First Friday Review: August 7, 2015

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August can be a bittersweet month. It’s summer, but school is creeping up in a matter of weeks. We’re wearing shorts and tank tops, but planning an autumn wardrobe. There’s no snow, but it’s so hot and humid that simply taking a shower seems fruitless most days. Thankfully, First Friday comes with beer, wine, snacks, and an intellectual feast of the artistic variety to cool us off as we jump into the end of summer.

I began my gallery hunt at JAM Art & Supplies and Exposure Gallery & Studios. In Exposure’s main gallery, my thirst for weird, contemporary art was quenched by “Strange Loops: the work of Eli Show,” a glimpse at the MFA work of one of JAM’s very own bloggers. In Exposure’s back gallery, the work of Kevin Caraway complimented Eli’s work with a subtle color palette and a well thought out transition between old and new work.

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Eli Show
Eli Show
Kevin Caraway
Kevin Caraway

Just a block away at Icon Event Hall & Lounge, a group of artists came together to speak out and embrace the varying cultures of our community through an exhibition called “Candid Perspectives on Race.” A few of the artists represented were Jennifer White, Jerry Fogg, and Rayna Hernandez.

Icon wasn’t the only place our eyes rested on the work of Jerry Fogg. At Prairie Star Gallery, the bittersweet feeling of August came in the form of a nose full of burning sage and eyes full of the artwork of many talented indigenous artists. The calming atmosphere that is Prairie Star Gallery hosted their last First Friday event this month, as was the fear in my article on the gallery earlier this year. The cultural gateway these doors provide will close at the end of August, never to open again as Prairie Star Gallery. Take some time out of your month to head downtown and show support. IMG_4039

Just around the corner, the Sioux Falls Design Center was hosting a reception that shed some light on OTA, a conference that aims to bring the creative souls of a few distinct Midwestern states together to empower one another. The images and film shown gave a stimulating glimpse into the talent our humble “-ota” states with the faces and words of people such as Wes Eisenhauer, Ashley Morken, Joe Riis, and many more.

image taken from the SFDC event page
image taken from the SFDC event page

Down the street at Meso, the local artists of Roosevelt High school crossed cultures with some students in Belize to create a heartwarming gallery of portraits and letters that the students exchanged.

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After Meso, I wandered a few doors down to celebrate the artwork of JAM’s Executive Director, Jess Johnson, at Rehfeld’s. Jess created a new body of work for the exhibition. The more intimate scale of these pieces reflected the subject matter – motherhood, home, and the inside of an artist’s sketchbook. Her work will be on display at Rehfeld’s for the month of August.

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image taken from Rehfeld's event page. Work by Jess Johnson
image taken from Rehfeld’s event page. Work by Jess Johnson

We then stopped by Coffea Roasterie & Espresso Bar to see Matthew West do some live 3D printing alongside a display of previously completed prints. I had the pleasure of helping to install this particular show earlier in the week, so seeing the bustle of viewers around the artwork and the interest in the printing was particularly enjoyable.

Not to be forgotten, we closed our First Friday tour at Eastbank Art Gallery down at 8th & Railroad and then hit the block party there. Eastbank’s featured artists for August are Boyd McPeek and Tom Shields.

This is the end of the article, but not the end of First Friday. Every month we come together and celebrate the work of our local art community. Come downtown and see the work that decorates our town in August and join us in our First Friday artistic endeavors next month.

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