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Posted: 06/26/13

NATURE'S NUANCES. Above, Anita Bates, an artist and teacher from the Detroit area, will feature her nature-based artwork at the Starkweather Arts Center from June 28 to Aug. 3. In addition, seven area artists that will be painting during the 2013 Garden Walk on July 13 will display their artwork in the gallery as well.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

SAC showcases nature-
inspired artwork in July

Observer Staff Writer

      Experience nature's textures and sights from a new perspective while appreciating local talent in the latest shows from the Starkweather Arts Center.
       Detroit-area artist Anita Bates will hold a solo exhibit, "Hypaethral," alongside the "2013 Garden Walk Artists Exhibition" featuring seven area artists. The shows will run simultaneously from June 28 to Aug. 3.
       Tracey Ladd, art director for the Starkweather Arts Center, said Bates will present abstract, mixed medium works inspired by nature.
       "It's very ethereal, it has a really beautiful feel to it," she said. "I love her work."
       Bates said the inspiration for her art originates in the textures of rock, bark and asphalt. Her work evolved to become hybrid landscapes that capture earth and water imagery.
       "They look like landscapes that would maybe be otherworldly," Bates said. "I think it just speaks to nature in general."
       Bates said she uses everything from ink, oils and acrylics to kitty litter and nature itself to achieve the desired looks.
       "When I was painting the series last year, anything that would fall into it," she said. "I left them outside and I would come and be amazed to see what found its way into my work."
       She has even used photos of her ancestors in the paintings, saying it added commentary about people who walked the lands her paintings portray.
       "The land will always be there, but the people and their spirits will come and go," she said.
       Bates has a bachelor of arts from Siena Heights University, a master of arts from Eastern Michigan University, a master of fine arts from Wayne State University and a certification in K-12 art education.
       She is an adjunct instructor at the Center for Creative Studies and teaches full-time at the Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies.
       "I think that I am an artist who educates," Bates said. "I love teaching and I think it's important for anyone who teaches art to practice as an artist to maintain their artistic selves."
       In addition to her artwork, Bates will feature an installation piece made up of little painted mirrors that hang on thin wires.
       While Bates' exhibit will be on the main floor of the gallery, Ladd said the second floor will be dedicated to seven artists from the Romeo Guild of Art participating in the 2013 Garden Walk on July 13.
       "It's really showing a glimpse into the artists who are going to be in the gardens painting that day," Ladd said.
       The Garden Walk is a tour of local gardens that serves as a fundraiser for the Friends of the Romeo District Library. The artists will be in the gardens creating artwork based on what they see.
       Evelyn Raiter is one of the seven featured artists that will be painting on July 13. She said the artists spend roughly three hours painting their scenes at the gardens.
       "You actually are seeing the real thing that you're painting," Raiter said. "You just learn so much more when you're there seeing it."
       The other guild artists include Sandy LaBaere, Christina Haylett, Linda Hodge, Robert Fionda, Bart Mauro and Sharon Will. Bates will be in Starkweather's garden to do a "plein air" piece as well.
       The Starkweather Arts Center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Call (586) 752-5700 for more information.

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