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Art Posts

Selective Focus: Open Theme

Ann Klefstad

Ann Klefstad, “Anclote bed”

Some new work this week, and  favorites from seven months of moderating this virtual agora. Next week’s theme will be “whadya’ do last week” because I’ve heard there’s some sort of festival hereabout; “homespun,” “homeslice…” something like that.

Duluth’s Preus, Allen win 2015 Minnesota Book Awards

Duluth-based writer Margi Preus and illustrator Rick Allen were among the winners of the 27th annual Minnesota Book Awards, announced at a ceremony in St. Paul on Saturday.

Margi Preus - Minnesota Book Award 2015

Selective Focus: Bed(s?)

Kip Praslowicz

Kip Praslowicz, untitled

When I announced the next week’s theme to be “bed,” I certainly did not intend that to be singular- that Kip Praslowicz would represent the only submission at hand. However, it does now occur to me that our artistic community might be reticent regarding anything that resembles prurience, at least publicly. Lesson learned, beloved new home.

Literary Northland

awpThis week has been a week of literary experiences for me, from International Falls to Minneapolis, from Icebox Radio to Holy Cow Press.

I drove with friends from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council to International Falls. It was both planning/working/friendly talking time with Ashley (grants manager) and Bob (executive director) and time to visit friends in International Falls.

Selective Focus: Trees

Hansi Johnson

Hansi Johnson, untitled

I’ve heard there is an austere beauty to deserts, though I have never lived in one. Still, I can’t imagine, being from the North, a landscape without trees, or being without their practical, aesthetic, poetic, mythical, and allegorical implications — all there is of oxygenation, fuel, foliage, building, climbing from our simian origins, tree of life, the axis mundi, tree of knowledge…

Selective Focus: Underwear

Zach Kerola

Zach Kerola, “Marcus

This week’s feature is somewhat scant due to fewer than usual submissions. However, the several photos that did arrive were clever, imaginative interpretations of our theme (in particular, Cheryl Reitan’s take on underwear, or lack thereof). Next week’s theme will be something else we’re all acquainted with, although possibly less bashful about exhibiting- “trees.”

Student Productions, New Works

As a faculty member, I get word of lots of student productions, Here are two worth thinking about.

Mickey Smith – Harboured

https://vimeo.com/123377903

BuckeyeDuluth native Mickey Smith discusses her art exhibit, Harboured, which was on display in February at the Enjoy Public Art Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand.

Smith currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand. The work in her exhibit centered on shipping-industry imagery from both port cities — Duluth and Aucklund. The photographs, presented as large-scale textiles, came together with live video feed to negotiate the distance between Smith and her father, a former merchant marine still living in Duluth.

The video was produced by Andrew Matautia, with Emma Ng conducting the interview.

Selective Focus: Sanctuary

Kip Praslowicz

Kip Praslowicz, “Basement- Silver City”

I would have found this week’s theme of sanctuary difficult, because to me the idea involves something more comprehensive. How do you take an image of an intangible concept like a community, comprised of myriad people and places where you feel secure and able to be your best self, and supported even when you occasionally fall shy of that measure?

Selective Focus: Spring

aaron

Aaron Reichow, untitled

Well that was abrupt. Two weeks ago I was freezing in Two Harbors, knee-deep in snow. This week there is an impromptu river running down 3rd West, and I sunned like a seal on the rocks of Observation Hill. Truthfully, it has made me immoderately crazy; grateful, but yes, kinda unhinged (bonus points this week to Aaron, whose image featured above includes a meta-Narum).

Selective Focus: Ellipsis

Zach Kerola

Zach Kerola, “Cloquet Street”

“…” (ellipsis) from the Ancient Greek αποσιωπητικά, élleipsis, meaning “omission” or “falling short.”

I realize that our current theme was a somewhat pedantic exercise, but am very gratified by the varied and imaginative responses represented here. I believe that good art should challenge us, and not merely pacify us with prettiness or virtuosity. That’s not to say it should be shrill, just that it asks us to look further into what image makers, authors, poets… any artists are trying to communicate, because they do so at an often incredible cost.

Selective Focus: In Like a Lion

Kip Praslowicz

Kip Praslowicz, untitled

So this Winter hasn’t exactly been last year’s Jack London-esque death struggle. Still, there were moments of peril, and others of extreme, austere beauty. While only visiting in 2013, I wrote something that seems even more true now from this present vantage: “You begin to gather that after the few idyllic months Minnesotans are given, and the many more less-so they’ve chose to endure, that an energy accrues which begs release.” I think we’re due for a blowout.

Carved Stone Project Placement Experiment

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctrxz8zQjxQ

Stoneworker Sean MacManus and I hatched a plan to use his Celtic stonework pieces to fashion an underwater stone garden, geocache, and/or orienteering course. This video is footage of my experiment to test the feasibility of lashing the stones around the base of a boulder. I had two of the stones, each identical with backing mounts affixed with mortar, and I had two ropes. I found this project much more difficult than I imagined, and it failed as a proof of concept as the mortar weakened and would not hold the ropes. This was in addition to simply being deucedly difficult to accomplish even in just a few feet of water. The shot of the stones towards the end by the green leaf is after the mortar failure when I decided to abandon the attempt. I was beat and so left one the stones overnight. The final shot is me retrieving it. After this, I experimented with trying to wedge the stones in place but that didn’t work either. The entire project (still evolving towards this summer) generated a lot of footage of me swimming around enigmatically with these stones, which has already been released here.

Selective Focus: Richard Narum

Kip Praslowicz

Kip Praslowicz, untitled

Images by the Narum, of the Narum, and in homage to the Narum. I loved Cheryl’s thoughtful contribution that alludes to the way Richard’s images often catch the beauty of banal details (though that interpretation would likely piss him off, and garner me a fist). Whatever small purchase I have here I owe to this man, for being a person who walks his talk — however coarse  and inappropriate that discourse might be. I know the ferocity with which he loves this place, and all the other mad people in it.

Economic effect of the arts in Minnesota is big

DSC05985 2A couple weeks ago Creative Minnesota went on a road show to promote the findings of a major study. The data showed the arts have been having a major economic effect in Minnesota. The Arrowhead is the second-most vibrant region, though it is only the fourth largest in population. Here’s more information on what was presented.