Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Opening Reception for Three Exhibits, February 23 at the DAI and More

The opening reception for the triple exhibition of Carla Hamilton, Elizabeth Kuth and UMD Student Photography is rapidly moving into view. Just over two weeks from today this is a show I've very much been looking forward to. Here are some notes to get you motivated.

“Gezielt (Targeted)”

Feb. 23 – April 9, 2017

"Ghost Fathers" from her show Durch Wasser rennen.
If I remember correctly, DAI director Annie Dugan lives in Wrenshall, as does popular local author Lucie Amundson. Carla Hamilton grew up there in the small rural community and then left the region to spend nearly 18 years in Germany, where she studied classic art techniques at the Freie Kunstschule. Hence the German titles of her shows and much of her work.

Hamilton returned to Minnesota in 2012 and turned from traditional painting techniques to mixed media, employing repurposed objects in her work. This current series comes from an “experience of walking while black.” In spring 2015 she was stopped by a cop and accused of bothering her two white friends. She states: “My fear from the incident spurred me to request mediation and body camera footage. The mediation process was a great exchange—the officers saw me as more of a person and I saw them as people, too. This work comes from processing both the original experience as well as the productive aftermath. We can’t ignore the things that happen and in order to move forward we have to talk.”

Her initiative fostered learning opportunities. The dialogue proved helpful not only for Hamilton but also for the officers as well. Bringing her art to the Duluth Art Institute is another step toward bringing understanding as regards police/community relations. "You don't have to do anything wrong to get arrested," Carla told me last summer. "I get stereotyped all the time." Her life in Germany taught her that what's happening here in the Northland could be better.

“Rooted Expression” 
Feb. 16 – April 9, 2017

There's much anticipation to see the new paintings by Elizabeth Kuth. I myself love her painterliness and the ways she uses paint to evoke subconscious, childlike forms. Her textures and surfaces can dramatic. Kuth’s work conveys her search for meaning and purpose.

In December she exhibited work from 2014-2016 at the new Studio 3 West Gallery where she also talked about her paintings. Kuth, who said she paints from the gut, explained, "I learn about myself as I paint," noting that it's a very determined process for finding out more about yourself.

UMD Student Photography
The Corrdior Gallery at the DAI will exhibit photography by University of Minnesota-Duluth students. This annual exhibit showcases their learning in photo theory as well as digital, analog and hybrid techniques mastered by the region’s post-secondary students. This year’s photographers are Katie Bertucci, Keegan Burckhard, Liz Huninghake, Wilson Johnson, Sammie Lundberg, Kaitie Sauer, Eric Soderberg and Emily Theisen. This exhibit, which will be on the walls outside the DAI office and board room, is curated by the DAI Artist Services Director, Amber White.

The reception is free and open to all, with live music by Emanuel Eisele.

* * * *
There are a number of programs taking place in March that relate to thes exhibits. One of these is a Wiki Edit-a-Thon for Arts & Equality, March 5 at the Lincoln Center DAI. There will also be a forum addressing art, race and community policing (with panelists including Hamilton, City of Duluth Human Rights Officer Carl Crawford; Chief of Police Mike Tusken; and local NAACP president Stephan Witherspoon). And Studio 3 West is hosting a feminist art opening in March called Wtf. It's apparent that the DAI is expanding its Duluth footprint.

February 23 is the first date of note, though. Will we see you there?
Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it.

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