The exhibition “Still Listening” featuring new sculptures by Detroit artist Todd Erickson will open at the Hope College Kruizenga Art Museum, on Friday, May 31, with a reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The public is invited to both the exhibition and the reception.  Admission is free.

A graduate of Hope College and Cranbrook Academy of Art, Erickson has spent the past 36 years working in various teaching and administrative roles at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. His work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the state of Michigan.

“Still Listening” will showcase three new sculptures that Erickson created especially for the exhibition, along with 12 of his older works.  Past visitors to the Kruizenga Art Museum will already be familiar with one of Erickson’s pieces: “Ziibi Elpidos,” the sculpture that stands in front of the museum’s main entrance.

Erickson was a biology major and art minor at Hope, and his interests in sculpture and the natural environment continue to be carried forward in his career. Using tree branches collected while exploring the wilderness of the state of Michigan, he assembles organic-looking but carefully composed sculptures. The sculptures are cut into pieces to make molds using sand, ceramic shell, rubber and plaster.  Erickson then casts the pieces in bronze and welds the pieces back together to recreate the original wooden sculpture.

“His casting and welding techniques are masterful, and he is able to preserve all of the textures and subtle details of the branches in the finished metal sculptures,” said Charles Mason, who is the director and Margaret Feldmann Kruizenga Curator of the Kruizenga Art Museum.

Combining nature and artifice, specificity and universality, Erickon’s sculptures are paradoxical.  The sculptures can evoke a variety of responses from the viewer when considered from different angles, sometimes seeming energetic and dynamic, and at other times feeling calm and still.  “[Erickson’s sculptures] intersect with several grand traditions of modern art, including plein air painting, land art and found-object assemblage art,” Mason said, “but most of all they reflect an artist who is still humbly listening to what the world has to tell him and teach him.”

“Still Listening” was organized by the Kruizenga Art Museum and Erickson, who is loaning the sculptures for the exhibition. Erickson is represented commercially by the Robert Kidd Gallery in Birmingham, Michigan.

The exhibition will run through Saturday, Aug. 3.  Public visiting hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Please check the museum’s website  or social media for additional information about special programs and events related to “Still Listening.”

The museum functions as an educational resource for Hope College and the greater West Michigan community. The museum features two public galleries as well as a classroom and climate-controlled storage space for its 4,500-object permanent collection. It is named in honor of a leadership gift from Dr. Richard and the late Margaret Kruizenga of Holland, both of whom graduated from Hope in 1952.

The Kruizenga Art Museum is located at 271 Columbia Ave., between 10th and 13th streets.

Banner Image:
Ziibi Elpidos
Todd Erickson (American, b. 1959)
Commissioned by Leona M. and Jacob E Nyenhuis