An online exhibit reflecting how artists are processing and observing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic
above Jonathan Thunder, Quarantine at Grammas House, acrylic on canvas 13.5 x 42" $6000, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Artists often process events and emotions through creating new work. Some find peace, some find inspiration, some find more questions. Response provides an avenue of expression, a place for artists and viewers to explore, heal and vent. Submissions were received from throughout the nation as well as abroad and reflect the variety of issues faced during this time. From drawings to dioramas, photography to ceramics, realism to abstract, submitted work is on view throughout 2020.
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Antonella Piemontese, Tumulus 1 and 2, canvas drop cloth, butchers cotton twine, found stuffed doll, 19x18x2", NFS, Beacon, NY
On View: Summer 2020
George Morrison Gallery
Ceramist and illustrator Kari Halker-Saathoff presents the classic story of Odysseus with a reimagined characterization of Odysseus' wife Penelope. Graphite illustrations are layered with white paper cut outs, backed in black to mirror the ceramic glazing on low fire red clay vessels. Odysseus occupies these framed illustrations, capturing images inspired by Homer’s Greek poem. Penelope’s story, carried on ceramic vessels, is inspired by her courage and resistance against unwanted suitors as well as current events, including the Women’s March of 2017. Their stories alternate and connect as the viewer travels through the exhibition, titles of the illustrations are inspired by the text of the Odyssey while Penelope’s draw from current events. Viewed together, Halker-Saathoff illuminates the many parallels between the present and 650 B.C.E.
Halker-Saathoff describes Penelope’s situation, “Suitors invaded her home, ate her food, threatened her son, assaulted her servants, and pressured her to remarry. In resisting the suitors Penelope had to use all her resources, showing herself to be as courageous, wily, and brilliant a figure as Odysseus. The courage of her resistance is the inspiration for my interpretation and the struggle of women’s persecution and for equality are ever present.”
Halker-Saathoff is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist and educator. Drawn to stories, she feels compelled to explore and represent lesser celebrated characters, as evidenced in Odysseus &Penelope. “I find that reinterpreting a story through art is a powerful way to view the past. Works of historical significance don’t need to linger in the time period in which they were written—they can be viewed through the eyes of today.”
Image credit: Kari Halker-Saathoff "The Unseen Universe" 2018 Low fire red clay, underglaze pencil, glaze, copper and brass 32 x 20 x 18"
On View: Summer 2020
John Steffl Gallery
Artist Emily Stokes works in painting, printmaking, drawing, and digital imaging to produce two-dimensional objects. Challenging the viewer to explore objects from a two-dimensional perspective rather than three, Stokes presents paper fold outs, interlocking wooden panels and winding panoramas. Her work on view includes acrylic and screen prints on small MDF panels with subject matter accenting the tension between the familiar and the new. Aiming to preserve the past while confronting the present, Stokes examines “how economic and demographic shifts impact traditions and how these shifts are revealed in the symbols around us.” Stokes symbolizes images from her surroundings such as farm animals, rural architecture and crop fields then props them into imaginary backgrounds reflective of real but unidentifiable spaces.
Stokes is an Associate Professor of Art at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. Here, she has also served as the Gallery Director of Te Paske Gallery since 2012. With an MFA in printmaking from Arizona State University and a BA in studio art and English from Wellesley College, Stokes has exhibited throughout the United States.
Image credit: Emily Stokes "wicker lamb" 2018 Acrylic/Screenprint on MDF 16 x 12"
On View: Summer 2020
Powerful female figures dominate Sue Rauschenfels Sisterhood series, on view in the Corridor Gallery through July. Raised in a household with six sisters, Rauschenfels grew to understand the bond between women as well as barriers that can prevent strong supportive relationships. In Sisterhood she challenges women to connect, “I paint my sister figures side by side, and they are often intertwined and overlapped. This reflects the everyday world for women as we journey to create pathways and opportunities for our sisters from all cultures to achieve gender equality - economically, politically, and socially.”
Working in watercolor and acrylic, Rauschenfels builds forms from organic shapes, vivid colors, and rich textures. The forward-facing figures interact with viewers while standing together in solid compositions reflective of their communities. Stories of kinship and unity evolve from her work, encouraging one to reflect on their own relations. Rauschenfels: “Our Sisterhood culture needs to repair and to heal. We need to stand near each other. We must collaborate, lift each other up, unite efforts, show strength in numbers, share a common voice, be kind, empathetic and loyal to our Sisterhood to gain equality and to be heard.”
Rauschenfels began painting full-time in her home studio after retiring from the University of Minnesota Duluth Continuing Education department in 2009. Her studies in Sociology, Criminology and Psychology influence her subject matter as does her love of nature and the outdoors. She is a member of the Lake Superior Watercolor Society, Artists of MN and Arrowhead Artists. Her work can be seen at 47 Degrees Gallery in Knife River, MN and Art on the Planet Gallery in Superior, WI.
Image credit: Sue Rauschenfels "Sisters" 2019 Acrylic/Mixed Media 24 x 24"
John Steffl Gallery
Tia Salmela Keobounpheng (aka Tia Keo) presents multimedia sculptures in her new series, BLOODLINE. BLOODLINE no.3 and BLOODLINE no.4, both constructed of copper and electric wire, both represent the artists inquiry into epigenetics. She explains:
“Combining scientific and mythical concepts, I imagine the ways that my grandmothers are part of me despite the fact that I have no lived experience with them. What began as a quest to define the void that I perceive (they would have filled) has led me on a journey of uncovering history that is both fact and inferred.
The undulating copper conduit symbolizes the bloodline, a simplified single channel of lineage. The hanging coils suggest spiraling DNA or umbilical cords of experience and information that inform our blood and our inherited memory. Epigenetic's suggest that our lived experiences can modify the expression of our genes without changing the genetic code itself and one of my own lived experiences has been integral to my current work.
Nearly twenty years after learning to weave in my ancestral land of Finland in 1995, I was able to see how the time spent with two elder women in the room impressed a sensation of what it might’ve been like to be with my grandmothers. That emotion merged with the motions of weaving and ignited something in me that was passionate and everlasting. Weaving has literally and figuratively become my intuitive language, connecting me to my grandmothers and to a vast lineage of women who worked with their hands. If their DNA and epigenetic memory flows through my veins, the process of handwork brings me closer to them – if only in my perception of experience.”
A Duluth-native and 1995 Central High school graduate, Tia Keo is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in North Minneapolis. She holds a BA degree in architecture from the University of Minnesota, is the co-founder of Silvercocoon, and works across disciplines to support herself as a professional artist. Her modern jewelry-designs have been empowering women since 2007. She is a 2020 & 2017 MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grantee and a 2018 McKnight Next Step Fund Grantee through the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. In 2018 she hung solo exhibitions at the Duluth Art Institute in Duluth, The American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, and
Finlandia University Gallery in Hancock, Michigan. Her next solo exhibition will open in spring 2021 at the Art History Gallery at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Her forthcoming project UNWEAVING will be her first temporary outdoor public art installation, happening summer 2020 at Gichi-ode’ Akiing Park in Duluth, and is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the MN State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature; and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Image credit: Tia Salmela Keobounpheng, BLOODLINE no. 3 (Detail), copper conduit, copper and electrical wire
The Duluth Art Institute's programs and services are made possible in part through the support of the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2018.