Embracing: 40 years of Friendship and Art
June 4-7, 2014
Artists: Nora Chapa Mendoza, Barbara Barefield & Spencer Barefield IV
Lawrence Street Gallery, 22620 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, MI, 48220
Opening reception: Friday, June 6, 2014, 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Live music and refreshments.
Peter Psarianos will be performing on the Oud with Dylan McKee on percussion and Anthony DiMambro will be performing on classical guitar with Pete Richardson on the flute
Nora Chapa Mendoza, a world-acclaimed Chicana artist whose works have been exhibited and collected internationally, has been mentoring, teaching and inspiring artists of all ages for decades. Now in her eighties, she shows no signs of slowing down, and continues to create innovative and expressive paintings and multi-media works. A two-year member of the Lawrence Street Gallery (LSG), her new works are always displayed there, and she has had a number of exhibits where she was the featured artist. LSG — an artist-run cooperative gallery with a 27-year-old history — ambitiously opens a new exhibit each month. For June's exhibit Mendoza invited the Barefield artists — mom and son — to show with her.
Barbara Barefield and Mendoza have been friends for some four decades, and Mendoza has known Spencer Barefield IV since he was a baby. When it became apparent at an early age that he had a special passion and talent for art, she had a doors open invitation for him to paint and play in her art studio. There he spent many joyous hours under her mentorship. Now, at age 26, he has great appreciation for the skills she shared. He and his mom both feel honored to be included in this show, where music and friendship are themes for many of the pieces.
Nora Chapa Mendoza
A highly respected Chicana artist, Nora Chapa Mendoza was born in Texas in 1932, near the Mexican border, and studied at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit. Mendoza was a recipient of the Michigan Governor's Arts Award, which named her Artist of the Year in 1999, as well as the recipient of the Wayne County Cultural Council Artist Award in 2011. She also served on the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs for a decade.
Mendoza's work is owned by such notables as singer Aretha Franklin; actor Edward James Olmos; Dennis Archer, former mayor of Detroit; Jack Smith, former president of General Motors; Cesar Chavez; Fidel Castro; and Gilberto Cardenas, the second largest collector of Chicano art. Her work is a part of many important collections across the United States, including the headquarters of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan and General Motors corporate offices in Detroit and the Ford offices in New York's Rockefeller Plaza. Mendoza is also part of the national archives of the University of Notre Dame. Some of her international highlights are an exhibit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt and three exhibits in Cuba, among many others around the world.
A book of Nora Mendoza's paintings, entitled "My Life Through My Paintings," will also be available for purchase.
On the path to following her artistic passions, Barbara Weinberg Barefield took a detour. Painting and ceramic sculpture were squeezed between raising her beloved children (violinist Jannina Barefield Norpoth and artist Spencer Barefield IV); graphic design; photography; producing jazz, classical and world music concerts with her husband, jazz guitarist A. Spencer Barefield; and promoting her adopted city Detroit, her Palmer Park area neighborhood, and numerous peace and social justice organizations.
The former New Yorker is now coming full-circle, refocusing her energy to once again place the creation of art in the center of her life. Her exhibit at the Lawrence Street Gallery will draw upon images shot over a 40-year period of many acclaimed local and international stars of jazz, classical and world music. She will also show her ceramic artwork, all hand-built pieces.
Barefield's photography has been widely exhibited, and published in her book "Jazz Space Detroit" (supported by a grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts). Her photos have appeared in many publications, includingThe New York Times, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, MetroTimes, LA Times, People magazine, and others. Her ceramic art was included in juried shows at the Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum, and at the MCAA Michigan Ceramics 2012 at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center. A graduate of the University of Michigan College of Architecture and Design, Barefield is the former Art Director for the Detroit Free Press Sunday Magazine Detroit, and for the United Auto Workers Solidarity magazine.
When her hands are not in clay, or working a camera, Barefield is the co-producer of Palmer Woods Music in Homes with her husband Spencer, and is a board member and events chair for People for Palmer Park.
Spencer Barefield IV
A. Spencer Barefield IV grew up surrounded by art and music. He fell in love with clay at the early age of 4-years-old, when he accompanied his mother Barbara to Pewabic Pottery, where she worked as a studio assistant. At that time, he created a small bowl for the Empty Bowls Project, which encouraged artists of all ages to create bowls and use them at fundraising events to serve soup. Proceeds were then donated to feed those in need. Spencer's bowl was sent to the White House for a special exhibit about Empty Bowls.
As a teenager, one of his bowls was displayed in the Empty Bowl's exhibit at the Swords into Plowshares Peace Gallery. The seeds were planted, and he continued to study at Pewabic Pottery, where he learned how to throw on the potter's wheel. He studied art at the Roeper School, and for a short time at Cass Tech, where he won top awards from the Detroit Tigers (his first place artwork was printed on the baseball team's annual holiday card); and from the national Coca Cola "Art in Harmony" competition (where his work was displayed at the Wright Museum of African American History). He has been a featured artist at Elegance By Design in Ferndale, and his work has been included in student-staff exhibits at Pewabic Pottery. He currently studies at the outstanding ceramic studio at Oakland Community College. He also has been mentored in painting by Nora Chapa Mendoza, Stephen Goodfellow, and James Spearman.
His drawings, paintings and computer artwork reflect a personal style that is quite extraordinary and tell surreal and intimate stories.