March First Friday, 2016

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My goodness there is already so much to see in Sioux Falls and it’s not even summer! Spring has hardly sprung and the town was popping on Friday night. If you have not been downtown on a First Friday, you are seriously not tasting the heart of Sioux Falls.

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I started my night at JAM Art and Supplies. Jess and her crew of volunteers always know how to create an inviting, and ever changing environment at the shop. Their new sales include spring decor and an impressive amount of flowers.

Stepping through the doorway into Exposure Gallery, there were numerous multimedia pieces created by college students throughout the state. The walls were carefully curated with artwork that was calm, bold, moving, and thought provoking. I was left with a real sense that the sheer skill our students are building in this state.

Exposure’s back gallery was robustly welcoming with Angela Meyer’s multimedia paintings. Her grasp on scenery and architecture allows you to create stories in imagery that is gritty, deep, dreamlike, and surreal.

With little time to bathe in the majesty of Exposure – which, let’s be honest, each gallery could hold you for quite a while – I headed to East Bank Gallery. Immediately, I was struck with an unfathomable plethora of artwork. If you know me, I can talk for ages. Unfortunately, I’ll have to list several artists without gushing over them. But the main event consisted of Steve Beaubien and Hector Curriel.

Beaubien showcased what he called, “15 years of work, plus two hours”. Beaubien works en plein air, or out in the field. Regardless of the weather, he captures the region’s landscape in rich oils with striking color.

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Hector Curriel provided a wide display of work titled Falls Park Views. He worked for 8 months on a series of watercolor paintings in which he searched, “for the beauty and feelings of the space”. His watercolor work is smooth, evocative, and photographic. Curriel’s mastery over warm colors and light made me feel as though I was watching a flashback. Curriel went on to say, “watercolor is challenging, it doesn’t offer second chances. While Falls Park is spiritual, refreshing, and special.”

Other artists featured were:

  • Jess Elofson: Masterfully crafted pottery
  • Amy Kasten: Upcycled tin jewelry, blasting from that past
  • Jim Brummond: a cartoonist featuring classical work in gesso and paint on masonite
  • Cathleen Benberg: cats explored through paint marker
  • Glen Bruns: emotive and abstract collage
  • Cheryl Longseth: photographic acrylic paintings
  • Joan Putman: expressive portraits and stills in chalk, oil, and pencil
  • Diane Howey: finely-crafted, handmade jewelry
  • Boyd McPeek: abstract and imaginative cartooning
  • Jim Heroux: expressive scenery and stills in watercolor and pen
  • Steve Brummond: impressionistic oil scenes
  • Greg Den Otter: abstract gunpowder
  • Jill Frederick:  glass nuggets
  • Steve Boint: ink illustrations
  • Jackie Krouse: abstract acrylic
  • Karl Dulitz: fine pottery
  • Robert J Alden: abstract scenes
  • Marianne Larsen: photography
  • D Howey: gourd art
  • Julie Punt: pottery
  • Roger Ellingson: scenery and impressionism

From Eastbank, I boogied down to Coffea, to enjoy some bluegrass. The coffee house brought in Dalton Coffey and Clyde Teel. Luckily, I ran into Alex Olson and Andrew Billion who could elaborate on their show. Coffey played dobro, an instrument which Billion called, “the duck-billed platypus of instruments. It’s like a guitar mixed with a banjo… and a cello. But it’s a slide”. If that makes little sense, let me say that these two could play bluegrass so warm and fiery that anyone would want to dance. Olson commented that he’d put Dalton up against any dobro player in the world, “even Jerry Douglas, the musician most renown for playing the instrument.” Needless to say, the blues pair packed the house.

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The next logical step was Vishnu Bunny’s rising Third Eye Gallery next door. Nando, the gallery’s curator, put together a show of local paintings. Being a tattoo parlor often brings in more eccentric, or diverse work. This show featured artist Jennifer White, Scott Ehrisman, Rebecca Gehm, Brandon Benedict, and Sara Bainter. Sara said she does art, “for the human psyche,” and that it makes her feel better. The cathartic possibility of painting was present in the gallery that showed pieces from photo realism to the political abstract.

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Unfortunately, at this point, I experienced the biggest let down of the evening. I ran out of time to see it all. Downtown came to life as if hibernation was far behind it. Other events included the Washington Pavilion hosting their own The Price is Right, and Zandbros bringing in author Derek Cressman to discuss his new book “When Money Talks.”

If you missed out this month, don’t hesitate in April! You can always check out DTSF’s website to see what’s on the horizon. No matter how you participate, I assure you, you will not be disappointed.

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