my attention instantly on the eastern wall but I wanted to follow the hypnotic effect of her work in numerical order. I also didn’t want to interrupt her interview with Steve Lloyd so I started with the western wall.

Allusions to graffiti and collaging felt most prominent in “Protection” but light and layering bound together Cook’s engagement with experiences of emotional and astrological sorts. “Soul Retrieval” was a gripping example of how curiously she characterized her observations of people. Variations of human shapes and landscapes left little room to inaccurately predict the success of the Romanian artist’s exhibit.

"Galleon" (2014) by Sanda Cook.

“Galleon” (2014) by Sanda Cook.

The western wall hosted larger pieces of equally expressive magnitude. “Galleon” delivered solemn emotions where red slashes forged a macabre naval craft. “Love Letter” entertained issues of distraction and clarity when unveiling a message of value. Perhaps for this reason, it resembled the troublesome fuzziness of images of dated televisions when their antennas were improperly coordinated.

In the midst of observing “Cosmos” I met Skip Davis and photographer/potter Rose Lewandowski who appreciated a co-design I donned by Randal Jacobs. Before and after years of neglecting her imaginative self for the sake of motherhood, honing her craft in pottery and image making came with a natural purity. She met Cook at a show in March of 2014 and they have since fueled each other’s creative fervor. After flipping through a few pages of Lewandowski’s portfolio, Cook greeted me with jubilance and I held no restriction of praising her visual assortment but focused particular attention to “Starscape.”

"Starscape" (2014) by Sanda Cook.

“Starscape” (2014) by Sanda Cook.

The image was already sold by the time we stood in front of it but I learned the starry sky came to life with an unintended but perfect speckling of paint. As we moved to the smaller pieces on the western wall, she introduced me to painter Jon McCahill whose work I recognized from a summer show at Whitdel Arts. We spoke of academic and self-taught approaches in finding one’s voice then quickly realized similarities in our processes of making art.

Steve Lloyd interviewing Sanda Cook for her opening at Pittman-Puckett Gallery.

Steve Lloyd interviewing Sanda Cook for her opening at Pittman-Puckett Gallery.

As the night continued, a bit of dancing broke out before Linda and Don Mendelson arrived and Lewandowski returned to snapping photographs and sharing her portfolio. As we carried on, it was indisputable how Sanda Cook’s fascination with human contact and universal forces influenced immense livelihood. This was even more evident in her interactions with everyone whom she graciously thanked for basking in the ambience of her cosmic love.

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Bad Habits of Lee and Lacey at 17

Subsidize by Jay Oscar Lee at Gallery 17.

Subsidize by Jay Oscar Lee at Gallery 17.

As a gangrenous yet gorgeous Beetlejuice walked the opposite direction of Gallery 17, Jay Oscar Lee indulged an inclination for nicotine. The scene was a befitting first impression for Bad Habits, an experience at the gallery for which original pieces were crafted by Lee and Brian Lacey.

Both artists accomplished cycles at Red Bull House of Art and study at CCS but possess distinct journeys of honing talents. Lee chose from three dimensions to contribute to the highly celebrated 2013 Actual Size Biennial at Whitdel Arts and detroit contemporary. Lacey completed murals in Brooklyn and Detroit, contributed Lobby to Imago Mundi’s Biennale of 2013 and whipped up new advertising with four artists for Sierra Mist.

The collaborative energy transferred swimmingly to the collection for Bad Habits. Congregative moments took place in curious spaces while spectators moved from the independently and jointly painted statements. Subsidize by Lee and I Ran Contra by Lee and Lacey held several people’s attentions in the southeastern corner of the gallery. SorbetDenial and Denial pt. II heightened senses near the entrance but sparked the resemblance of a group tendency to plant itself within reach of libations.

Basking in the ambience of Gallery 17.

Basking in the ambience of Gallery 17.

With or without a beverage, steady traffic bore witness to visual stimulation by the dynamic duo and audio satisfaction from Justin Ngelhart. As the opening carried on, so too did a fashion show, traditional African drum experience as well as loads of makeup, muscle and masquerading in customary Russell fashion.

DIFFA Weekend in Detroit

Along a silent auction wall at Friday's ArtWorks Detroit by DIFFA.

Along a silent auction wall at Friday’s ArtWorks Detroit by DIFFA.

Vast ceilings and glass walls made the interior of the Federal Reserve Building feel like it was taken from a swanky gathering scene in Batman: The Animated Series when DIFFA’s Fifth Annual DINING BY DESIGN served luxury in design, art and cuisine. The expanse of vision from board members to staff held in groovy energy the main attraction of conceptual fascinations supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS and the work of Michigan AIDS Coalition.

To the right of the entrance, guests weaved through the silent auction placing bids and eating up visual spreads from artists like Deborah Kashdan, whose flair I’d first acquainted myself with at the Whitdel Arts at a summer show. To the left, buyers slowly filled the live auction arena where image-makers donated work to Friday’s ArtWorks Detroit.

Behind the live auction a wide passageway offered an assortment of cheese and quenching signature cocktails by Patrón, which lead to the dining exhibition spaces. In the monstrous display arena, some of the striking contributions for DINING BY DESIGN are included below but do not fully encompass the scope of excellence for the dinner gala.

DDF and Melinda Anderson were presented by bronze sponsor Event Source.

DDF and Melinda Anderson were presented by bronze sponsor Event Source.

Emerald City Design, David McKnight, Liz Sheriden and Alicia O’Reilly were presented by silver sponsor Dana Holding Corporation.

Emerald City Design, David McKnight, Liz Sheriden and Alicia O’Reilly were presented by silver sponsor Dana Holding Corporation.

Planterra Corporation was presented by platinum sponsors Hour Detroit and Detroit Home.

Planterra Corporation was presented by platinum sponsors Hour Detroit and Detroit Home.

Dpop! gleamed with support from presenting sponsor Quicken Loans.

Dpop! gleamed with support from presenting sponsor Quicken Loans.

It was impossible not to hover in front of arrangements or fail to appreciate each bulb of light and napkin fold. Magical it was to witness some great humanitarian strides as the community anticipated more atmospheres to eat with the forthcoming DLECTRICITY and Detroit Design Festival.