the small details
A Two-Person Exhibition with Amy Sacksteder and Brenda Singletary

June 23 - July 29, 2022
Institute for the Humanities Gallery, 202 S. Thayer
M-F 9am-5pm
Special Hours during the Ann Arbor Art Fair: July 21, 22, 23, 10am-6pm

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Opening Reception with curator Amanda Krugliak in conversation with the artists.
June 23, 6-8pm 
Institute for the Humanities Gallery, 202 S. Thayer

free and open to the public

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Where is the proof…
What traces tell the story?

Amy Sacksteder invents futurescapes, hybrid visions of the natural and man-made world. Like a dystopian botanist, she investigates organic and synthetic forms, leaves as well as styrofoam. The artist often cuts out swatches from her earlier paintings and prints to create new works, in a constant state of recycling. Sacksteder incorporates precious metals, foraged clay or found objects in her compositions. She is focused on the possibilities of new combinations, informed by what changes in the process.

The works are visual conundrums, shifting our perceptions of space and value, surface and what lies beneath, where the painting ends and objects begin, a looping of reality and how we had imagined things being.

Brenda Singletary’s paintings and assemblages are personal excavations, wanderings, digs, ancestral memories, and affirmations. The artist embraces experimentation, painting on plastic wrapped over canvas, folding cement into the mix. More recently, she has added old family photographs into her abstractions, grappling with different ways to honor stories. Words and pictures scrawled on the canvas feel like messages, signals or notations from the artist.
The paintings are conversations, a back and forth, a human exchange continuing from one painting to another.

Singletary’s more sculptural works are equally authentic and expressive, combining fabric, paint, paper, found materials, along with chicken wire. The exuberant assemblages echo the craft traditions of African American artists in the South during the mid-century and into the present.

Artists Amy Sacksteder and Brenda Singletary are both visual storytellers, exploring their relationships to place and time through the contemplation of objects and raw materials within the context and the process of painting. Although disparate in their methods and aesthetic choices, there is a surprising connection in their deep commitment to the particulars, in all the small details more than “the big picture”…the idiosyncrasies and incidentals that give meaning, resonance, and renewal to their own visual languages, and artistic practices ongoing.

–Amanda Krugliak, curator

The small details was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as part of the Institute for the Humanities Gallery High Stakes Art Initiative. This two-person exhibition opportunity intends to offer support and further exposure specifically for regional contemporary artists.


Amy Sacksteder’s work explores personal and collective relationships to landscape and artifact. She works across media, most commonly in painting, collage, drawing, cut paper, installation, and ceramics. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, most recently at Ortega y Gasset Projects (Brooklyn, NY); Buckham Gallery (Flint, MI); Divisible Projects (Dayton, OH); IBIS Contemporary (New Orleans, LA); BasBlue via Belle Isle Viewing Room (Detroit); and Contemporary Art Matters Gallery (Artsy and NY). Sacksteder has completed artist residencies at SÍM (Reykjavík, Iceland) and Takt (Berlin, Germany), among others. In 2012 she was awarded a Gallery-as-Studio Residency and solo exhibition at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her work has been featured and reviewed in journals such as The Offing, Flint Magazine, and New American Paintings and is included in the curated online registries of The Drawing Center and White Columns, and the Flat File 2022 Program at Ortega y Gasset. In 2021, she was invited to join the Long Island City Studio Collective in New York. She is now represented by IBIS Contemporary in New Orleans. Sacksteder works from her studios in Michigan and New York, and is a professor in the School of Art + Design at Eastern Michigan University.

Brenda Singletary’s work ranges from figurative and abstract to floral and landscapes. Her original mixed media works are paintings on canvas and paper. She also works in constructed sculptural paintings. Singletary received her BA from Morris Brown College and an MFA-IA from Goddard College. She served two years as a panel judge for the President’s Commission on White House Fellows, and artwork is a part of the White House art collection. She continues her work with the White House Fellows creating art for their fund raising projects and as an invited speaker in their education program. Singletary’s work has been shown in various galleries and museums internationally. Corporations such as AT&T, Marriott, and Kaiser-Permanente include her work in their collection. Her numerous awards and grants include the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Cultural Awards, The Detroit Fine Arts Cultural Award, American Express Cultural Arts Award, Golden Sable Award from the United Negro College Fund, The Arts Commission Merit Award (Toledo, OH), and the Daimler-Chrysler Motion through Expression Art Competition Award. Originally from Detroit, Singletary currently resides in Toledo, Ohio.