THIRD THURSDAY: Saffell Gardner & Charlene Uresy: Abstractions

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M. Saffell Gardner - Artist’s Bio
M. Saffell Gardner holds BFA and MFA degrees in painting from Wayne State University. A master painter, mixed media artist, muralist, performance artist, printmaker, art historian, curator, lecturer and educator, he has taught at private colleges and community colleges. Mr. Gardner is the recipient of a Regional Artists Project Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and has participated in arts mentoring programs in local public schools. Mr. Gardner was invited to participate in “The Venice Biennale 2013” as a part of the Benetton Collection. Mr. Gardner was selected as a semi-finalist, in the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series competition in Detroit. Saffell co-curated “Vision in a Cornfield” for the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. In 2000, Mr. Gardner was selected as the Chivas Regal Artist in
Residence at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, during which time he developed a solo art exhibit entitled “Recent Memory”. A commissioned painting “Door of No Return” is in the museum’s permanent collection as a result of the residency. Also, Saffell’s paintings are in the collection of Dr. Robert Perkins, Dr. Alex Pickens Jr. Recent commissions include a painted receptacle for Detroit’s “Pretty City” project as well as major commissions for the City of Detroit and the Detroit Public Schools. Mr. Gardner’s work is in the permanent collection of The Henry Ford Hospital, Blue Cross Blue Shield, DMC, Total Healthcare, The Federal Reserve Chicago, Cobo Center in Detroit, Cass Technical High School, Renaissance High School and Southeastern High School and Detroit School of the Arts. He has exhibited throughout the United States, Jamaica, Brazil and Ghana, Africa.

M. Saffell Gardner - Artist Statement
My father once told me that when I painted I put part of my spirit into that artwork. Although now, my work encompasses multi-media elements, I believe this is still true. The visionary and improvisational element of my work is truly from my spirit. It is abstract, influenced by Afro-Futurism, Abstract Expressionism and Color Field Painting. Color is spontaneous in it’s brightness or lesser brilliance as to how I feel. I have created several concurrent and overlapping series of paintings over the last several years using dry pigment mixed in with chemical formulas and applied to canvas, paper and wood. I have experimented with video to create a moving space through imagery and overlaying several digital images creating space and projecting those images. The expressive motion revealed in my work shows where the
ancestors come in, the way they made James Brown, Michael Jackson, express themselves in movement.

The ancestors play a big part of my experience as an artist. To open my mind I listen to R & B and avant - garde jazz musicians such as Sun Ra, Anthony Braxton, David Murray and Ornette Coleman. Listening to jazz music in my studio helps me to connect with creative energy. The creative energy I am speaking of is when you are alone in your studio for eight hours or more. The creative mind takes over and you make work that you had not planned on making. Being able to accept the aloneness in your space allows you to accept the pure creative vision. The overall alone-ness in your space allows you to connect and accept your creative mind, and that has some element of fear. The fear that I speak of is that of the creative person being driven relentlessly and not knowing if they will be accepted, on any level, or by anyone.


Charlene Uresy- Artist's Bio: All of her life, African-Cuban-American artist Charlene Uresy, has been inspired and impelled by colors, shapes, music and food.  These basic elements are fundamental to her art and approach to life.  Her painted furniture reflects her traditionalist approach to art.  For over twenty years, the simplicity of traditional art has driven her creativity.  Enjoy her work.  It's the product of a dynamic artist,a skilled photographer, a sensitive person, who employs traditional elements of a culture to bring new meaning and enjoyment to today's world.