Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Art · Glenn Wolff‘s Midwest...
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Glenn Wolff‘s Midwest Twilight: Local Phenom brings out his Fine Art Side at Dennos Show

Robert Downes - December 12th, 2002
If there‘s any doubt that artist Glenn Wolff rates as one of the most creative forces in Northern Michigan, it will surely be laid to rest by his new exhibit, “Midwest Twilight,“ opening at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City this weekend.
Wolff, a nationally-renowned illustrator of some 20 books, and for publications such as the New York Times, Sports Illustrated and Audubon magazine, has singlehandedly defined the rustic, woodland ethos of Northern Michigan in the nation‘s consciousness over the past 15 years. His pen-and-ink drawings and watercolors capture the region‘s streams, lakes, forests and wildlife in the same spirit as Hemingway‘s early novels. If ever there was an artist who could claim the honor of laying the keystone for a Northern Michigan school of art along the same lines as the art celebrating the pueblos, desert scenes and wildlife of the American Southwest, then it is surely Glenn Wolff.
And although illustration provides Wolff‘s bread and butter as a career, he is also noted for his work as a musician, playing stand-up bass on half a dozen albums with some of Northern Michigan‘s most acclaimed artists, including Don Julin and Ron Getz. Currently, Wolff is a member of the new Neptune Quartet -- our region‘s answer to such avant garde, nationally-touring acts as the Kronos Quartet or the Turtle Island String Quartet. The Neptune Quartet is currently packing Poppycock‘s restaurant in downtown Traverse City on weekend nights, ripsawing the air with breadcutter string patterns that ring with a dense, crisp texture and power. It‘s string music on a knife‘s edge with a hammer swinging down swift and hard behind. The band performs in concert with Blue Dog this March at the Dennos, with the possibility of a national tour this summer.

But if your experience with Wolff‘s art has been strictly his illustration, or of observing the quiet guy at the back of the band, then his “Midwest Twilight“ show will come as a surprise.
In this exhibit of 14-16 paintings, Wolff presents the fine art side of his creativity, which veers from his commercial work to offer a sense of personal vision.
“I sort of see this whole show as a meditation on the Midwest,“ he says. “You can ask, is it the Midwest as night falls, or are we experiencing the twilight of the Midwest with the growth of urban sprawl and shopping malls? The images here are things you see less and less.“
One such image, “Perfect Dorsal Moment,“ is that of a Michigan Grayling -- a Great Lakes fish which is now extinct. Painted in acrylics on an old piece of tongue-and-groove wood, the body of the magical fish reflects the stars and a sense of passing away.
A number of Wolff‘s paintings are on barn wood or rough surfaces from local farms. A portrait of a horse, for instance, was painted on an old barn door which still has the runners attached at the top. Another whimsical piece, “How the Midwest Was Won,“ is painted on corrugated metal and includes an attached ice fishing tip-up rig. Wolff includes meaningful passages of text in his portraits of his daughters, Lillie and Sarah, and blends metallic inks with natural objects, such as twigs and leaves embedded in his art.
“I spent a lot of time haunting Odem‘s (a home salvage company in Traverse City) for reusable material to work on,“ Wolff says. The rough old, once-familiar materials of the past lend an authentic midwestern feel to the artwork.

Although Wolff has been employed as an illustrator for the past 20 years or so and earned a degree in fine art from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1975, it has only been in the last five years or so that he began turning more to fine art as a form of expression.
His paintings are currently represented at the Tamarack Gallery in Leelanau County. His work is also available at a gallery in Santa Fe, and has been exhibited in a show in Minneapolis. His original work sells for $1,200 - $4,800.
Dennos Museum Curator Gene Jenneman was in Minneapolis to see Wolff‘s exhibition last spring, and the two got to talking about a show at the Traverse City museum. Wolff says he‘s especially pleased with the local attention, because it reminds him of the culture of Europe, where small town museums showcase local artists.
As part of the exhibit, which runs through March 9, Wolff led a workshop of 25 participants to create a Watershed Suite collaborative work of art over Thanksgiving week. The work will be auctioned off during the course of the exhibition, with funds going to support the Watershed Suite Project, which introduces local students to an appreciation of conservation through the arts.
Beyond its midwestern theme, Wolff says his show is “inspired by the state of imperfect clarity that exists between daylight and darkness, including meditations on family, landscape, creatures, and sky...“ See for yourself at Dennos Museum Center this winter.
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