Two artists focus on their truth at Muskegon Community College art display, part of AHfest

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PHOTO #1: A brief peek at the artists’ interplay: Beerhorst’s is on the left, Marashi’s on the right

– PHOTOS BY CYNTHIA PRICE

PHOTO #2: Brenda Beerhorst’s “Untitled (#172); PHOTO #3: Two works by Cathy Marashi: the painting on the left is “Mountainside,” and the sculptural piece is “Found Object Figure.”


By Cynthia Price

“Truth” is a difficult concept to use when describing visual art – actually any art at all. The common understanding of the term, which is certainly a hot topic of the times, is something along the lines of “factual,” but that is not helpful when talking about the deeply felt creation of art.

However, both the artists in the Truth exhibit at Muskegon Community College, Brenda Beerhorst and Cathy Marashi, have something to say about it.

“Truth on the canvas, for me, is being true to who you really are, true to what brings you joy or makes you feel like your voice within is coming out,” says Beerhorst. “I love color and pattern – that’s my joy, so I think that’s part of me expressing truth – in a way that maybe other people can’t.”

And Marashi observes, “I think the show and both of our artworks are in keeping with the idea of ‘truth.’ We both create abstracts that come from deep within that can be translated by the viewer. We have our truth. Each viewer has their truth.”

The exhibition, at the college’s Overbrook Theater on the Quarterline campus, is part of AhFest (Arts and Humanities), an amazing collaboration where organizations come together every year under one theme to celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month.

In his essay for AhFest, Foley Schuler (of Blue Lake Radio) wrestles with the idea of Truth in the arts. He writes,“Our belief in it (even when it takes the form of disbelief) lies at the heart of the entire Western intellectual tradition and serves as its very foundation.” He concludes that nothing has shaken our sense that truth is “divine”?and ends with Picasso, “defining all art as ‘the lie that tells the truth.’”

As part of the AhFest roster of events (for more see www.

ahfest.org), Beerhorst and Marashi presented at a reception Thursday night (Oct. 4), where each touched on her sense of the truth.

Beerhorst is a North Muskegon native who now lives in Grand Rapids. She has only in the past few years returned to painting, after a long period of hooking rugs with folk-arts-like “primitive” visuals as her artistic expression. Beerhorst is represented by LaFontsee Gallery.

Also a Grand Rapids resident, Marashi was the Assistant Director of Galleries and Collections at Grand Valley State University. She now devotes herself to her art full-time.

The artists agree that their works go very well together. Though they don’t know each other well, the show came about because they both appeared in a Women Create  exhibition last year, catching the eye of Patricia Opel, who co-curates at MCC with Tim Norris.

“Our work, though different, isis very complementary and compatible,” says Marashi, while Beerhorst adds,”I really like the way the art by the two of us works together.”

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