Paintings,  sculptures bring smiles
The Art of Fun’
calls for humor in the details

Keri Guten Cohen,
Detroit Free Press, Sunday September 7th, 2003

What better way to start the fall art season than with a big dose of humor?
That's what Birmingham Artist Ron Pavsner thought when he proposed “The Art of Fun,” now at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center. Pavsner joined three other well-known local artists — Jim Pallas of Grosse Pointe, Jerome Ferretti of Detroit and Step
hen Goodfellow of Highland Park - for a romp.
 “The Art of Fun” is full of concepts and references that will make you smile.
Take,   for   in
stance,  Pavsner’s “Paint by Numbers" Expressionism.
The  P
ainting features an outlined portrait, with each
space numbered for easy painting; next to it is the finished piece, looking very much like a Francis Bacon portrait.  As if it were that easy.

Or how about Pallas’ talking bust of Vincent van Gogh? Set atop a sunflower-yellow pedestal is a likeness taken from van Gogh’s “Self-Portrait with Straw Hat.”
One ear is missing, but the other is open wide enough to receive monetary contributions, which prompt Dutch-accented responses about art and life.

Maybe you prefer the chuckle that comes from Goodfellow’s series of three paintings featuring a  man bending down to pick up his dog’s poop. The first is cartoon-like but realistic. The second is surrealistic in a Bosch-like way, featuring a dog on wheels with snakes for its head and a skeleton man with chicken features. A final panel completes the metamorphosis; now there’s a dog with a man’s face and a man with a dog’s face, still picking up poop.

Ferretti’s neo-primitive painting of an urban backyard barbecue is full of movement, energy and comical characters ready to party. One Cyclops-eyed woman may have had too much already. The fun is in the detail.

Though humor is a common de-nominator, each artist’s style is distinct.
Ferretti, using pastels effectively, plays with facial features, exaggerating hair, faces and especially eyes.
Pallas offers clever sculptural pieces. In one series, “Intellectual Power Tools,” his tongue-in-cheek pieces combine actual tools with office equipment to send a biting message as in “Bureaucratic Hatchet.” Another series transforms books into poignant and humorous floor sculpture.
Goodfellow’s precisely detailed, colorful paintings are done in “Primary Micropointillism,” his own method that uses yellow, blue and red paint combined with resistant blocks and water washes to create mini-splatters of brilliant colors in all hues.
For this show, Pavsner is showing mostly caricatures molded from hydrocal, a hard plaster, or fiberglass. Images of Andy Warhol and thin-faced women are embellished with hair, glasses, beads and more. The expressive pieces are part of clever conceptual plans, that parody, mock and pay tribute to art history and the world of art.

Though it’s definitely good for a laugh, the art in this show is serious in its execution and intent.

Through October 10th, 9 - 5p.m. Monday - Saturday
Reception: September Friday 12th, 6 - 8PM
 Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center
1516 S. Cranbrook Road,

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