Is it really November already? Despite the warm weather, a new month has crept up on us and with it has brought a new selection of artwork for the good people of Sioux Falls to feast our eyeballs upon. I’ve extended my review to include not only DTSF First Friday on November 6th, but also Second Friday on November 13th!
My first stop on First Friday was IPSO Gallery at Fresh Produce, located next to the Icon Lounge on Main Ave. I’d been looking forward to this solo exhibition by Zach DeBoer ever since hearing it was coming up a few months ago. It did not disappoint!
When I arrived, the gallery was so packed with people that I could barely get in the door! The atmosphere was alive with energy and it was wonderful to see so much excitement for this show. Zach is such an active and tireless proponent for the arts in Sioux Falls that sometimes I wonder how he even manages to get his own artwork done. But alas, the walls were absolutely brimming with his colorful, mysterious mixed media altars and shrines.
From the Facebook event page:
“Zach DeBoer is setting up a Shrine at Ipso Gallery. Part comment on cultural appropriation, part exercise in intuitive collage, Zach plucks up potent symbols at their root and presents them in a new, vibrant, sometimes challenging, and always ornate context. How reverently you observe is up to you.”
Zach’s work is best experienced in person, as many of the pieces are installations with a variety of both 2D and 3D components. Some of them include mirrors, and I couldn’t help but smile and ponder everything from narcissism to my place in human history whenever I caught a glimpse of myself within those ornate golden frames, surrounded by images of classical sculpture and…actual cacti? Yes, I do think those were actual live cacti planted in candle sconces! These pieces are both serious and absurdly humorous, in just the right balance for my taste.
Don’t accept my opinion though; we each bring our own individual meaning and baggage to this work. You have to see it for yourself!
Sioux Falls Design Center
My second stop on First Friday was the Sioux Falls Design Center, located next to Mama’s Ladas on 11th Street. I stayed far too long at IPSO and it was already late and winding down at the Design Center by the time I got there (classic First Friday mistake: folks, you have to come in with a plan and keep an eye on the clock if you want to make it to multiple receptions…hustle, hustle!). The Brighter Possibilities show features the work of University of South Dakota graphic design students. The projects on display are from the Brand Identity and Information Design classes. It appears that Young Ae Kim, USD’s professor of graphic design, has an impressive and hard-working group of students here!
Exposure Gallery & Studios
On the following Friday, November 13th, was the opening reception for Exposure’s new show: Her Gypsum Cliffs, Her Marble Quarries. This month the main gallery features the work of Altman Studeny, while the back gallery is showing work by Eric Atkisson. The buoyant mood at this reception was one of celebration and community.
I don’t even know where to start in describing Altman Studeny’s diverse body of work. From the Facebook event page description:
“Altman is one of the South Dakota Arts Council’s traveling artists and has completed residencies across the state using art as a tool for community building. Altman’s works stretches across a wide variety of topics and media including one-of-a-kind Jell-o installations, black velvet paintings, murals, painting, and more.”
Is that music from the Lawrence Walk Show spinning on the record player? My reaction entering the main gallery was delighted confusion. Is this a gallery, a local museum, a cozy midwest living room from another time, or a potluck at a small town South Dakota church? Maybe all of the above and more? The exhibition is a gathering of Altman’s paintings, collaborative projects he’s worked on from all over the state, and his collection of South Dakota memorabilia and objects of interest.
A keen sense of humor and playfulness is prevalent (who on earth could possibly keep a straight face when confronted with someone dressed up in a giant JELL-O box?) but I didn’t take this work to be only topical laughs. The whole of this show left me with a warm feeling of nostalgia and community very specific to my identity as a South Dakotan. I thought about all the childhood trips with my family to Mount Rushmore and the Cosmos and Wall Drug, and all the memories and trinkets from those times that are still with me. It made me think about the comfort and meaning that can be found in everyday rituals and gatherings, such as baking and sharing food, and how we find, define, and make meaning in our lives uniquely as Midwesterners and even more specifically as South Dakotans.
You may come away with a different interpretation – this is another show you just have to stop in and experience for yourself!
Last, but definitely not least, was Exposure’s back gallery where Eric Atkisson’s mixed media portrait and figure work on wood panels fills the walls. I was taken in by both the subject matter and the technique of this body of work. The texture and patterns of the wood grain show through the paint and are worked in as part of the composition. It gives the figures a richness, atmosphere, and touch of the unexpected that I really enjoyed. It’s simply beautiful work!
That does it for my First Friday AND Second Friday! These exhibitions are up for the whole month so it’s absolutely not too late to check them out.
Till next time, have a happy Thanksgiving and ART ON, Sioux Falls!
Sharon is an artist and designer who specializes in painting and illustration. She has been drawing nonstop since she was just a few years old and have simply never grown out of her obsession with documenting and interpreting the world through imagery. She lives in the great little city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, surrounded by field, prairie, and wide open sky.