Margaret Parker: "Shirts & Skins"
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Margaret Parker's "Shirts and Skins" at Reflection Gallery, November 2 to 27

HANCOCK, MI - The Finlandia University Reflection Gallery, Hancock, will host a sculpture and installation exhibit, "Shirts and Skins," by artist Margaret Parker, November 2 to November 27, 2011.

An opening reception for the artist will take place at the Reflecton Gallery Thursday, November 3, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served.

Parker will also conduct a public workshop while she is on campus, working with students and community members to create a second installation in a first floor lounge at Finlandia Hall, the university's residence hall on Summit Street.

The drop-in workshop, sponsored by the Finlandia Campus Enrichment Committee, will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, November 1 and November 2, on both days from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

To make this installation activity possible, the Reflection Gallery needs t-shirts ... lots of t-shirts ... in any condition. Drop-off locations are in Finlandia Hall, Room 211, and at the Jutila Center campus. Shirts must be dropped off by November 1, or workshop participants can bring them the day of the first workshop.

Parker's Reflection Gallery space installation will reference the form of a human torso. The Finlandia Hall installation will create an archway.

The Finlandia Hall community installation will also be on display through November 27.

An installation can be defined as a site-specific, three-dimensional work designed to transform the perception of a space, says Reflection Gallery director, Finlandia Art & Design student Shaela Morin.

Parker's primary installation medium is the t-shirt, which she cuts, then weaves, to create her installation piece, Morin says. In her installations, Parker explores contemporary issues while also seeking to illustrate connections between 'the personal and political, the historic and the spiritual.

"Margaret Parker strives to portray life as we live it today," Morin notes. "Her installation will not only by eye-catching, it will be socially relevant."

"Since 9/11, I've been exploring what it means to be human in a global age, and what kind of space can help us create an understanding of global humanity," Parker writes in her artist statement. "What consumes me when I make art is how to express these themes that are so complex and so pressing. If art is not attempting to engage these themes, it is not reflecting our deepest lives."

According to Parker, "Perfection in art doesn't really interest me, I'm more interested in something that reaches for what's hard to say, something more rough and more human. T-shirts have given me a way to show how individuals have been utterly altered by two wars in the Mideast and the era of terrorism."

Viewer participation is very important to Parker's intent. She explains, "Once the viewer sees the piece is made from a T-shirt, they must figure out how it was taken apart. I'm very interested in that spatial reasoning because it pulls the viewer backwards into the creative process, making an image that reverberates in the memory."

Parker has a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Michigan School of Art, Ann Arbor. She has created sculptures and art installations in Michigan, New York, and Maine. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is included in the collections of the United States Capitol, the State Department Art Bank, the Maine Maritime Academy, University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School, Chelsea Medical Center, and many private collections. Visit Parker's website at www.margaretparkerstudio.com.

Parker helped found Art Pro Tem, a community-based non-profit organization established in 2004 that sponsors experimental art in non-traditional spaces. She is a founding member of the Women's Caucus for Art, Michigan Chapter; a member of the Arts Alliance of Washtenaw County; and has served on the City of Ann Arbor Public Art Commission since 2004, chairing the commission from 2006 to 2010.

The Reflection Gallery is located on the second level of Finlandia's Jutila Center campus, 200 Michigan St., Hancock.

For additional information, please contact Yueh-mei Cheng, professor of studio arts, at 906-487-7375 or e-mail FinlandiaReflectionGallery@gmail.com.

Photo cutlines:

"Wounded" Margaret Parker

"Abu Ghraib" Margaret Parker

"E Pluribus Unum" Margaret Parker

"Army Time" Margaret Parker