Monday, February 16, 2015

The Week Ahead: Opening Receptions at the DAI and the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe

"Angry Crow" by Ann Klefstad
I dislike food that is served lukewarm. Evidently I'm not alone because it's a recurring complaint amongst restaurant reviewers at Yelp. I very much prefer it when the server says, "Be careful. The plate is hot."

This coming week there are two more Twin Ports art openings that I'm with eagerness looking forward to tasting. The first is this coming Thursday, February 19, at the Duluth Art Institute (DAI). The second is next Monday at the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe. Both promise to provide satisfying experiences for the aesthetic connoisseur. Here are details on each.

DAI Opening Reception Celebrates Two New Exhibitions

Natural Contract features Japanese-American artists Ryuta Nakajima and Aya Kawaguchi; A Retrospective Response presents work by Lake Superior Watercolor Society members. The opening reception from 5 - 7 p.m. highlights both shows.

Natural Contract is the first regional show of Japanese-American artists Ryuta Nakajima and Aya Kawaguchi, who have been collaborating together for more than a decade, exhibiting their work throughout the nation, and currently call Duluth home. Both are curious about the sensory experience and use photography, sculpture, projection and paint to investigate the natural impulse to shape our environment. Nakajima, an associate professor of painting and drawing at UMD, finds source material in the way that cephalopods take external information and react by producing new shapes and colors. Kawaguchi explores the differences between experiencing something and interpreting it, adding or subtracting information from her photographs to transform the originals into something more personally meaningful.

The exhibition is curated by DAI Artistic Director Anne Dugan, sponsored by Jen Dietrich and Lew Conner, and will be on view in the DAI George Morrison Gallery through April 19.

A Retrospective Response showcases the Lake Superior Watercolor Society, an active, Twin Ports-based arts group. The exhibit will feature 41 watercolor paintings by 22 members. Each painting was inspired by regional artists from Duluth’s rich history (including David Erickson, George Morrison, and John Peyton), with works selected by John Salminen, a renowned watercolorist who lives and works in Duluth while traveling around the world to teach workshops and make presentations. He has won more than 230 awards and his work has been included in exhibitions throughout the United States, Asia, Europe and Australia.

The exhibition will be on view in the DAI John Steffl Gallery though May 1.

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Next Monday, February 23, there will be another hot serving of cool art at the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe. The exhibition is titled Flight and features new work by Ann Klefstad and Bridget Riversmith. The opening reception will be from 5 - 7 p.m.

Ann Klefstad has had long experience as both artist and art critic. Her work in this show consists of sumi ink paintings on the theme of crows done on maple panels, and a group of photographs printed on shaped steel depicting water surfaces. She lives in the room with no ceiling—her home the world of forest and water. "I strive to create work mimetic to my experience here, which will evoke both the grace of the natural world and the discomfort of its fit with our built world," she states.

Klefstad has lived by the shore of Lake Superior, and a five-minute walk from forest and river in the city of Duluth, for twenty years. During this time she has been creating sculptures and other works that respond to this environment. She is not an adherent of a signature style, but instead chooses media and ways of working that allow her to serve the aesthetic needs of her environment, and that communicate well. She works as a features writer and critic as well as a public artist, and is open to commissions. She has created many sculptures and sculptural environments by commission and is currently working on two commissions, one for St. Louis County, a plaza environment tentatively called “Wild in the City,” and one for the city of Fergus Falls, called “Freedom,” which features birds.

Bridget Riversmith outlines the ideas behind her work in this statement:

Art is a place to put things so they’ll keep. Moments can be preserved in dance, song, on pages and walls…. These containers fill with things we may find difficult to contain within ourselves. I create art that moves using bright water-base paints, 2D animation, recycled machines and other junk, and am persistently drawn to and motivated by art, science and the vital need to reconcile these two halves. Experimenting and making mistakes are my primary techniques. The artists who have influenced me the most are inventor-innovators like Dr. Seuss, Lotte Reininger, Yuri Norstein and Charles-Émile Reynaud. 

BIO: Bridget Riversmith is a self-taught multimedia artist with a disability, and an advocate for disability rights. Riversmith has received grants from Arrowhead Regional Arts Council (made possible through an appropriation from The McKnight Foundation), VSA Minnesota –The State Organization on Arts and Disability (funded in part by the Jerome Foundation), as well as a Jerome Foundation Stipend for the Arts Retreat of New York Mills Regional Cultural Center. She received the Jaehny Award for Most Active and Visible Minnesota Artist with Disabilities at the 11th Annual VSA Minnesota Arts Access Awards. 

If you are unable to make it to the opening next Monday, then be sure to go out of your way to eat lunch there some time soon and take in the visuals while dining fine. 

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