June 2015 First Friday Review

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Hello, I’m Sharon! I’m filling in here on the JAM blog for the first time to do a Downtown Sioux Falls First Friday review for June 5th. I was able to make it to four different art receptions that evening, but there were many, many more than that going on. The weather was perfect and downtown was absolutely bustling and buzzing with people!

My first stop was at the Sioux Falls Design Center for Pikachu Night. I mean, PechaKucha Night. PechaKucha isn’t nearly as mysterious as it sounds, though I still can’t pronounce it correctly. It’s a simple presentation format where 20 images are shown, each for 20 seconds, while the speaker talks about the images as they go by.

Pechakucha_sioux_falls_design_center allyson_bousema_prints_and_repeat

I made it just as the second speaker, Allyson Bousema, was starting. It was standing-room only and I could barely get in the door! Allyson was speaking about her new business, Prints & Repeat, a printing company focused on the unique needs of artists.


The first speaker, which I regretfully missed, was Klaire Pearson. Her glossy, glowing, life-sized oil paintings of women lined an entire wall of the Design Center and I could hardly take my eyes off them. These stunning representational portraits address femininity and feminism, while incorporating humor.

Between each PechaKucha presentation is downtime to mingle and sip drinks. I was impressed by the size of the crowd present and the enthusiasm of everyone involved!
My next stop was Rehfeld’s Art & Framing. Rehfeld’s features the work of different local artists each month and on First Fridays the featured artists are present to meet and greet the public. For June, it’s Jenny Braig, Brad Kringen, Jordan Thornton, and Andrew Billion. Rehfeld’s is much larger than it looks from the outside and there’s no shortage of art to see in addition to that of the featured artists.
 brad_kringen_rehfelds brad_kringen_paintings
Jenny Braig is a landscape painter from Spearfish. Her work was displayed alongside large, colorful acrylic abstracts by Brad Kringen in the front and center of the gallery. I didn’t have much time to spend with this work so I plan to stop in again later in the month to take them in fully (ProTip: I often return to exhibitions during a quieter time to experience the work again, as most First Friday shows are up for the full month).
Jordan Thornton’s dimensional shadowbox prints were bringing the flat walls to life in a front window of Rehfeld’s. Her intricate, softly colored flowers, roots, and vegetables are a delight and I felt I had to look at them from every angle so as not to miss anything. There’s more to her work than initially meets the eye. Andrew Billion’s expertly crafted ceramic vessels were arranged beneath Jordan’s work in the same area and the overall effect was extremely pleasing.
Next on my list was Vishnu Bunny Tattoo to see Shaine Schroeder‘s Black Rose Bouquet show. As always at Vishnu, I was greeted at the open doorway and offered a free water or beverage of choice. The atmosphere is inviting and laid-back.
The setup for artwork at Vishnu Bunny is a long wall of chainlink fence where work can easily be hung in interesting groupings. Shaine’s bright, energetic paintings are a lot of fun and are a perfect match for this bright, energetic space.
Last, but definitely not least, was Exposure Gallery & Studios. In cases when I’m in a time crunch and can only make it to one show on a First Friday, it’s always Exposure where you’ll find me. This month’s show is called Small Offerings, with works by Cassie Marie Edwards in the main gallery and Les Cotton‘s work in the back gallery.
Cassie_marie_edwards_paintings cassie_marie_edwards_painting
Cassie’s figurine portraits are irresistible. The lighting, colors, and composition of each piece are masterfully chosen to capture the unique character of each figurine. I found myself thinking about what the surface of each figurine felt like. I lost count of how many times I used the word “shiny” to describe these pieces! Sadly, Cassie will be moving away from our great state soon so don’t miss your chance to see her paintings on display right here in Sioux Falls.
 leslie_cotton_sioux_falls Les_cotton_exposure Walking into the back gallery, I was struck by black and white with little punches of neon pink. I let myself escape into the complexity of Les Cotton’s drawings for a good long while. Returning to reality is decidedly boring after that. Coming into this exhibition, I didn’t see Cassie and Les’s work as having anything much in common. By the end of the night, I came to believe that humor is the common thread; there’s a lighthearted sense of humor that balances the seriousness in each of their bodies of work. Their artworks both have the ability to make me smile in very different ways.
Well, that sums up my fantastic First Friday for the month! How was yours, Sioux Falls?
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