Selective Focus Posts

Selective Focus: Permaculture

In an age of dire news the term “permaculture” may seem optimistic. Still, what might have been the province of raving hair-shirts not long ago now looks to be among our sanest alternatives to hegemony. Permaculture is an organizing principle of practices that assert systemic, creative approaches to the reuse of natural resources to sustain both people and native animals on a local scale. The Arrowhead is fortunate to have a concentration of people at the forefront of this movement, and the attached links are well-worth following.

Selective Focus: Tranquil

Aaron Reichow

Aaron Reichow, untitled

Oft sought, seldom found, more often induced. Still, when genuine… It might not be apparent, but our lead image this week by Aaron Reichow was shot at the circus. Amazing that amidst all of the tumult that this child managed to tune all else out. There’s something axiomatically spiritual in that, I think.

Selective Focus: Homegrown

Starfire

Starfire, untitled

I was warned what a wrecking ball of mirth this Homegrown fest can be, so I should count myself fortunate to have emerged merely psychologically disfigured. Hope you’ve all managed to retain some vestige of the life that pre-existed this marathon, and god willing we’ll see y’all next year.

Selective Focus: Last Week

Cheryl Reitan

Cheryl Reitan, “Oddio”

Both of this week’s (only) submissions are from Cheryl Reitan; so glad to have met Oddio with her, Hugh Reitan, and Oddio’s brother Dean on Sunday for a genial studio visit. Then on Tuesday  I was also there for Tim Kaiser’s Monday Red Herring appearance. I’m fortunate to to have apparently seen all there was to be seen this week in Duluth.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

Selective Focus: Siblings

Sharon Mollerus

Sharon Mollerus, “Scuffle”

Our first friends, as goes the cliché; seldom mellifluous relationships, ever-vying for our parents’ beneficence, until one day we can’t. Others may love the personae we construct, but they can never supplant the primacy of our siblings who’ve known us longer, seen the rough drafts of our most essential selves, and if we’re fortunate, still care.

Selective Focus: Love

Kip Praslowicz

Kip Praslowicz, untitled

Some very sweet images this week, and I’m genuinely glad to see so many of you contented, but there must be angst, some “sturm und drang,” yes? The theme isn’t all rainbows and unicorns- this love business, as a salient hair band once averred, it “scars, it wounds and mars.” How we suture the injuries we sustain and those we inflict defines us more than any cleaving to cloying ideals.

Selective Focus: Capers

Kip Praslowicz

Kip Praslowicz, untitled

Maybe I slant toward the unorthodox, but I know that images exist of regrettable tattoos, cow-tipping episodes, and numerous other lapses in sense. Not that I’m remotely disappointed with this week’s submissions; stunts, escapades, etc. were very well-represented (ask Richard sometime for the story behind those axes and puckish grins).

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