- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Plenty of work entered in ArtPrize has lingered in Grand Rapids after the close of the annual exhibition and $560,000 competition.

Two prize-winning murals by Tracey Van Duinen, entered in ArtPrize 2009 and 2011, can be found downtown on the sides of the buildings at Grand Rapids Children’s Museum and WMCAT respectively.

“Nessie on the Grand,” an ArtPrize 2010 entry, floats in the pond in John Ball Park near the John Ball Zoo.

ArtPrize 2014 artist Kevin Sudeith anticipates his work will remain in Grand Rapids, after the close of the sixth annual urban exhibition, for many, many years.

How many?

“Thousands,” he told The Grand Rapids Press ( https://bit.ly/ZeO4P1 ).

Sudeith practices the oldest and longest-lasting art form of all, carving petroglyphs in rock.

The Brooklyn-based artist has been in Grand Rapids since August, carving images of lake sturgeon and salmon into boulders along the west bank of the Grand River near the Grand Rapids Public Museum

“The ancient petroglyphs have lasted thousands of years, and they’re on much softer stone,” he said.

Sudeith is working with Michigan fieldstone, carving life-size fish into boulders averaging 3,000 pounds each.

“All of the fish I’m carving are found in the Grand River, around Grand Rapids, around this time,” he said. “The fish in the river seem like a good meter of what’s going on.”

Ancient artists worked with hammer and chisel, but Sudeith has small diamond saws and angle grinders at his disposal, which makes it possible to carve in granite.

“I take the mechanical advantage when I can,” he said. “The fins on the fish can be more dramatic when I carve with a small saw.”

“It takes a long time as it is,” said Sudeith, whose work has been highlighted in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the art blog Hyperallergic.

In addition to the carved stone, Sudeith creates a unique form of printmaking by painting the stone and impressing wet paper or pulp onto the carving, which transfers the paint to the paper while the paper is embossed in relief.

Working six days a week since the first of August, beginning with chalk drawings on boulders brought to the site, Sudeith at first left passersby puzzled.

“They didn’t know what to make of it,” he said.

Now that many of the images making up “Grand River Fish Petroglyph” have been finished, it’s easier to see what the Minnesota native has been up to.

He expects he’ll be at it until the opening of ArtPrize 2014 on Sept. 24. But his work will remain long after the Oct. 12 close of ArtPrize.

“It’ll be a permanent document of this moment in Grand Rapids,” he said.


Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, https://www.mlive.com/grand-rapids

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