Thursday, May 14, 2015

Local Art Seen: Erin M. Whight at the Zeitgeist Atrium

Yesterday I experienced something of a shock when I discovered that a friend of mine had never set foot inside the Zeitgeist Building at 222 East Superior Street. With funding by the Zeppa Foundation this wonderful addition to our community has hosted innumerable events including theater, art, poetry readings, and film festivals. The Zeitgeist Cafe, re-created on the charred remains of the former Red Lion Bar, is not only a work of art itself, the food is equally aesthetic. I mean, the chef is himself an artist. I am talking about presentation here, not painting.

An aside: Have you noticed how much attention is being paid to the food we eat now? For a decade or two it's been about the nutritional value of various foods, but in recent years it has expanded to included the look of the dish as it is served as well. This isn't really altogether new because my grandmother had a painter friend who believed a real meal should have every color of the rainbow represented on the plate as it was being served. (My grandmother called her Crumpett and she was a fabulous seascape painter.)

"Miss Baker's Breakfast"
All this to say that the Zeitgeist Atrium offers many opportunities to see really fascinating work by regional artists, the current exhibition featuring work my Erin M. Whight. Whight is a self-taught artist who was born in Minot, North Dakota in 1984. She refined her skills by painting murals, tompe l'oeil, scrimshaw and faux decorative painting under the guidance of Karen Ward, owner of Nantucket Decorative Painting in Massachusetts. While in college she did take some art classes while on the way to her Doctorate in Physical Therapy, a career she is pursuing here in Duluth along with her art. Art is therapy, too, but that's another story.

Highly recommended: find a way to take a walk through the Atrium of the Zeitgeist this coming week. Skip the sidewalk for a few minutes and enjoy what you see.

Titled "Made" this photo fails to capture the complexity of this amazing piece.
This piece titled "Happy" made me laugh. Our dogs have never been more happy than when they were chasing a ball.

* * * *
Don't forget tonight's openings at the Tweed  and the Duluth Art Institute. And Dylan Fest begins this weekend. If you can't do something every night, look over the schedule and select a few events for this year and try some others next.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it.

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