Monday, September 30, 2013

Local Art Seen: Gary Nelson's "Working Through"

The North End Arts Gallery is located in the historic Trade and Commerce Marketplace at the corner of Hammond and Broadway here in Superior. For Duluthians who don't know their way around on the other side of the river, here are your instructions. When you cross the High Bridge, go straight about eight blocks or so. This is Hammond. When you cross the tracks and reach the traffic light, look to your left. There it is!

Trivia: Arnold Schwartzeneggar used to have his girl friend Maria Shriver stay at the Hammond Inn (which you passed a few blocks earlier at the foot of the bridge) when she visited him here while he was in college at UWS. 

The building really has a lot of history, and like many cities Superior is in the midst of renovating and re-purposing some of its historic buildings, this being one of the first, which is now home to art studios, the Red Mug Coffeehouse, a bakery and more. 

The North End Arts Gallery is located upstairs the second floor. Gary Nelson's well-attended opening was Friday evening.

One big difference between an art opening and a gallery is that you can meet and talk with the artists themselves at their openings. If you want to know more about his or her motivations, techniques or personal history, this is the place to do it.

Gary Nelson is from  Maple, Wisconsin, one of many small communities scattered along the South Shore between here and Bayfield. Though the population is only 677 as of the 2000 census, I have met several artists from Maple. Must be something in the water there.

When I spoke with Nelson I discovered a man not unlike myself, and probably many others from all walks of life. Though an art major in college, Nelson had spent 25 years in the Douglas County Human Services department and had been making art. After retiring he returned to his passion for making pictures and has become very productive this past year, working primarily in pastels, pencil and craypas. His subject matter is "the human condition."

The pictures are brightly colored and graphically intense. Some are somewhat disturbing and others simply bring you to a different place.

Several of the pieces had Native American words in the title and I asked about that. He said his wife's family is from the Fond Du Lac tribe. It was nice meeting her as well and especially nice to see the strong turnout for this show.

Special thanks to the Superior Council for the Arts for assembling and hosting the artist reception and other events like these. Working Through can be viewed from 11-5 T, TH, F, SA until November 2. There will also be another special opening the evening of October 11 during the Twin Ports Gallery Hop. Mark you calendars and prepare to get your walking shoes on.

The North End Arts Gallery has become a very special place.

No comments: