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Call to Artists

We are looking for artists to submit work for our 2018 Open Competition. Any Michigan artist over the age of 18 may participate. All submissions must be postmarked by May 25th. First prize is $600!! Please see prospectus for more details.

Open Competition 2018
Show Dates: August 2 - October 4

This exhibition showcases and celebrates Michigan artists and promotes the resources of the University of Michigan-Dearborn to diverse audiences. The competition is open to all media and artistic styles.

Download 2018 Prospectus  

Current Exhibition

Watercolor, Expression, Application: Rocco Pisto Paintings

April 26 - July 13

About the Artist

Rocco Pisto earned a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from Eastern Michigan University in 1974. He is the current President of the Michigan Watercolor Society. Rocco has been a painter for over four decades.

The remarkable collection of work presented in this show will range from abstract, mixed media watercolor paintings to somewhat impressionistic landscapes. The exhibited paintings will vary in size from 15"x13" to eight feet long. The artist experiments with the flow of his brush strokes, following the direction of the drying process as the piece evolves into multiple layers of imagination and design.

Watercolor seems to me to be a bit of a dying art form in current mainstream painting circles, and in academic notions of respectable art. I have always felt, however, it is a medium that can compete with any other painting technique in creating exciting, powerful and dramatic artistic statements. This solo exhibition, including over forty watercolor and mixed media paintings, will illustrate many unique properties of transparent watercolor and design concepts that can only work with this medium.

As a painter for over forty years, I never tire of the experimental process of starting a piece and solving the design problems along the way to make it a finished work. Spontaneity, discovery, individuality, analysis, visual balance, contrast and contradiction all summarize my thought process. I find that no two paintings are the same, and I cannot paint the same thing twice. My technique of painting abstractly by dripping, pouring, splashing and brushing paint allows the work to evolve until it meets my criteria of what constitutes a successful piece of art. The adrenaline of marking pristine, white Arches Watercolor paper with paint is a euphoric process that never loses its newness or interest. ---Rocco Pisto

Purple Rain Dance #125 by Rocco Pisto

Rocco's painting/drawing demonstrates ambition in scale and an experimental spirit for what various media can offer in each of their idiosyncratic characteristics. Those individual qualities collude and contrast to symphonically entice both the artist and viewer. In scale, it commands attention. I urge all artists to work in a monumental scale at least once a year regardless of your medium. It pulls your image full circle. It is an exercise in control, an amplification of your expressive vocabulary, a vehicle for challenging the power potential of your given language. Mr. Pisto here has created a song of the nuances of varied surface qualities. Those surfaces are lush, velvety and both aggressive and subtle. ---Bruce Winslow, Former Director of the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art

Exhibition Events

Opening Reception
Thursday, April 26, 2018 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Rocco Pisto will speak at 6:00 p.m. Event is free to the public. Complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres provided.

Night fire by Rocco Pisto

#157 Back Splash #1 by Rocco Pisto

Blue Cloud Cover by Rocco Pisto

Cobalt Green #58 by Rocco Pisto


The Alfred Berkowitz Gallery is located on the third floor of the Mardigian Library at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. For further information, see below for contact information. Anyone requiring accommodations under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact (313)-593-5087.

Bill and Electra Stamelos

Electra was a remarkably gifted painter and Bill was an avid photographer. The couple loved to travel, and they acquired artwork from all over the world for their collection. Bill and Electra contributed greatly to the university's art collection for decades including donating the majority of Electra's body of work and many other art pieces that they collected throughout their years together. The couple also contributed a sizeable, and very generous, gift which, along with the support of other donors, will allow for the creation of the new Stamelos Gallery.

Bill and Electra Stamelos

Featured University Art Collection Piece

Featured collection glass artwork

Soft Cylinder, Dale Chihuly (b. 1941), blown glass, 1984.
Gift of Edward C. and Mary Ellen Wall, Collection of UM-Dearborn (2009.024),
Photograph by Kip Kriigel

Highly esteemed American glass artist Dale Chihuly (b. 1941) is widely acknowledged for his role in promoting the recognition of studio glass as a fine art form. With this work, Chihuly returned to his “pick-up drawing” technique used previously in his Basket series. This time, Chihuly and his team used shard drawings to obtain more colorful compositions and intricate design patterns. The process begins with blowing a bubble and breaking it into shards. Glass threads are fused to the shard pieces with a torch in designs reflecting Navajo Blanket patterns. The detailed shard piece is then surrounded by additional glass threads and laid out on a steel table called a marver. A molten glass form on a blowpipe is then rolled over the shards and threads fusing the pieces together to form the end result, a Soft Cylinder.

---Laura Cotton, Art Curator and Gallery Manager

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