Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Local Art Seen: Penny Perry in the John Steffl Gallery at the Depot

Despite nasty Northland weather last Thursday evening, as many as 250 people stopped in at the opening reception for three new exhibitions at the Duluth Art Institute: Tia Keobounpheng's 100 Days in the Corridor Gallery, David Short's Type 13 in the Morrison Gallery and Penny Perry's Art & Craft in the Steffl.

Perry's pieces reflected a variety of mediums from ink on paper and acrylic on canvas to stained glass, photography and wood. A number of paintings featured a bird-character that made me think of surrealist Max Ernst's Loplop, a birdlike character that appeared in his collages and paintings that in his case served as an alter-ego.

Penny Perry has played an instrumental role in helping the Zeitgeist maintain wall art in the restaurant and Atrium. A handout accompanying the show states that she "is the youngest of four daughters that grew up on the family farm in Spooner, Wisconsin. Her life is blessed with creative, generous teachers and mentors, two and four-legged. She graduated UW-Superior with a degree in Theater & Art and for the past thirty-seven years has owned/operated the family business Perry Framing & Stained Glass that still maintains its original location in Downtown Duluth."

She has a strong following in the local arts scene, quietly influential.

Again, from her statement: “I relish in details of texture, juxtaposition, layered depth of color. Refined shape of negative space. Tension and resonance between colors, notes, words...I trust my right hand-to-eye to draw what I see, and the left to paint what isn’t seen. “

"Woven Together" -- Copper wire and driftwood

Titles always interest me. Here are a few titles of pieces in this show: The Dream Disintegrates Sideways, After the Torrent, Inadvertent Imprint, Hard Times Chair Tumbles from the Past, Oliver Reflections, Lost Marble, Dreamed Memory and Temporal Display, among many others. Be sure to pick up the handout when you visit.

* * * *
It's that time of year again. Wednesday through Friday is the window for bringing work to the Duluth Art Institute for the DAI Member Show. The show itself is the following Thursday, January 25. This show, which features a new piece of artwork created by members during the past year, is always very special and takes place in the Great Hall of the Depot, 5:00 p.m. till 7:00 p.m. A highlight of the show is a member-selected "Best of Show" piece. It's rewarding to see how much variety and talent there is in the community.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Get into it.

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