(Crystal A. Proxmire, Nov. 24, 2016)
Ferndale, MI – “What I love about Sanda’s work is that she makes everything flow, so it makes you look and see different things. Some people might see flowers. Someone else might see butterflies. Or maybe its petals cast onto the wind. People see it differently,” said Luke MacGilvray as he looked at one of Sanda Cook’s paintings at the opening of their joint exhibit at Level One in Ferndale last week. “We were just talking about art last night, and saying ‘What is the intent?’ The intent is to allow the viewer to create their own intent.”
MacGilvray and Cook met at an art show at The Scarab Club nearly two years ago. “We were just a perfect match,” MacGilvray said. “It wasn’t until I met Sanda that I got into doing abstracts. She is such a prolific painter, and her work is so beautiful.”
Hers are mainly abstracts with bright happy colors and images bursting with love, and a bit of impressionistic paintings as well. His are a blend of comic-book like forms transitioning into abstract, with slightly darker themes than his partner’s.
Cook was born in Romania, where she took art lessons before coming to the United States in 2005. She said the United States is a good country to explore. “I think there is more community, compassion, understanding of each other. Here they accept all races and all human beings.”
Her optimistic outlook shows in her paintings, and in her personality as she makes everyone she meets feel welcomed. “I want to have positive energy. I like to feel happy. So I want to empower people with colors, and happy feelings,” she said. “Life always has something good.”
In addition to doing her own art, Cook teaches a class of four students. “It feels good to see them put together their work. I teach them what I know, but then they make it their own expressions.”
MacGilvray credited another artistic couple for inspiring his success. A class he took at Oakland Community College taught by Don Mendleson helped him understand the basics of art and composition. “It gave me the tools and language to talk about art,” MacGilvray said. “Like you may work on a painting and you start int he middle and work outward, and when you’re done it looks mostly right, but something seems off. With taking the class I can understand and explain what is off.” He said that it was Lina Mendleson at College for Creative Studies that helped him understand paint and colors better. “You could see my color palate explode when I came to CCS. Like before I might just use white to lighten a color or black to darken it. But there is so much more to learn about how the different colors work together and so many techniques you can use. People don’t really think about it. Especially with the abstracts. People say ‘Well my kid could do that,’ or ‘I could do that,’ or ‘My dog could do that.’ But it would look like it if they did. An artist that takes the time to learn about colors and techniques, the quality is there in their work, the way it helps people open up.
Cook and MacGilvray collaborated on a painting for the “New Abstractions” show. “It was fun. It shows how our personalities come together,” Cook said.
The exhibit is on display in the front space of Level One Bank at 22635 Woodward Ave, Ferndale, MI 48220 and will run through Dec. 19.