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Brian Barber Posts

Selective Focus: Naomi Christenson

Naomi Christenson has been featured here before as a dancer, this week we get to see her work as a painter. A self-described “detail junkie” she gets inspiration from unusual places, including fungus and lichen. Her paintings are filled with immaculate detail and vibrant colors, abstraction and pattern.

NC: I primarily work in acrylic paint, though I’ve also worked with oil and gouache for some projects. When I started painting, it was in a classroom and we worked primarily on still lives. The instructor set up a backdrop with a diverse collection of objects in the foreground and we painted it. In that setting, I found myself most drawn to the complex objects with lots of detail. An old gumball machine with its glassy top, red metal body and shiny silver flourishes springs to mind as one of my favorite objects to paint. Beyond classes, the more I painted the more my style came into view. For example, I found myself happiest with paintings that not only had a lot of detail but also a lot of color. Years later I discovered my love of natural patterns and the mix within my work became more interesting.

Selective Focus: #northernminnesota

A few views of the area via Instagram.

Selective Focus: John Heino

This week in Selective Focus, we hear from photographer John Heino about his work, and how he he balances his ever-growing creative wish list as well as evolving travel and equipment wish lists.

JH: I began as an old-school film photographer in the early 80’s as an art student at UMD. With the advent of digital photography, I made the transition from darkroom to computer. I was a bit skeptical about digital in the beginning, but it’s incredible how the technology has evolved over the last ten years.

Selective Focus: Ice and Frost

This week, some cold and icy scenes from around the area.

Selective Focus: Richard C. Johnson

This week, photographer Richard C. Johnson tells how he looks for and catalogs special locations to come back to with his camera, how and why he has switched between ways of making images, and the advantages of Flickr over Instagram.

RCJ: I have lived and worked as an artist in Duluth for more than 35 years. My education and training as an artist was in both printmaking and photography. I have always thought of myself as first and foremost a photographer, even through those times I was not actively photographing. In the latter half of the 1980s, I found myself without access to a viable darkroom, and was living in a house that had no suitable place to build one. I spent a few years working with collage, mixed media, and assemblages, with varying degrees of success. In 1992 I purchased a Mac computer along with a flatbed scanner. For the next 8 years I worked exclusively within the realm of digital montage. When I did photograph, it was to make images to be part of a montage, not as singular works in themselves. By the turn of the century, 2000-’01, I felt a bit burned out with this work, spending too much time in front of a computer, and living too much in my head. I felt that what I needed was to return to photography, and reconnect with the world.

Selective Focus: Hilltopper 6

Students at Marshall school have been launching a weather balloon equipped with a camera and data gathering equipment since 2013. This year a larger balloon went higher than ever, and collected more data and 360 videos. The extra boost came from assistance from Trail Genius, a company that maps and provides data to trail-based events and clubs. Marshall science teacher David Johnson fills us in on the project.

DJ: I met Jason at the Birkie where I carried his camera so that he could make a Trail Genius map about the Birkie Trail like he did for Hilltopper 6.

After hearing about our ballooning project, Jason offered up his camera and expertise to help us film the flight in 360 degree video. What he did for us is so much more than I ever could imagined, he has given so much of himself to this project.

Halloween Banners

ZombieBanner-Call

Time to go back one year and look through your pictures on your phone. We want to see your creepy, comical, kooky Halloween photos, we’ll add them to the banner rotation – those long skinny photos at the top of the page. Keep in mind, the proportions are extremely horizontal, so not every photo works when cropped. Click here for complete submission guidelines, but the basics are: 1135 pixels wide by 197 pixels high, e-mail them to [email protected]
If you’re not able to crop and size them, send the full image and we’ll do our best to crop it into a banner. Happy Halloween, we’ll start rotating the Halloween Banners this weekend.

Selective Focus: Last glimpse of Fall

The leaves are almost all gone, here are a few final peeks for the year.

Selective Focus: Kip’s Praslowicz’s video blog

This week in Selective Focus, we’re going to tune in to Kip Praslowicz’s YouTube channel. You may remember Kip from such films as “Memory Card Dump #14,” “Memory Card Dump #11” and “The Story of Homegrown 2016.” He’s a prolific photographer, and his YouTube feed is a combination of tutorials on working with film photography, behind the scenes documentaries about his ongoing photo projects, and photographic experiments. Even if you’re not really needing instruction on loading 120 roll film into a decades-old camera, there’s plenty of other wisdom and fun. Here are a few samples along with a brief bit of background from Kip. Take a look, and then “smash that subscribe button.”

KP: Before I did photos, I was into making music. Before I was making music, I was into making weird videos. This was also when I was about 11 and used a big VHS camera with the only concept of editing being by starting and stopping the tape.

Selective Focus: Laura Goodman and Karen Owsley Nease

On Oct. 19 and 20, Laura Goodman’s sensuous and powerful new ballet, “Curl, Uncurl and…” will be performed as part of the Minnesota Ballet’s fall performance, The Rite of Spring and Other Dances. Basing her choreography on the wave paintings of Karen Owsley Nease, Laura explores the elemental and generative forces depicted in Karen’s artwork. Karen’s paintings will be projected as the back drop during the performance.

On Friday, Oct. 26, 6 p.m., at Joseph Nease Gallery, Laura and Karen will present an artist’s talk discussing their work during a mini-exhibition of the paintings that were included in the performance. “Elemental Forces and Other Work” is the mini-exhibition of Karen’s paintings and will be on display from Oct. 19-27.

What was the origin of your collaboration?

Karen: Over dinner last year, Laura and I were discussing our respective work as artists, particularly her experience as a professional dancer and choreographer, which led me to suggest how cool it would be to have her “interpret” my wave paintings into motion.

Laura: Growing up in Duluth, Lake Superior has been a place for reflection and awe. It has been a backdrop that I have missed when living elsewhere. I first saw Karen’s wave paintings at her show “As Above, So Below” at the University of Wisconsin, Superior in 2017. The idea of choreographing a piece based on her paintings was exciting to me, and so I worked to find a way to do that. After a few conversations and studio visits with Karen, I approached Robert Gardner at the Minnesota Ballet. With his support of the project I applied and was awarded an Arrowhead Regional Arts Council (ARAC) Career Development grant.

Selective Focus: Jim Richardson

Jim Richardson is an artist, a writer, a snorkeler and outdoorsman, a video blogger — in other words, a modern day renaissance man. He has a show of his cartoons opening tonight (Friday, Oct. 5) at the Red Herring Lounge. This week in Selective Focus, we get a preview of the show, and hear about some of the other projects he has up his sleeve.

JR: My current show at the Red Herring features recent cartoon illustrations I’ve done for transistormag.com, so I am wearing my cartoonist cap. The Perfect Duluth Day community knows me primarily, if anything, by the work I do as Lake Superior Aquaman. But cartooning has been with me the longest. I have always been a committed doodler.

Selective Focus: Downtown Duluth Arts Walk

Tonight a number of galleries and artists will host the fourth monthly Downtown Duluth Arts Walk. The event continues to grow, and includes art, studio tours, music and more. This week, we hear from Amanda Hunter and Joellyn Rock, co-chairs of the group organizing the Arts Walk, and Alison Aune, artist and member of the collective. We’re also featuring some photos from past events. The Downtown Duluth Arts Walk happens tonight (Friday) from 5 to 8 p.m. at a number of venues downtown. For a list of locations, visit the website, or find a map at most of the venues.

How many studios or locations have been participating?

The Downtown Duluth Arts Collective, which puts on the Downtown Duluth Arts Walk, is comprised of 26 different arts businesses/groups, individual artist studios and cultural centers. We have two more prospective venues joining next month, and have had an average of two additional groups joining us each month since we started the Downtown Arts Walk in June. We see this as a positive sign that creative businesses and organizations in our neighborhood see the value of what we are trying to do and want to support and be a part of that endeavor.

Selective Focus: #perfectduluthday

Summer is over, but don’t fret. Everybody knows fall is actually the best season. Here are some recent #perfectduluthdays. Get out and enjoy.

Selective Focus: North Country Craft

Erin Welch is an illustrator, painter and … pyrographer or woodburner. She creates game boards inspired by Duluth and Minnesota. She’ll be at Earth Rider Brewery’s one-year anniversary events Sept. 14 and 15 as part of the Art on Tap series.

Although I love to work in a variety of mediums if the inspiration calls, pyrography (wood burning) is the medium that is the main aesthetic of North Country Craft. I’ve always loved trying out new mediums and somewhat fell into working with wood and making custom wood burned cribbage boards by accident. I realized I didn’t have a cribbage board in my apartment and made one for myself one night. That spun into family and friends asking about custom boards and eventually led to launching an Etsy site which took off and launched my custom cribbage business.

Selective Focus: Nik Nerburn

Photographer and filmmaker Nik Nerburn has a show at Hemlocks Leatherworks and a show opening next Thursday at Duluth Art Institute. His photos are spontaneous glances that grab and pull you in, wondering about the rest of the story.

NN: I’m a documentary storyteller. I make movies and take pictures. Most of my work is about life in the upper Midwest, mostly rural areas, small towns, and places that are changing. I’m currently working on a photo essay about the shifting politics and culture of Duluth and the Iron Range, a documentary film called The Great American Think Off about a philosophy contest in New York Mills, Minnesota (population 1,119), and a photo book called The Grand Terrace Photo League, which is a documentary collaboration between myself and the residents of an apartment building in Worthington, Minn., which houses mostly recent immigrants who work at a nearby pork processing plant. I care about expanding the common life and finding ways to relate across great differences.