Thursday, February 11, 2016

When I Paint My Masterpiece: DAI Presents "Public Doman" & "Land of Wonder"

"Someday, everything is gonna be diff’rent when I paint my masterpiece."

One privilege of youth is that you can throw caution to the wind and liberally pursue your passions, no strings to tie you down. The whole experience is made richer by the recklessness of your abandon. Even when you get too close to the sun because you tried to kiss the sky and the the heat melts the wax off your feathers, you can later remember with fondness how it felt... assuming you have a place to make a soft landing.

Later in life you have too many responsibilities to be so carefree. If you have assets you have to think about them. If you have children, a job, a mortgage... you cannot -- unless you're a one-percenter -- just set out like a message in a bottle leaving your destination to the wind and currents.

I mention all this because tonight Ken Bloom's photography exhibit "Public Doman" goes on display at the Duluth Art Institute. In his youth, Bloom followed his bliss and bought a one way ticket to Japan, accompanied by his Leica camera. "Public Domain" is a fulfilling backward look at this experience.

Bloom is Director of the Tweed Museum of Art located on the campus of UMD. Tonight is the opening reception for this show in the Morrison Gallery along with Shawna Gilmore's exhibition of new work. Both galleries are on the fourth floor of the Duluth Depot.

You will find “Land of Wonder: New Paintings by Shawna Gilmore” in the John Steffl Gallery. Gilmore, who paints in acrylic, is a storyteller whose imagery crosses generations. On March 9 she will be giving a family-friendly Artist Talk that will include youth activities, but her work isn't all kid's stuff. As Picasso famously quipped, "It takes a lifetime to learn how to paint like a child." In this case, it is learning to paint with the eyes of a child, to see something fresh in the world we move through and often take for granted. A special feature of this exhibit is a cell phone audio tour stop, where you can listen to the artist talk about her work.

When Jim Morrison of The Doors sang, "This is the strangest life I've ever known" he conveyed it with an ominous texture. Gilmore's world may also be a rendering of strange imagery, but her stories reflect whimsy and delight. You can get a feel for her approach by reading about her show at the Kruk Gallery at UWS last fall.

Also on display during tonight's event is the annual Members Exhibition in the Depot's Great Hall, comprised of work by DAI members created during the past year. If you missed that reception in January, here's a second chance.

For more, visit the Facebook page for this event.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Check it out. It's free.

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