Saturday, August 13, 2016

Local Art Seen: Collusion at Lizzard's Features Painting and Raku

Thursday evening Lizzard's Gallery hosted the opening reception for Collusion, a show featuring paintings and raku pottery by two pair of collaborator-artists. The pottery exhibited was created by Richard Gruchalla and Carrin Roseti. The 25 paintings in the show were produced by gallery owner Jeffrey Schmidt and Kristen Wasyliszyn. Schmidt, a 26-year resident of Duluth and owner of the Lizzard's Gallery, met Wasyliszen at UMD while working on their fine arts degrees.

This exhibition had been primarily created over the past eight months in Wasyliszen's St. Paul studio. The manner in which they worked is itself interesting. She would paint the first part of each painting, and then he would finish. Schmidt supposedly has trouble knowing how to start, and Wasyiszen's trust was such that she he confidence in where he would take things once underway. You can see the results which will be featured here through September 30.

In addition to being an art gallery highlighting many popular and familiar regional artists (eg. Anne Labovitz, Patricia Canelake, Adam Swanson, Aaron Kloss) Jeffrey Schmidt also does framing. Because many of his customers are in the Twin Cities, Schmidt would deliver framed work once a week and then rush over to the studio to "finish" another of the paintings Wasyliszen had started.

Wasyliszen & Schmidt
The titles on the pieces reflect the fun spirit with which the work was created. "It All Started Here" and "Johnny Jumps Up" and "Put A Bird On It" and "There's an Umbrella Under It All" can only be described as whimsical. Yet the work is earnest and engaging.

Richard Gruchalla has spent more than three decades making pottery. Five years ago he was joined by his wife in these creative endeavors. As anyone who has been around the pottery scene knows, raku firings can create some magical effects. Gruchalla and Rosetti are producing some wonderful work.

Lizzard's opening receptions always have that touch of class, with an exceptional spread that is worthy of the artsy environment where it's found. The featured work is displayed near the entrance of the gallery while the rest of the walls display in a mosaic-like fashion a vibrant variety of paintings and drawings in various styles. When you go, be sure to take a tour upstairs in the balcony area.  Schmidt frequently rotates the work so that as the seasons spin, you'll always find something new on your next encounter.

Props to Mr. Austin
This one reminded me of a Bob Marley song.  "Three little birds..."
The gallery was bustling.
Thursday evening the Tweed Museum was hosting a gallery talk by Iron Range photographer Vance Gellert whose exhibition is currently on display on the balcony level there. He's a storyteller in pictures. Because of the scale of the prints, it's worth the trek to check it out.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Slow down and drink a draft. It's good for you.

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