Saturday, November 15, 2014

Local Art Seen: The North Shore Bank of Commerce Collection


John Steffl and Sarah Brokke share the moment.
Yesterday I wrote here about Thursday evening's joint opening receptions for the DAI Biennial, the George Morrison exhibition, Jo Wood's "Meaning of Home" and the North Shore Bank's impressive retrospective, if you can call a show that when it is a bank's collection and not an individuals. The images shared here are from this latter event, curated by the respected John Steffl, himself a noted potter and painter.

"From the Collection" features works from every decade beginning in the 1960's up through the present. It includes impressive paintings in oil, gouache or acrylic plus woodcut and intaglio prints, photography, watercolors and ceramics. There were 57 pieces in all, and what struck me was how much this art show at the bank felt more like visiting a show in someone's home. We were even permitted to explore the executives' offices and conference rooms to engage the works this banks management team has the opportunity to experience on a daily basis.

"T.R. Buffalo" by Steven R. Meyer
Some of the work was breathtaking. Nearly all gave one an aesthetic lift.

Many of the artists' names were familiar. Jay Steinke, Craig Blacklock, Carl Gawboy, Cheng Khee Chee, Cecilia Lieder, Lee Englund, Adu Gindy, Karen Savage Blue, Scott Murphy.  But there were many others of whom I myself was unfamiliar and it made me curious to see more by this artist and that.

The show was accompanied by a handout that thoughtfully offered more information about the works one was viewing. And the food... catered by Duluth Grille, was itself a masterful creation of delightful flavors. Those Scotch eggs with a dollop of Hollandaise were incredible.

Andy Messerschmidt's "Misti Mountain Flop"
Misti Mountain Flop detail
"Arapaho Bay" by Irv Taran
View from above.
"City View" by Edward Evans
"Dichotomy" by Don Furst, with a ghostly selfie.
In the office of Mr. Lewis.
The event was a privilege to attend. The bank's support for the local arts makes an impressive statement. Sharing their collection in this manner made it especially memorable.  Mr. Steffl's statement about the show offers this observation:

"It is also worth noting that Fred Lewis II has several excellent pieces fashioned by local artists gracing his walls and is following in his father's footsteps as a volunteer on the DAI's board of directors. Perhaps it is a matter of karma, but it would seem that NSBC has become both a repository for cultural assets as well as for those financial... and through its actions acknowledges that a healthy community requires both."

Thank you to everyone who contributed to making this such an exceptional event.

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This Day in Art History: Georgia O'Keeffe was born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, 1867

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Of Note: Next Saturday November 22, from 2:00 till 7:00 p.m. Cecelia Lieder will be hosting an opening reception for her solo exhibition at the Northern Prints Gallery, 318 North 14th Avenue East, across the street from Burrito Union.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Celebrate it.

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