Ludington Area Center for the Arts
Ludington Area Center for the Arts
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LACA to feature exhibit by Ann Arbor area artist Melanie Manos in March

Ann Arbor area artist Melanie Manos’ exhibit ‘Pillars of the Community’ will be featured in the performance hall lobby gallery at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts (LACA) March 3-31.

‘Pillars of the Community’ features a number of pieces created by Manos in recent years. In mixed-media drawings and sculptures, tiny figures climb giant birch and maple trees in a reversal of humans' perceived domination of nature. Hung scroll-like, the charcoal on vellum drawings suggest fragility in contrast to the solidity of the built environment. Performance-based video work offers an absurd take on war games, filmed in a New Hampshire forest with live audio accompaniment provided by a nearby target range.

In addition to Manos’ exhibit, she will host a presentation on her current project Visualizing Women’s Work (VWW) Wednesday evening, March 1 at 6 p.m. in the LACA performance hall. The presentation is FREE and those in attendance will receive a sneak peek of Manos' exhibit.

The VWW project investigates gender bias in public monuments, plaques, and other historical visual culture and posits that the erasure of women’s work both compensated/uncompensated and across identities and eras perpetuates cultural norms of gender inequality. The entire project is geared toward future crowd-sourced research, individual stories of women’s lives, and new ways of memorializing those stories away from the visual trope of the single figure atop a pedestal that presents a narrow definition of patriarchal heroism. Digital experiments include augmented reality, interactive mapping, and information design and materials-based research includes strategies for live performative events to expand the imaginary around history-based visual culture that would take place at existing monuments, sites of women’s labor, and at sites of proposed or “missing” monuments.

Manos is the Janie Paul Collegiate Lecturer, Lecturer IV, and Engagement Programs Coordinator at the University of Michigan Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. She works across disciplines including multi-media drawing and installation, video, and performance to highlight and lampoon the systemic norms that perpetuate inequality.

Manos won a Kresge Arts in Detroit Fellowship for Live Art, 2020, followed by a Knights Art Challenge Grant in 2021 for her project Visualizing Women’s Work. She’s a 2023 University of Michigan Public Arts & Engagement Fellow and her work will be featured in the U-M Arts Initiative Symposium, October 2023, Ann Arbor and Detroit.

Manos has performed and exhibited internationally including in England, Canada (Museum London), Belgium, and Japan (The Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art) as well as US venues including Zuckerman Museum, Atlanta; Spanish Kitchen, Los Angeles; and Simone DeSousa Gallery, Detroit.

Manos collaborates with Sarah Buckius as The ManosBuckius Cooperative (The MBC) focusing on labor and the human/technology interface. MBC videos have played in video/electronic festivals globally in over 22 countries, most recently in Nenagh, Ireland, for the town’s 800th anniversary. They presented their new work Re/She/De Code at the 2022 New Media Caucus Symposium “Future Bodies” at Virginia Tech.