Dowagiac artist featured at Buchanan Art Gallery

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, February 20, 2019

BUCHANAN — Two artists with unique views of the world around them are opening their first solo shows at the Buchanan Art Center this week. Artists Kandy Grady and Steve Roll will have their artwork up through late March at the center.

The opening reception for the new shows will be hosted from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 3 at the art center located at 117 W. Front St. The center is open six days a week and offers art galleries, a gift shop and a full slate of classes for all ages.

The reception will also feature the unveiling of the center’s new logo at 3 p.m., center executive director Danielle Welborn said. She noted that the new logo by South Bend artist Karen Nemes was chosen after a recent public competition and will be on display in the Hess Library for a few days after the reception.

An exhibit of artwork by students in the Berrien Springs Home School Partnership will be on display in the Hess Library from March 9-27. The reception for that exhibit is set for 2 to 4 p.m. March 17.

Dowagiac native Kandy Grady’s mixed media collage paintings are on display in the center’s Showplace Gallery through March 24 in an exhibit entitled “Simply Faith.” Visitors will gain a new perspective on Bible stories and parables through Grady’s artwork.

Characters and scenes depicted in her work include Moses and the parting of the Red Sea, David and Goliath, Jesus, Madonna and child, the Lord’s Supper and the archangel Michael.

“I want to give people a feeling of remembrance, of simpler times and the Bible stories they learned as children,” she said.

Many will know Grady from her public art ventures in the Dowagiac area as well as the Culturfx Art Gallery she and her boyfriend, Jeff Andres, opened on Commercial Street at Thanksgiving. She also has her own studio in the Mud-Luscious building on South Front Street.

“This is my first solo exhibit anywhere,” she said. “I’m really excited. I’ve participated in a lot of different shows around the area but have never had a solo show.”

While Grady said she got her first art award back when she was in kindergarten and drew an apple tree, she really did not do a lot with art until college. She took classes at Southwestern Michigan College, where she studied under David Baker. She went back to art in the last five years after she left her job for medical reasons.

“My heart just sings that I’m able to do art again,” she said.

She is especially excited about this new solo show as she is able to share her love of art along with her faith.

“I have blank faces on the people I depict,” she said. “I want them to be anonymous. I want everyone to be able to relate to the stories I depict. I want them to think about God and Jesus in a loving way but not overwhelm them.”

Although their art is completely different, Grady does have some things in common with Steve Roll, the artist whose works are on display in the Roti Roti Gallery. Both like to work with found objects and use mixed media and both call Dowagiac home for their art galleries.

Roll is a Marcellus resident and will be opening his “Art Found” gallery on Front Street in May. He is hoping to have a soft opening in early May and a grand opening over Memorial Day weekend. The gallery will feature not only his artwork, but provide booth space for other area artists.

A Chicago area native, his ties to southwest Michigan go back to his college days when he attended Western Michigan University and played hockey and found his love of art.

“None of my family are artists. I don’t know where my interest in art comes from,” he said.

Roll ended up going back to work in his family building material business but had a summer home in Marcellus for many years. He and his wife moved there permanently after their retirement more than a decade ago.

“My love of art stayed with me, but I never had time to do it while I was working,” he said. “I now have 100 pieces I’ve done the last 10 years.”

This exhibit, which runs through March 30, shows off the mixed media assemblage artwork he has created since his retirement including several wall pieces and freestanding sculptures. He describes his style as “rural Dada” with its whimsical combination of found objects he’s repurposed.

He enjoys the “thrill of the hunt” and finds items at thrift shops, estate sales, antique malls, flea markets and farm auctions.

“Recovering the under-loved and unappreciated is half the fun,” Roll said. “My work involves melding the more primitive life of the 19th Century with a modern aesthetic.”

His piece entitled “Lac du Flambeau Drifthead at Marquette Auto Parts Chair” gives people a glimpse of his creativity. He found a piece of driftwood and then combined it with hood ornaments, springs, tubing, fans and other car parts a man brought him from his closed store to make the chair.

“This is what I’m all about. I want to repurpose things,” he said.