Sunday, July 13, 2014

Local Art Seen: Friday Night Art Crawl in Downtown Duluth

One of Faith's pieces
The weatherman teased us into believing it wasn't going to rain Friday evening, but to make sure it wouldn't I brought my umbrella. Unfortunately, after nearly leaving it at Washington Gallery I decided to drop it off at the car as I walked back down the hill and the sky appeared to be opening. Sure enough, within the hour the skies opened up in a torrential downpour. My apologies if you were unlucky enough to get soaked.

Brent Kusterman's work at Washington Gallery was worth seeing. I finally had a chance to meet the artist himself after seeing his paintings and constructions at Red Mug and Zeitgeist. His method of working is to be constantly layering until the composition eventually comes through. I asked how he knows when to quit and he said, "Each piece tells you when to stop."

Detail from "Surgery"
The collection displayed included a number of long horizontal pieces which were especially interesting. The painting pictured here is titled "Surgery," with elements based on his experience as an anesthesia technician. It's a right to left narrative about what happens if a patient doesn't make it.

After dropping off my umbrella I dropped in at Pineapple Arts on First Street where they were celebrating the 4th anniversary. Has it really been only four years? I was under the impression they've almost always been here.

Pineapple Arts is a downtown art supply store that also has classes and events. Local artists sell some of their work there. (My "Man with Hooked Nose" was purchased from their walls.) It's located next to the tattoo parlor across the street from Aces and home to origami specialist Todd Olson among others. Jon Hinkel of Tight Squeek Press is also a member with his print shop just upstairs.

The TYPES show Friday evening at the PR∅VE proved as interesting as I anticipated. Essentially the entire gallery was laid out with various creative ways of presenting the letters of the alphabet. As you entered the gallery, you encounter the the A-B-C-D and E that begins the procession. The back wall concludes with the letter Z. It's the manner in which each of the letters is created that makes this exhibit interesting.

They also had poetry readings at various points throughout, but the acoustics proved challenging. It's a large room and the sound of boisterous conversations in the back of the hall must have been unsettling for some who wished to hear the poets who that evening were reading from the entrance end of the room.

Betty Selnes & Karin Blank
During the downpour I managed to slip next door to take in the celebration of Swedish Immigration which was hosted in Nordic Hall. If you are not aware of it, this rather challenging geographic terrain (six month winters, short summers) was distributed by means of government land grants in the late 1800's to anyone sufficiently motivated to settle here. Northern Europeans got word that there were 40 acre properties available to anyone who would tame them. Oppressed people everywhere found there way to this North Country, but those most attracted were the Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, Germans and Baltic
countries whose homelands most replicated this region. So Friday eve the Swedish Cultural Society opened their doors and shared their heritage. It's impressive how strong the connections between many Northlanders and their homelands. Even the bartender there said it is his aim to return to Sweden to live, having visited three times.

And if you're a late nighter, there was a street dance on First that may have been dampened by the earlier rain but sounded just fine. Being parked in the vicinity I had to check out the singer who was belting out Me & Bobby McGee. I thought, "A new young voice in town. I wonder who it is." Turns out it was Maxi Childs who you will usually find doing the jazz thing with her trio at Blackwater. I honestly thought she was a 24 year old. Guess we never stop being kids.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Don't ever stop dancing to the music.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for dropping in!

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