Keith Thompson’s exhibit, “Watermedia Expressions”, conveys Thompson’s lifelong love of drawing and Minnesota wildlife. Although he does not consider himself restricted to the title of wildlife painter, Thompson continuously revisits themes of family, travel, and wildlife to reflect his values. “Watermedia Expressions” showcases all of Thompson’s most recent works in watercolor, acrylic, and oils. Keith Thompson (Grand Rapids, MN) studied art at Itasca Community College, the University of Minnesota, and Bemidji State University. Thompson has been a contributing part of Itasca County’s art community since its origins.
Kimberly Benson describes her style of Dutch still life painting as a form of “chaos management.” Her works come alive with noticeable texture, vibrant color, and meaningful abstraction. In her own words, Benson states that she desires to create paintings that are visually overwhelming; that play with viewer’s understanding of space, form, and illusion. The exhibit “Rite of Spring” showcases paintings that are not only physically immense, but also tackle immense subjects such as mortality and trauma- some of the major concepts behind the genre of Dutch still life painting. Kimberly Benson (Minneapolis, MN) received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul, MN. Benson went on to University of Wisconsin-Madison to fulfill her Masters of Fine Arts. She graduated in 2015 and has since been participated in a myriad of solo and group shows, exhibiting her knowledge, talent, and love for this specific genre of painting.
Jonathan Thunder's show, "New Heroes of the Old World", explores themes of identity development and introspective exploration. He explains, “My work explores identity and internal dialogue through story and characters. I depict expressive characters whose emotions and thoughts manifest viscerally in their physical form. The bodies of my subjects often appear fragmented, animalistic, or partially obscured. My art acts as the scrapbook recording an evolving identity. Through my subjects, I can exaggerate the villains and heroes that make up my self-image or the worldview as seen through my lens. My cultural identity fuses with my identity as an urban dweller. These paintings are vignettes by nature, a glimpse at a moment in a story that neither begins nor ends on the canvas.” Jonathan Thunder (Duluth, MN) is a painter and digital media artist. He has attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Effects and Motion Graphics from the Art Institutes International Minnesota.
Little big Show
Featuring Jane Latimer | May 2018
The 2018 Little Big Show will showcase over 30 unique pieces, each under one square foot in size. Many local artists will be participating in this open exhibition, including artist Jane Latimer (Grand Rapids, MN) who has provided the following statement describing the inspiration behind her work: "I have always thought painting was like music. These are songs from the places that have moved me, expressed in paint and water. I like to think that I sing with paint and brush and paper."
Six McKnight Artists
The annual exhibition "SIX MCKNIGHT ARTISTS", features new work by 2016 McKnight Artist Fellowship recipients Nicolas Darcourt and Sheryl McRoberts, as well as 2015 McKnight Artist Residency for Ceramic Artists recipients Kathryn Finnerty, Lung-Chieh Lin, Helen Otterson, and Joseph Pintz. This exhibition, supported by the McKnight Foundation, showcases the success of each artist's fellowship or residency.
"Variations" by Natalia Himmirska, is a visual tour of the artist's history, travels, and non-linear personal growth over the past ten years. Natalia Himmirska (Bemidji, MN) was born in Moscow, Russia and and graduated with an MFA from Fine Art Faculty of the Moscow Technology Institute. Since receiving her degree she has taught in universities around the world, including Bulgaria and the United States. She later travelled to the U.S. to further her studies at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., and Maryland Institute College of Art. All the while, Himmirska has been mastering printmaking and oil painting through creating her own work. She writes, "This exhibition that I call Variations represents crossroads on that straight line of the creative impulse. In many ways, I continue to make new works that themes and concepts which stayed with me for decades."
"Threshold" conveys artist Andrew Nordin’s exploration of abstraction through the geographical and architectural theme of rural decay. Nordin describes the title of the show as representing the point in which a picture gives way to what is taken to be un-representable. In his own words, Nordin elaborates on how the etymology of the word "sublime" is key to understanding his collection of paintings. Paraphrasing from author and art critic James Elkins, Nordin says the word originally means “up to the threshold”. He writes, “This, to me, is the area of painting I am investigating, and with this project, illustrating: The sublime feeling when confronted with the stark nakedness of rural decay, and how it can translate into abstract painting."
In the exhibit "Comfort & Entanglement", ceramic artist Erin Paradis examines and remembers meaningful encounters she has with what she calls “seemingly ordinary structures, spaces, and objects” in her daily life. She writes, “I experience moments of clarity in those different encounters, moments of both stimulation and provocation. Through exploring the re-occurring forms, lines, shadows, patterns, materials, and compositions that I am attracted to, I am on a constant quest to replicate the sensations I experience."
John J. Kolb
"Over the Years: A 30-Year Career Retrospective" displays the experiences artist John Kolb has culminated throughout his personal and professional life as a painter. Kolb's exhibit demonstrates the endearing, intricate, haphazard nature of relationships and experiences gathered over the course of one's daily life. He writes, “My work represents the struggle to bring meaning from interaction of materials and processes...The work looks rapidly executed, but each action is carefully studied before completion. Only when every part aids in the purpose of expression is the work finished.”
Turning Tide showcases artist Jeffrey Hansen's latest textural, colorful abstract paintings. Hansen's work creates uniquely captivating imagery of abstraction that encompasses Abstract Expressionism and Color Field theories and applications. He describes his process of painting by writing, "I blend, liquefy, and texturize- applying many laters of paint; thus, transforming the paint into melty, airy, watery, textural, dreamy hints of nature. From nothing other than the colors that I have chosen, I create imagery that captures a blurry, paused-motion quality of something tangible.”
Kreft's solo exhibit conveys her belief that abstracting patterns is a process of transformation. She incorporates images of culture and nature found in her everyday experience by using inspiration from photos of both her diverse urban neighborhood and the natural landscape. These images become blueprints for her paintings. She writes, “My paintings evolve through multiple layers. Carefully painted lines are spread over an expressive and disjointed under painting to ensure a unified entity.”
Anderson's exhibited work features an interpretation of the roles that adaptation and optimism play in a species’ existence and evolution. These ideas are represented in functional, wool, felted rugs and hangings. She writes, "In the craft of feltmaking, my goals in were to create piecework that allows for more specific design and to make strong, sturdy pieces of functional felt. While some of the rugs tell the stories of species’ adaptations and hopeful survival, others focus on the positive outcomes of my own limitations and intentional attitude about moving forward with the work.”
"Birds!"is a collection of oil paintings by Duluth artist Becca Mulenburg. This exhibit showcases some of the birds that have drawn attention to her over the past few years. Each of the bird paintings stems from a personal experience, from a Yellow-rumped Warbler in Minnesota’s Glendalough State Park to a Western Willet on the Gulf of Mexico. Commonly focusing on individual birds versus flocks, Ms. Mulenburg brings the viewer in to see, perhaps, a little bit of personality in the wildlife that surrounds us every day.
As an artist, one of Scott West's main concerns lays in the expression of process through a layered narrative. He does this not only through painting in front of an audience, but showing process in the paintings themselves. As he builds up a piece, West leaves areas open to reveal what is underneath, acknowledging every layer of the painting. These acknowledged layers create their own narrative. They tell the story of the artist's journey through the work. Fragments of pencil lines, paint drips, and fields of under-painting are all visible in West's best work. He leaves a map to his entire process thus creating a narrative beyond the immediate subject.
Craig Clifford attempts to transform common objects so they become more than everyday forms and images. His process includes casting functional and found objects along with a three-dimensional collage technique to transform them into rich tableaus that use color and texture to alter the perception of space and draw the viewer into a complex experience.
Gordon Coons is a mixed-media artist who displayed his woodcut prints, vibrant duct-tape images, and Ojibwa woodland art style paintings. His show, Expressions of My Journey, was inspired by Ojibwa petroglyphs, images, and stories from birch bark scrolls. These paintings are sometimes described as x-ray vision. Artists paint their subjects with heavy black outlines and what is felt or perceived to be inside to represent a kind of spirit or source of power.
Cathy Durso investigates the circular and cyclical ideas that come to mind through various configurations of painted and stitched circles on canvas in her show, Satellites. Inspired by circles of all kinds—tiny (seeds, cells, grains of sand), enormous (planets, stars, galaxies), and intangible (the circle of life, the cycle of the seasons, the rhythm of a beating heart)—her work speaks to the interconnection between all things. Her process involves a contrast between loose, energetic painting techniques and slow, meticulous hand-sewing, which keeps her paintings balanced and compelling.
We Are all criminals
"We Are All Criminals" challenges society’s perception of what it means to be a criminal by turning the lens from the 1 in 4 people in the U.S. with a criminal record to the other 75% percent – those who have not been burdened with an official reminder of a past mistake. Participants tell stories of crimes they got away with. The participants are doctors and lawyers, social workers and students, retailers and retirees who consider how very different their lives could have been had they been caught. This exhibit was part of a collection of events taking place in the Grand Rapids area through the month of September 2017 that aimed to inspire empathy and ignite social change.
The Minnesota Gallery hosted a unique exhibit organized by MacRostie Art Center in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Individuals who are currently incarcerated and have taken art classes through the education program at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud were invited to submit works for exhibition.
25th Juried show
Juror: Marva Harms, August 2017
This annual event celebrates variety and rewards excellence among regional artists from Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota in both two- and three-dimensional categories. Marva Harms selected first, second, and third prize awards in the two- and three-dimensional categories and guests at the opening reception voted to select one artwork for the coveted Peoples’ Choice Award.
1st place 2D: Tom Page
2nd place 2D: Duane Barnhart
3rd place 2D: Leslie Barlow
1st place 3D: Mary Beth Magyer
2nd place 3D: Jeremy Jones
3rd place 3D: Laurie Borggreve
People's Choice: Becca Mulenburg
Honorary Mention 2D & 3D: Cindy Stitt
Exhibiting artists included: Leslie Barlow, Duane Barnhart, Bradley Benn, Kimberly Benson, Sandra Boreen, Laurie Borggreve, Nancy Stalnaker Bundy, Dawnette Davis, David Dobbs, Constantine Dorn, Anne-Marie Erickson, Tyler Evin, Kristin Grevich, Ralph E. Hanggi Jr., Chelsey Jo Johnson, Jeremy Jones, Kelli Lien, MaryBeth Magyar, Becca Mulenburg, Jennifer Nelson, Aaron Olsen-Reiners, Tom Page, Jenae Porter, Wesley Rabey, Dawn Rossbach, Sandy Schildt, Jeremy Simonson, Stephanie Stevens, Cindy Stitt, Richard Thouin, Christine Tierney, Brittany Trushin, John Ulrich, Liz White
Pictured: Leslie Barlow
The Pond Series
Marva Harms, August 2017
Marva Harms is a local artist and art educator who has taught art at in many school districts, art history at the college level and holds workshops in Minnesota, including her Floating Studio Workshops on Swan Lake. She has set out to capture her beloved view of the northeast corner of Swan Lake through 365 miniature paintings - one for each day of the year. So far she has completed 100 paintings. Come see her impressive progress!
"My oil paintings are created from life in the purest method of Impressionism. Color is everything. It is used to model form, dictate temperature and achieve a richness to the big, simple shapes. My work is high-key, bright and expressive."
Pictured: Sunset, Nov 13
This weaving, fiber, basketry and beadwork invitational exhibition highlights the best natural materials and talent our north woods have to offer. Exhibiting artists include:
John Zasada, Emily Derke, Nate Johnson, Cathryn Peters, Leah Yellowbird, Shannon Lucas Westrum, Eve Sumsky, Kristin Majkrzak, Susan Vann, and Dawnette Davis.
Mollie Oblinger’s beguiling landscapes expose the vulnerability of the waywe undermine our natural environment with imagery plucked from her interest in animal tunnels and cellular anatomy. By exploring unique locations, in this case: the Great Basin, her work reflects a set of discoveries specific to that place.