“Shannon Eakins + Marc Dombrosky: Loose Ends” in Southwestern Michigan College’s Art Gallery through Nov. 26 provides a glimpse into their fondness for found art forged in the crucible of Las Vegas spectacle.
New works by the married couple in room 108 of the Dale A. Lyons Building on SMC’s Dowagiac campus is a “disaggregation” of traditional fall faculty art exhibits, which led with September’s Bill Rothwell retirement retrospective.
Loose Ends “features new works from faculty members exploring shared trajectories, radical departures and open questions about their processes.”
Since Eakins’ “It’s F.I.N.E.,” a reference to a 1989 Aerosmith song, is a large purple-and-yellow installation incorporating 2,000 feet of paracord macramé, levels, lighting, an industrial fan, a fog machine and hardware, this exhibition also features a friendship bracelet exchange. Guests are encouraged to make a friendship bracelet with materials provided and, upon completion, swap theirs for one from the gallery’s inventory.
“Filling the gallery with light and smoke is kind of obnoxious,” she said. “It’s difficult to show your work next to mine because it takes over that space. It calls to you when you walk into the room and doesn’t let you ignore it.
“Cozying electronic components with macramé is incredibly time-consuming, which is the connection with Marc and me and this friendship bracelet exchange table. The knotting process is meditative. I love to use my hands to make things, but sometimes labor doesn’t communicate as well as just a gesture. Marc taught me that with his simple, poetic work. It attracts you while it repels you with smoke. It’s full of confusion, with potential to reinvent itself in its next incarnation. I hope it’s an example to students to keep going, to keep coming to class.”
Dombrosky, Visual and Performing Arts Department chairman, holds a bachelor’s degree in painting from the University of Florida and a master’s degree from Ohio State.
“I have been purposely evasive, as Shannon knows, about describing why” he created the untitled, floor-hugging, front-gallery assemblage of Kalamazoo glass stringers and dried sassafras leaves.
“This exhibition comes at a weird time for us with a lot of personal challenges in the last year. I think this sort of captures that tension, but I won’t say much more,” Dombrosky said.
“Ring” is hand-knotted embroidery floss, a safety pin and an “Antenna” service piece designed by Martin Kastner/Crucial Detail for Alinea, the renowned Chicago restaurant with three-star Michelin status.
“In the back room,” he said, “two works utilize a collection of bone china teacups collected by my grandmother. They were the only thing my dad gave me from my grandmother after she passed away. They arrived intact from Florida except for the one” repaired with spearmint chewing gum from the Lyons Building vending machine.
“Eyeballs on top of the plastic sheeting on top of the cups and saucers are hand-felted, which Shannon taught me,” Dombrosky said. “She also taught me to make friendship bracelets.”
Faculty work continues Feb. 3-27 with “Lea Bult + Janice Kimball: Two Exhibitions” and Rothwell’s graphic design successor, Sam Walker, next fall. Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Gallery exhibits are open to the public at no charge.