Monday, November 14, 2016

4North at the DAI Reminds Us That We All Come From Somewhere

"In America, we all come from somewhere else, and we carry along some dream myth of home: a notion that something - our point of origin, our roots, the home country - is out there."
~Bobby Ann Mason

Art does not appear in a vacuum. An artist's passions and proclivities dictate much of the subject matter. This past Thursday the eagerly awaited 4North show opened in the Morrison Gallery in conjunction with the 61st Biennial at the Duluth Art Institute on the fourth floor of the Depot.

Here's the show's summary, as published on the DAI website:
“4North: New Work by Alison Aune, Kirsten Aune, Ann Klefstad, and Arna Rennan” explores a sense of place through four distinct voices. The artists share a Scandinavian heritage, as well as live and work in northern Minnesota. While the four create in disparate media—painting, sculpture, and textile arts—the threads connecting their work reveal a deep reverence for the natural world and the translation and transmutation of patterns and symbols.

Lofotbadlands, Arna Rennan
As anyone who has been part of our community knows well, there are plenty of reminders that our heritage remains part of the fabric of life here in Northern Minnesota. It's more than just the Sons of Norway Building downtown, or Leif Erickson Park, or all the Johnsons and Nelsons, Swedes, Finns and Norwegians.

Some of the appeal of our region to these early immigrants was the similarity of the landscape and climate to their homeland. Even the animals are similar. (Check out Ann Klefstad's assortment of critters.) Many of the immigrant communities that formed in Minnesota began small, but letters home attracted family and friends who brought the shared language and values.

Grandfathers, by Arna Rennan
The artwork included sculpture, textiles and paintings. The gallery atmosphere included vibrant warmth and enthusiastic appreciation for a show well received.

All four women share a Scandinavian heritage. The four artists also live and work in Northern Minnesota. Though the work be diverse, there were numerous common characteristics

The hallways gallery featured animalia by Ann Klefstad. If you ascend to the gallery by means of the elevator, you will begin here with the rabbit, the turtle, the badger and other residents of our region's natural habitat, painted on wooden panels. Inside the gallery itself, be sure to stroke the burnt wolf. Usually you are asked not to touch the work, but in this case you have permission to pet its forehead. Be prepared for a surprise, though.

For more about this show, visit this blogpost featuring Alison Aune's work.

The pictures here are an inadequate summery of what you will find, though you will readily notice the vibrant palette, and intricate detail in much of the work.  I hope you will go out of your way to see this exhibition.

Kirsten Aune designs were also being worn by several young women during the event.
 Meantime, art goes on all around you. Dig it.

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