What’s in a shadow? What resides in that space between light and dark that eludes our understanding? Author William Sharpe notes that the nothingness of shadows arises because of our lack of ability to “grasp them in the practical sense:” “Unthinkingly we notice, evaluate and decipher the meaning of shadows” — unconsciously we use them, to locate, to detect motion, to sense danger. In art the cast shadow often becomes the metaphoric location of utterance, a silent place upon which meaning can reside, either plausible or imaginative, mythical or real (Sharpe 1). Sharpe asserts, “Shadows are a vital source of cognitive and aesthetic richness, one of the key ingredients in our perceptual, intellectual and emotional lives” (7).

This exhibition considers the shadow as a space of stillness and motion, silence and sound, a place where the invisible comes to light, where secrets dwell but also reveal themselves. Artists Renee Dooley, Mary Fortuna, Scott Northrup and Gary Schwartz each uniquely interpret the shadow theme: Fortuna’s Birch Bark figures call to mind shadow creatures who haunt the night like Goblins, Spooks and Will-o-the-Wisps; Dooley’s handmade dolls conjure those times when we catch something in our peripheral vision and the stories that hide in the movement there between dark and light. Northrup’s multi-media works regard our innermost selves, the place where memory, love, loss and desire secretly harbor; Schwartz’s animated film expresses the mystery and intrigue that lures us similarly into that shadowy world.



Scott Northrup

Scott Northrup is a Detroit-based interdisciplinary artist, writer, curator, and educator. He has exhibited with museums, galleries, film and design festivals, and alternative spaces in the US, Canada, and Finland. He holds an MA in Media Studies from The New School (’03) and a BFA in Fine Arts from College for Creative Studies (‘92), where he currently teaches filmmaking and multidisciplinary studios.

“I am most-interested in the feelings that we secretly harbor for one another, the ephemerality of love, lust, loss, and desire, and the artifacts that we pin them to. I make mixed- and multimedia works that sample popular culture and personal history, functioning as altars, character studies, love letters, self-portraits, and zines. The zine format might be the ideal vehicle for my work as they feel special, or at least intimate, while remaining common, cheap, vernacular.”

Gary Schwartz

Gary Schwartz is an Academy Award nominated filmmaker, animator, director, artist & educator. He received an Academy Award nomination for ‘ANIMUS’ in 1983. He teaches intensive hands-on animation workshops throughout the world. With his company, Single Frame Films, Gary has produced, designed & directed animation for Disney, Sesame Street, MTV, Fox Television, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and others. He is currently lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design.