Saturday, February 11, 2012

Five Shows and More Than 65 Artists

I don't mean to gush, but last night's art events and gallery hop were truly over the top. You would think Northlanders would have the good sense to stay home when it's five below with a wind chill of minus twenty or more. But no, we're a hearty breed up here and the art community doesn't have to obey the same rules as farmers who must wait for the growing season to sow their seeds. There was a riot of color and sound and imagination on display at the five events I attended, and I'll try to briefly to do a little summing up here this morning.

First stop, "Love Your Local Artist" at the Superior Library. Nora Fie has to be commended for this new event that is likely to become an annual phenomenon. Last year there were fourteen artists involved and on this year's second anniversary, there were 28 artists displaying their works around the atrium from 5:30-7:30 p.m. What a beautiful setting and a fabulous turnout. The Friends of the Library pulled out all the stops. Artists included veteran artists like Patricia Lenz, Jeredt Runions, and Tonya Sell, along with new faces like Colin Wiita and Olivia Master. Every kind of medium seemed represented except maybe film.

But there was film at The PRØVE, next stop on an evening of gallery hopping that some may have taken well into the night. The "Tiny Art" exhibited, curated by Richard Hansen, did not fail to excite. Every kind of creativity was on display, including multimedia and technodazzle. Jacob Swanson had three pieces that caused a lot of interaction. Two were booked with an eyepiece and earphones. Had it not been so noisy you would have been able to hear sound as you peered into these volumes. Inside the books were films from Donald Duck WWII war propaganda designed to get Americans behind the war effort. Swanson's third piece was an old-style camera which, when you looked into the lens, had a blinking eye looking at you. Quite cleverly done.

The gallery was absolutely crawling with visitors for several hours, but the much anticipated show was worth investigating in detail. Coleman Miller's somewhat eccentric spinning and quivering gizmos grabbed a lot of attention as you came through the door, but there were the standard presentations as well, small art in small frames, or fat frames with tiny dimensions, measured in inches not feet. In fact, everything was to be shippable in a 12"x 12" box. It was a surprisingly vast assemblage of works that the gallery team installed in a relatively short time. I was there the evening before and nothing had been hung yet.

We rushed uphill two blocks into a bone-chilling headwind to the Washington Galleries to catch the end of the Bound to the Light exhibit by landscape photographer Ryan Tischer. His photos are printed on canvas, stretched and framed, and look stunning. From here it was back to The PRØVE, with a new crowd and new faces to meet and greet.

Ochre Ghost is two blocks east through the alley and upon arrival it was fun to see the space was awash with color and buzzing with still more art-walkers. Robert DeWitt Adams' "Cold War Toys" exhibit was even more engaging than I anticipated. Kudos to Jessica again for finding so many hidden treasures to showcase here these past two years.

From here we took the car for the last stop on the hop, the Diarama rama at Sacred Heart up on Positively Fourth Street. I have never been to this event, which is held every two years, so I felt obligated to check in. And if the crowds everywhere else were a lot, this place was seething. Music, and a degree of inventiveness like you wouldn't believe. I will share some of what I saw here next week on Wordless Wednesday. Suffice it to say that if you have never been to the Diarama rama you are missing something special.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Open your eyes....

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