By Mikayla Portee
Exhibit Dates: November 16 - December 15
Opening and Artist Talk: November 16 at 5 - 6:30 p.m.
Soft Spaces by Mikayla Portee
“I find it hard to be vulnerable. Embarrassed, I try to keep my body and my emotions
contained, neat and presentable. Despite my best efforts, my humanity always finds
a way to slip through the cracks, like water in tightly clasped hands. My map-like
imagery serves as a guide to the soft places, where my fragility lies. The rabbit
represents where feelings of anxiety and vulnerability meet. The rabbit, much like
me, is reluctant to show any form of weakness. They are notoriously cautious and reserved.
Being vulnerable is hard without an invitation, however my painting process creates
a space where I can express my thoughts and feelings without fear.”
Mikayla is an interdisciplinary artist who primarily focuses on drawing and painting.
Getting her pet rabbit 'Lou' ended up being a catalyst for her future work. As she
interacted and observed his behaviors, she found commonality in his fear of being
a vulnerable animal of prey. Her work touches on topics of identity, womanhood, anxiety,
and emotional intimacy. Mikayla currently resides in Grand Rapids Michigan and works
with Grand Rapids local artists and KCAD students and alumni to sell their work in
‘The Spark’ retail space on KCAD’s campus.
Exhibit Dates: January - February 2024
Tylonn J. Sawyer is an American multidisciplinary artist educator and curator. Trained
in figurative arts-based practices Sawyer’s work juxtaposes themes of identity–both
individual and collective–with investigations of race and history in popular culture.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Sawyer has been included in solo and group exhibitions
throughout the United States and abroad including the Venice Biennale, Italy; Texas
A & M University, Texas; The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, The Charles H. Wright
Museum of African American History, The Detroit Institute of Art, Michigan; Heron
Arts, San Francisco; Kravets/Wehby Gallery, Rush Arts & The New York Academy of Art,
New York, amongst others.
Sawyer holds an MFA in painting from the New York Academy of Art: Graduate School
of Figurative Art program and a Bachelor of BFA (drawing & painting) from Eastern
Michigan University. Sawyer currently lives and works in Detroit, Michigan, USA
Please contact us if you have a potential exhibition.
Contact: Carrie Weis, Gallery Director, 231-591-2536