BY: BROOKELYNN RUGGIRELLO, Student Life Editor
The Alfred Berkowitz Gallery held a public reception on Saturday, Sept. 18 from 5-7 p.m. to present a new exhibition titled “A True Impact: Celebrating the Stamelos Legacy.” The exhibition will be on display until Jan. 18, 2016.
According to a press release issued by the Berkowitz Gallery, “this exhibition honors the significant contributions to the university by William and Electra Stamelos over the last thirty-five years.” The gallery showcases original works by Electra as well as pieces donated to the university by the couple.
The press release also shared information about the lives of the Stamelos couple, their relationship with UM-Dearborn and the nature of Electra’s artistry.
“Electra Stamelos (1927-2008) was a beloved UM-Dearborn art lecturer from 1980 to 1994 and an accomplished artist. She held the position of Director of Art Acquisitions and Exhibitions for UM-Dearborn for many years and also taught on the Ann Arbor campus. Bill is a long-time generous donor and gallery volunteer, acting as honorary curator for a period of time. Electra and Bill 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.”
“Bill, a native Detroiter, met Electra while stationed in the army in Virginia. They were married in 1953 and moved to the Detroit area soon after. Electra earned her B.F.A. from Wayne State University and her M.F.A. from Eastern Michigan University. She also studied at the Corcoran Museum School and the National Art School in Washington D.C. and the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit.”
“Electra was highly allergic to oil paint and used only acrylic and watercolor. She preferred to paint only during nighttime hours. Deriving inspiration mostly from the natural world, she planted and took care of a glorious garden which Bill photographed. His light-filled images of the garden were a significant inspiration for many of Electra’s pieces. She also painted portraits of loved ones, favorite places and even celebrated the unlikely beauty of complicated assemblages of ordinary objects like the buttons, thimbles, drink umbrellas and spools of thread jumbled together on her work table.”
“Continually challenging herself, Electra experimented with new techniques for communicating what she saw, felt and imagined. She moved effortlessly between abstract and representational imagery, dissecting many of her compositions into smaller views with varying perspectives. Electra described her work as figurative abstraction with many levels of interpretation, and she often filled every inch of the canvas. She had a talent for light and color and often painted from two trays of forty-eight colors each, using paint made by three different manufacturers for each color.”
“Electra’s artwork has been exhibited throughout the United States for decades and has won numerous awards. It has been acquired by a large number of private and public art collections across the country.”
The Alfred Berkowitz Gallery is located on the 3rd floor of the Mardigian Library. It is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. during exhibitions. For more information about “A True Impact: Celebrating the Stamelos Legacy,” visit http://umdearborn.edu/berkowitz/.