Even after getting accustomed to the small scale of Ann Mikolowski's portraits at CCS, the mini landscape drawings in pen, pencil and watercolor on paper in a related exhibition at Paul Kotula Projects are a jolt to the eye. Though Mikolowski's landscapes are mostly large and contemporary in style, they recall precious 19th century style the work of well-off women who carried sketch books with them on their travels. Think of stitchery.
There is, in fact, an actual sketch book on display at Kotula, the pages of which are about six by eight inches. But the 26 oval images float daintily in each page's center, some protected by Victorian-era mattes. These miniature landscapes are a travelogue, with scenes from places as disparate as Quebec, Maine and Texas. The rocky coastlines and rugged mountains are the focus of Mikolowski's interest.
In a grouping of ink drawings, with a technique like Paul Signac's pointillism, Mikolowski presents the peacefulness of water, skies and trees. "Arboretum" depicts a darkish path through woods; the graceful trees that line it clash with their frilly branches. Sky very nearly replicates sea in "Untitled, Wisconsin," a rare pencil drawing.
There's a set of five wonderfully delicate watercolors displayed, all done by Mikolowski on July 18, 1997, each similar in that 19th century style and rather "girly," as opposed to the severity of the black-and-white drawings. The colors in these violets, greens and pink are from an Impressionist palette. Yummy enough to eat.
Ann Mikolowski: Works on Paper runs through April 21 at Paul Kotula Projects, 23255 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3020.
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