Saturday, March 10, 2012


Someone told me they were looking forward to seeing pictures on my blog of Jessica L's works from her show last weekend at Ochre Ghost. I was surprised. I didn't know that there were people reading my blog to see what they missed in the local arts scene. My recommendation is always to see things first hand. Get up and get out there. Some laptops and computer screens distort pictures by making them look wider. Colors, too, need adjusting. But it's the scale that you'll miss. This was especially true in some of the work we saw while gallery hopping downtown last night. And what better environment than an art show for sipping wine and meeting friends?

Last night there were three such events that we attended. We failed to make it to a fourth at the Red Mug featuring new paintings by Eric Dubnicka. The exhibiton of forty paintings runs through April 30th, 2012, so I know for sure I'll get a chance to check it out.

We started at the Washington Gallery in the old Washington Elementary School where works by artist Kelly Thompson were displayed. The gallery space offers nice high ceilings and is spacious enough to accommodate a good crowd. Thompson titled this event "The Art SHOW" and it was listed as a Best Bet in The Wave, a staple of Thursday's Duluth News Tribune devoted to the arts.

Upon entering the space one was quickly aware of the size of some of her pieces. I asked where her studio is and she said she does a lot of work in her kitchen. When I noted that it would be difficult to paint those larger pieces in a kitchen Thompson said she painted them in the back yard. Her use of color in many instances reminded me of Chagall. Next stop, Ochre Ghost.

This week's opening there featured paintings by Whitney Saurer, a young oil painter whose disturbing images are wonderfully rendered. Portugese artist Paula Rego once said, "If you put frightening things into a picture, then they can't harm you." I half wondered if that is part of the impetus behind some of these canvases. Saurer's skills are clearly evident in the large works which filled the gallery's walls.

Despite the somewhat macabre nature of the images, Saurer clearly has a sense of humor, as you can see from this November entry in her Wordpress blog. You can see more of Saurer's work on Facebook.

Saurer seemed to be enjoying the excitement surrounding her show, titled "Nos. 1-5: New Work By Whitney Saurer." The gallery space was packed, but the young artist was easy to find with her blue hair, wide smile and energized composure.

From here we marched through the alley two blocks to the PRØVE which featured a miscellaneous variety of arts following the theme "Strange Objects."

If you didn't get out last night, Washington Galleries will be open from 1-5 p.m. this afternoon. You might want to begin with episode five of the Robert Hughes documentary film series, "Shock of the New" at the Zinema 2. It's been generating a lot of buzz as we step back in time to get our bearings on where art has been. Artist and critic Ann Klefstad will be leading the discussion after. You really shouldn't miss it.

Photos, top to bottom:
Gustave Campini, Friends of Industry, at the PRØVE
Charcoal drawing by Kelly Thompson
Two faces by Kelly Thompson
At the Ochre Ghost
Oil painting by Whitney Saurer


My Inner Chick said...

****"If you put frightening things into a picture, then they can't harm you." ***

I never thought of that. Superb insight.

The painting of the girl w/ her lipstick smeared quite disturbing. I'd use that on my page for Domestic Violence.

----thanks for the bringing me into the Art Show. :)

Ed Newman said...

You're welcome.
I myself have created a painting addressing this same issue of domestic violence and abuse.
Do tell me what you think.

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