Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Strong Finish For NXN Visual Arts Week

Inside the heart of radiopluto
If you were out and about last night, you saw an incredibly wide range of work by local and regional artists on display at at least a half dozen locations on both sides of the bridge. As I've repeated all too often, it would be nice to clone oneself sometimes, and last night here in the Twin Ports would have been one of those times.

The Stewardess Syndrome
During a recent Delta flight I made the observation that stewards and stewardesses on airplanes must have a tough challenge emotionally because they meet so many interesting people on a daily basis but their relationships with these people never have any depth because there is no time to really develop anything beyond the superficial. I asked a stewardess about this and she said yes, it is a serious problem. She works twelve hour days, and does not even work with the same people every day. It does take an emotional toll.

This thought hit me last night that there are absolutely so many interesting people in the arts community, and so much interesting work being done, but we're all so busy we can sometimes fail to engage the work or one another beyond the most superficial levels. It was especially apparent to me last night because I so wanted to see everything and everyone... and without exception every conversation was too short.

For myself the evening began at the 2013 Goin' Postal Spring Show. The "Gallery" displayed more works by more artists than ever and it was gratifying to see so many young and old, artists and non-artists and friends of artists there. Many hands were involved in making this event so warm and energetic, but a few should especially be cited including Andrew Perfetti, who has donated his business space to the arts in such a visible way, Carla Magnuson, who worked tirelessly to communicate with the artists and bring everything together. And then, kudos to all the artists who shared their passions here.

Wall of works by Becky Brandt
I'd like to give special recognition to Becky Brandt and Tara Stone whose new work shows a maturing development in their draft(wo)manship and craft(wo)manship. But in truth, everyone had some pieces I found noteworthy, and space does not permit a complete elaboration. Dusty Keliin was well represented with both ceramic works and paintings. I also had some new work there along with fifteen other artists and photographers. If you missed it, I'm fairly certain much of the art will remain in place during the weeks ahead. Even thought Tower Avenue is torn up you'll be able to find it easily by looking for the signs on Ogden near the tracks.

Raku piece by Hendershot
On the Duluth side of the bridge the shows were many and of a wide variety that was totally engrossing. I hopped up to the Mud Sisters opening at Washington Galley first, as it was an early eve event. Six women who work with "mud" demonstrated the range of things one can do with a little clay and a pinch of imagination. The show featured work by Beth Carpenter, Susan Schnetzler, Wendy Wright, Sue Damme and Joan Hendershot. There was a few bronze pieces by Carpenter, but the rest of the gallery featured stoneware, raku, porcelain and fire clay. I can't say enough about the vitality of our local ceramics scene, fostered by a number of established artisans like the Husbys, Dave Lynas and Tonya Borgeson.

The back of the Prove offered a collaborative blackboard, chalk provided.
Two blocks down the hill the Prove Gallery was in elite form last night, presenting two exhibitions... one in their own gallery space and a second across the street in the Gardner Hotel. I found both spaces exhilarating. This is where I regret the lack of a clone. I would have preferred staying much longer at the Radiopluto menagerie of moods, which had Kathy McTavish's fingerprints all over it, though I also so a reprise of other Prove Collective concepts as well. Inspiring, beautiful, even painful. Thanks for taking this on. Just being inside the space made you feel a part of it.

Our week-long celebration of the visual arts here in the Northland will include events today at Pineapple Arts and the Northern Prints Gallery, along with an afternoon re-opening of Superior Depot for the Phantom Galleries Superior display there featuring Sarah Brokke's Shift and works by others.

Hope you've enjoyed the week. The lineup for dance, theater and music this coming week should be equally inspiring. Be part of it.

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