It’s playtime at a museum exhibition

Reviewer: Janet Martineau

Venue: Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum

Wait a minute.

Was that a windshield wiper included on a wall sculpture hanging in a museum exhibit?

Thinking so because the  42 x 11 x 4-inch  piece is titled “On My Way Home.”


Which is my way of saying, run immediately to view an exhibition titled “Color Play,” on exhibit  though Aug. 31 at the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University.

Admission is free, so what do you have to lose.

And if you open your mind,  you can experience a plethora of enchanting and captivating, colorful and playful abstracts showcasing the crazy creativity of one woman.

Just shut your mind out to the world and shut your cell phone off and become a kid again in a whimsical adventure.

The artist is Nanci LaBret  Einstein, who lives in Bloomfield Hills.

And no words and certainly the pictures included here do justice to the 3D visuals and other pieces  in person. She does freestanding sculpture, wall sculpture, photography, mixed media, drawings.

Collectively her works include paint, various woods, colored pencil, watercolor, glass, beads, plastic pieces, computer parts and circuit boards, bread wrapper ties, dowel rods, hearing aid batteries, Styrofoam, spools, cardboard, wire, flooring, rubber, bottle tops, cork, pins, metal pieces, photos.

Her largest free standing piece ever, at 92 x 90 x 9 inches, is titled “The Landscape” and is, she says, a mosaic of earth, sky, seas and man-made  elements. It took a year to complete.

A couple of wall sculptures address her frustration at the unrest in the Middle East  In contrast is “Manistee,” at 50 x 26 x 4 inches celebrating a trip up north to a friend’s place where it was calm and peaceful and the world held at bay.

Gotta love “Diva,” at 29 x 33 x 9 inches inspired by opera soprano Kathleen Battle performing at the Detroit Orchestra Hall.

And   “The Library,” freestanding at 27 x 75 x 12 inches is, indeed, library shelves filled with all kinds of detailed nooks and crannies interior spaces to explore with your eyes.

As for the photography collages, some of the pictures were taken by Nanci herself and others by her husband —  florals,  tomatoes, roof tiles  juxtaposed with landscapes. Our favorite is the layered  “Once Upon a Bonnieux,” inspired by a trip to southern France.

Her squiggly drawings, we were told,  is her way of  just letting her mind, her subconscious, take over as she puts pen  to paper.  Maybe something we should all try.

But we would also like to suggest you skip reading the titles and comment postings included  in  the show and  just enjoy them for their color, texture, form, creativity, playfulness and use of  materials. Who really care what they are “about.” Make up your own stories.

As for Einstein, she has quite the career in graphic design images for various projects ranging from T-shirts to mugs, product packaging, licensed characters, and creating new products for companies like children’s aprons and kitchen sets, net washer bags and wallpaper.

Her list of exhibitions is long.

Fredericks Sculpture Museum hours are 11am  to 5pm  Monday through Saturday. It it handicapped accessible with free parking near its entrance.

Share this Review