John Dempsey, American, born 1950. GMAC - Delco, Flint, 2022. Watercolor. Courtesy of the artist EXL_Dempsey_20

Fabrication in Transit

October 14, 2023 - January 7, 2024

Graphics Gallery

Fabrication in Transit features works on paper by John Dempsey that celebrate and chronicle our shared industrial environments. The exhibition consists of work in a variety of media, from a series of ink drawings dating from the early 1980s, to an extended series of more recent watercolors, as well as mixed-media work fabricated in Mott Community College’s FabLab. Dempsey’s interest in industrial architecture is rooted in personal history as well as in formal aesthetics. A work permit allowed him to hire into numerous factories in Detroit while attending middle school and high school. And although his main studio interest became focused on large-scale, contemporary, landscape paintings he has also produced work for over forty years featuring industrial interiors such as those designed by Albert Kahn and Associates.

Dempsey received his BFA from Michigan State University and an MFA from Central Washington University. He also studied art at Wayne State and Arizona State. Born in Detroit, he lived and maintained a studio in downtown Flint for over 25 years. John retired from Mott Community College’s art department in 2016 and then taught drawing, part-time, at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit until moving his painting studio to Hillsborough, North Carolina in 2019.

Click here to visit John Dempsey’s website

Related Programming:

Artist Talk  

Nov 9 | 6p | FIA Theater | Landscape Painting and Memory and Q&A 

John Dempsey will discuss his attempt to create a visual equivalent of our experience of place in his contemporary landscape paintings and discuss the works in his exhibition. The talk will be followed by a Q&A with the audience. To submit questions for the Q&A please email This event is free and open to the public.

Let’s Talk Shop 

November 10 | 6p | Factory Two (129 N Grand Traverse St, Flint, Michigan) 

Dempsey invites community members to share short personal accounts of poignant, humorous or emotional stories, challenges, accounts of friendships, and memories about their experience from their time working in the ‘shop’ at Buick City or AC/Delco here in Flint. This event will take place during Art Walk on Friday, November 10th at Factory Two, Flint’s Makers Space and former factory of the Dort Motor Car Company. This event is free and open to the public.

From the Exhibition

  • John Dempsey, American, born 1950. Factory Ceiling, Buick City, #1, n.d. Watercolor. 20 x 27 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist. EXL_Dempsey_15

  • John Dempsey, American, born 1950. Barn Loft with Church Interior, 1999. Etching, 19 3/4 x 13 in. Courtesy of the artist. EXL_Dempsey_13