KCC to feature innovative “Memorial Collaborations” mixed-media exhibit by Marshall artist, former KCC professor Pete Williams this fall

Kellogg Community College will showcase nearly 40 innovative mixed-media works by Marshall artist and former KCC art professor Pete Williams posthumously honoring family members and friends from the area in a new exhibit on campus this fall. 

Williams’ exhibit, titled “Memorial Collaborations,” will run from Oct. 30 through Dec. 7 in the KCC Davidson Visual and Performing Arts Center’s Eleanor R. and Robert A. DeVries Gallery, on campus at 450 North Ave. in Battle Creek.  

The exhibit is free and open to the public during regular gallery business hours, which are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and Fridays and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays. 

An exhibit lecture and opening reception – also free and open to the public – will be held with the artist on Thursday, Nov. 2, in the gallery and adjacent Davidson Auditorium. The exhibit lecture, part of the College’s continuing DeVries Lecture Series, will be held from 4 to 5:15 p.m. and the reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. 

In an artist’s statement, Williams said the concept for “Memorial Collaborations” was to create a new series of mixed-media works with each piece including collage material originally belonging to a deceased family member or friend. Some of the resulting pieces are specifically dedicated to one “posthumous collaborator,” he said, while others include artifacts that connect to multiple people. 

“Items incorporated into the artworks were either acquired directly while my symbolic allies were still alive, or else materials were generously given to me later by their surviving loved ones, knowing I might eventually use them in my art,” Williams said.  

Once the series was underway, Williams found himself naturally “having internal conversations with all these amazing individuals I was honored to have known.”   

“Despite the show’s heavy memento mori theme, this artistic dialogue with make collaborators resulted in many visual puns and inside-jokes being included in the pieces that I hope the deceased honorees would have appreciated,” he said.  

Beyond honoring friends and family members, many pieces in the exhibit also my stylistic references to well-known Modern and Postmodern masters Williams admires. These influences are indicated on text panels accompanying the exhibit, near bios of each of Williams’ main “memorial collaborators.” 

These collaborators, many from Calhoun County and elsewhere in southwest Michigan, include, among others: 

  • Doris Ballard (1921-2020)  
  • Myron “Mike” Ballard (1917-2003)  
  • Philip Carey (1942-2021)  
  • “Cowboy” Paul Edwards (1955-2019)  
  • Kenneth “Ken” McCosh (1937-2013)  
  • George “Ed” Scott (1958-2022)  
  • Timothy “Tim” Sykora (1958- 2014)  
  • Gayland Spaulding (1947-2022)  
  • Katherine “Katie” Williams (1918-2009)  

After beginning his art career studying painting, Williams has spent the past 40 years mainly producing collage, mixed-media sculpture and ceramics. He considers his approach Post-Pop, influenced by the Pop Art movement of the 1960s and the offshoots that resulted from that style.    

Since receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University in 1989, Williams’ work has been featured in more than 10 solo exhibitions and he has participated in numerous small-group shows in multiple states across the country.   

Williams and his wife Jan started Spicer Arts, LLC in 1998, a fine art and pottery business located at their home studio in Marshall. In addition to creating his own art, Williams was a full-time art professor at Kellogg Community College from 1992 to 2021 and is currently an adjunct instructor at KCC teaching art history courses online.   

For more information about the exhibit or other KCC arts events and initiatives, contact KCC’s Arts and Communication Office at 269-965-4126. 

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