Cars and Canvas: Two-Person Exhibition is the Debut of an Unconventional Venue

The Halloween opening coordinated by Kathleen Harrigan was a welcome relief to the paucity of local art events. The two-person show featured paintings by Harrigan and Lori Wisner.

Paintings by Kathleen Harrigan

Wisner’s contributions to the show are colorful poured paintings. The process involves strategic puddling of thinned acrylic paint onto a support, sometimes with additional manipulation achieved by tilting the canvas, dragging implements through the pigment, or using a hair dryer to push the paint.  The result is a hybrid of poured and marbleized effects. Kat’s work can be described as lowbrow ironic surrealism–typically featuring pinstriping and hot rod culture motifs, painted on lustrous backgrounds.

Kathleen, aka Kit Kat von Bitch, has been nationally recognized for her art and custom pinstriping. In addition to being the proprietor of Cascade Sign Studio, she has a background that links her to two industries important to the region: furniture production and automobiles.  Kat started her career embellishing furniture for Kindel, and has been hand-lettering and detailing vehicles for three decades.

It’s always a treat to see Kit Kat, but what I hadn’t anticipated was how much I’d enjoy talking to the well-seasoned ambassadors of custom car culture who were present for the event, including Dean Arnold, owner of Dino’s Rod and Customs.

Harrigan plans to use the space as a venue in the future.  She’s open to making the space available to guest curators and artists whose work resonates with Kustom Kulture.  The space has limited accessibility outside of the opening events, but that’s pretty standard for independent galleries and ad hoc exhibition spaces. Dino’s Rod and Customs Grand Rapids showroom is an industrial building, which serves as Harrigan’s workspace, on 44th Street near the Gerald R. Ford airport.

Paintings by Lori Wisner
Detail of a Custom Car at Dino’s Rod and Customs

by Tamara Fox

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