September’s First Friday was filled with new experiences and new friendships. I challenged myself this month by doing as many different and exciting things as I could. Having my artwork present in two separate group art shows, while simultaneously displaying quality, was a big part of that challenge.
My First Friday morning began with appearing on KELOLAND News to chat about the 5th Annual Tallgrass Recovery Art Show at Exposure Gallery, along with artists Betsy Ashworth and Joan Zephier. Personally, this wasn’t a first time being interviewed about my artwork, but it was a first having it air on television. As nerve-wracking as it was to piece together what I’d say to KELO, it was all worth it. Being able to have the chance to speak about a powerfully impacting exhibition is well worth any amount of nerves. I’m so thankful for Joan and everyone involved with the show.
The most surprising thing was the intense amount of people that showed up just for this healing event. I’m, at times, the type of person that would rather stay home and resist any chance to interact with people. Then there are special times that I’m able to move into a healthier mood that pushes me to meet folks and reach out. The reception was an incredibly eventful first.
A fun, interactive aspect to the exhibit is the People’s Choice Award. Attendees were asked to cast their vote before they left. With the pieces being displayed the entire month of September, I hope you have a chance to stop by to look around.
I enjoy seeing written, story-like pieces beside a visual artwork. It’s even more powerful when the viewer gets a written accompaniment to help lead their thinking, and walk them down a path of interpretation. I like to look for little body cues as viewers take in my work, as well. When someone is reading what I’ve placed before them, and they realize how it fits with everything else they’re seeing, that’s one of my favorite moments. It’s almost like an electric connection is sparked inside their eyes. Witnessing people light up with a specific passion for any artwork is a treat.
At 7:00 p.m. I had to hop, skip, and jump over to Vishnu Bunny Tattoo for the other group show I took part in this month. This show served as an introduction to local artists that the community may not have known about otherwise.
Both Exposure and Third Eye Gallery at Vishnu are constantly brainstorming new topics and themes for artists to submit and present on. Keep your eyes peeled for calls for art. A great resource is our very own Call For Art page on JAM’s website!
I’m not a fan of bland artist statements. I like to give information in a more engaging and fun way. The “theme” of my work displayed at Vishnu is similar to a timeline with missing chunks. So, I decided to make my statement more of a funky story to follow along with. I noticed that during the night, I had to point this fact out to folks. Most of whom I chatted with had never heard of an artist statement that didn’t just state the obvious facts.
For those of you reading who are wondering how to get your work into galleries, just keep going. Connect. Keep pushing. Keep meeting people. Keep working on your art. Keep taking in constructive criticism. Keep positive. What more is there to say? www.patreon.com/HannahWendt
Meeting Angela was a wonderful experience! I not only enjoyed insight into her work, but made a new friend. I was surprised to discover several pieces of artwork around Sioux Falls, that have left a significant mark on me, are hers. I was delighted to have the chance to chat more in-depth about those subjects with the artist herself.
Before any questions were asked, Angela jumped right into talking about her work.
In 2012, I had a solo exhibition. My work was right outside that really long gallery–that A Gallery–I got to have that gallery during the “Beauty and The Beast show.” I did kind of a reboot of the piece that was on the wall. It was all these little bags of clear perfect water, and they were kind of jewel-like. It was suppose to be like a power plant, that could conduct energy from one end of the wall to the other. The wall was close to 30 feet long. So, I sent all of the energy down to one end and then it gathered with the copper wires connecting all of those. It gathered in a mirror, and I had crocheted some copper wire and put a bunch of stuff around that mirror so that the energy would gather around these little wires and come into that. We set up the lights so that the round mirror would reflect the spot of light down onto the floor. It was hung at a height where most people could see themselves in it, but they could also see other parts of the show around them.
I really liked that idea, but when the opportunity for the “Women at Work” show came up, I’m like ‘you know, I think it should be an installation piece instead of, you know, just an object.’ And so, I put that one up. I put India ink into some of the water bags. So there are some that are clear and beautiful and the light doesn’t really refract, but it’s bent to shine spots on the wall from when the lights hit it. Some of them got a tint, and some of them didn’t. Some of them got a lot of ink so that they were just super black. All of the black is up here on the top of the installation, so some of the lighter stuff is down below, and there’s a spot over here that’s the bright clear water. It’s about water quality and us needing to save that resource and pipelines, and fracking and the fail rate.
You’re probably familiar with the feathers and branches in the Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center. So, that’s one of mine that’s in a collection now. As part of a collaboration with Post Pilgrim and the Sioux Falls Design Center, Jennifer White and I did a Final Friday with the chalkboards. As far as I know, the chalkboards are still up. That night there were people leaning up against the wall, and as soon as they walked away I would be over there with the chalk fixing it. I guess I’m just a little bit of a freak that way.
A few steps down the street from the Sioux Falls Design Center is the Shriver’s window. You don’t have to go inside the building to see it, it’s just the corner display window at 11th and Phillips. I’ve got that 18 foot raw canvas laying on the floor. I had that thing along with me from when I went on the camping trip that produced the “sold” pictures on the boards. It was a site in the South Jenny Lake in the shadow of the national park. I rolled the canvas out on my camp site, and I brought a little bit of tobacco. I had worked with tobacco before as a staining drying material, so that ended up being the brown color. I made some bison on the canvas. Then I needed charcoal, so I kind of fished some stuff out of my camp fire. Along with that installation, I had made these tripods out of branches. They were meant to hold the canvas up. When I went to install the thing, I had some engineering issues and it didn’t work. Now, they are kind of a backdrop, or forest to that installation. So you walk up to the window, and you look down to see the piece.
I did a Final Friday that was in conjunction with the PechaKucha. You get 20 images and you get 20 seconds per image. You are presenting whatever ideas, artwork, whatever it is that you do and that you’re passionate about. You share that, and then it goes up on a website. I haven’t had the guts to go listen to mine. I was so busy with Jennifer getting the “Love or Money” show together that I didn’t spend a lot of time preparing the PechaKucha. Anyway, it’s out there on the Net for everybody to see!
MAST (Madison Area Stands Together) is a local group that formed after the presidential election last year. There was a lot of concern about the travel bans, and the Visa issues. I work at Dakota State University, and we’ve got a lot of international students and faculty members, too, who are from all over the world, and they’re suddenly not able to move about and come and do their jobs. Everything was all kind of scary. So, we held a candle light vigil for them, just to let them know that we care and are concerned, too. This group developed out of that sense of helplessness. It recently came up that they need to have a logo. So, I don’t know if this [see below] is going to be their final design, but I proposed it and people seem to be fairly excited about it. It was important that there was this sturdy something. I wanted that awareness with the eyes and everything. Then also, the horns are not being used, but they could be, you know. It’s like this defensible possibility. And black and white is pretty powerful.
You just answered several of my questions there before I could even get to them. I like it–this should be a great time! Are you from Madison?
I’m from southwestern Minnesota. I got out of there as quickly as I possibly could. I went to college in central Minnesota, and then I went to the Twin Cities, and kind of bounced all over the place there. I was a little too distracted, so I went back to UMM–University of Minnesota, Morris–to finish college and I floundered around for another number of years, then I went to graduate school in Lincoln, Nebraska. After that I moved to Vancouver, Washington for 7 or 8 years, and then I moved to South Dakota.
So, was your degree centered around your artwork?
Yes, my masters degree is in sculpture. My undergraduate work was a duel emphasis in sculpture and printmaking. I tried to continue with printmaking in graduate school, but it didn’t work out very well. I had a studio that I loved, but it was in this dumpy old building that they were going to tear down. But it was a good quarter mile from the print studios, so that was kind of tough to get stuff back and forth, and I didn’t have any storage space in the print area. I mean, for graduate students, you just kind of carve out your space. You know, it’s all self directed, and I was busy enough with sculpture.
So then, how long have you been in South Dakota?
2009. So, it’s close to eight and a half years. I’ve been at Dakota State University for eight years, and I started out there with one 3-D Design class, but that wasn’t enough to pay my rent. So, I taught ESL for one semester.
Cool! You’ve been here for a while then. You have your artwork and teach, too?
Yes. I am employed full-time as a lecturer of art at Dakota State University in the digital and arts design department. During the summers, I haven’t done it for a couple of years, but this year I’m working as a part-time naturalist at Lake Herman State Park in Walkers Point Recreational Area. It’s kinda cool. I get the opportunity to come into contact with lots of different kinds of people. You know, especially with the DSU stuff with students, and faculty, and community. I always try to get my students to focus on something that’s outside of the classroom. It’s not just about earning a grade; I mean it’s important stuff, this visual communication. We’ve got so much screen time and everything. I make them do everything analog. They have to cut paper, they have to tear things and make collages.
I’m not too great with technology, so that style is perfect for how my mind works.
Well, I kind of call myself a dinosaur. I have sort of actively resisted–I mean I do the things I’m supposed to do for my job. I just think [technology] is another medium you can work in. Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign; these are digital tools you can use, but you still need to have those basic design skills to make something descent. The MAST design that I made is cut paper. I started with drawing it on paper, and then cutting it out with an exact-o knife. Then I printed out the text that I wanted to have on there. I’m perfectly happy with designing the font, or the typeface, I should say. You have to have a sense of composition. You have to be able to make things communicate what they need to communicate. The digital image manipulation is not the end all of design skills. Yeah, I’m a dinosaur.
You’ve already mentioned different inspirations that you have, do you have more that influence you?
I think it’s vitally important that people connect with nature, and that has been so lacking. It’s like there’s this spiritual deficit, I think; maybe even like a sink hole. We get enough racing around, driving around looking at screens, typing things, you know. If you’re taking notes on a computer, you’re not making the same neural connections you would if you are writing with a pencil on paper, or drawing. You know, you have to have this physical connection with the stuff that you’re learning. It’s not as effective to just type things, and look at it on a screen. So, yes, there’s all this technology that we deal with, it is wonderful. There are things that give lots more efficiency, but do we really keep moving at that pace? It’s making everybody sick. Everybody’s not getting enough movement, enough exercise. It drives me crazy, and I’m in the middle of it, too. When I make something, installation work especially, when I make work I’m really careful about the path of the energy, and the path of the people in that energy. I work my ass off when I have the opportunity to put something up. Humility also has a place here. I’m always unsure about it, but I work as good as I can so that I can offer it as a gift to the people that go and see it. When I say I’ve got this show up and I want you to go see it, that’s like me with a little gift with a bow on it offering this experience, because I want to give that. I think it will do something, it will help somebody, or make them feel a certain way, or give them a moment of peace, or something like that. So, that’s my gift. I realize a lot of times when I’m saying, ‘go see the show’, and doing all that self promotion, it’s not self promotion to make a career for me. It’s that there’s a gift that I want to offer that’s not going to get unwrapped if you don’t go and see it.
Yeah, I like that point…where it’s just two-dimensional, and people just looking at something. I think sometimes people need that three-dimensional installation that’s actually intruding into their space. It’s very important, I agree.
So, it’s more experiential than something you would just look at. I think installation, and sculpture–three-dimensional stuff–has an easier inlet. There’s a lot of paintings out there, but there’s probably not a lot of paintings that will really pull you in and offer you the kind of physical, or emotional, experience that an environment can. That said, I’m not trying to make judgments on things that I don’t respond to.
Now, how can people contact you? Do you have a website?
Facebook is just fine. My profile picture is me kissing a fake bison. I do have a blog site. I call it an images only blog site, but I haven’t done a really good job of keeping up with stuff on that. So, most of the stuff is older. That is a place where they could go and see things.
Can you describe your work, art and everything else, along with who you are in three words, or I should say, in three “sections”?
Art, nature, joy. Those are the things that I seek, and seek to share. I want to add something for people who are stopping themselves because “I can’t draw, I can’t do this, or I can’t do that.” It’s really, really, really important for your heart and soul to just make stuff, and experience stuff. You know, get away from your computer for a little while, and connect with people and connect with nature. Really, really, really important. That’ll make us happier, and it’ll make the world a better place…make it easier to live in.
For five years Reina Okawa’s cranes have greeted visitors at the north entrance of the Washington Pavilion. But this fall, the exhibit comes down. This Tuesday, August 29, the Pavilion offers a last gathering to appreciate the cranes that have become a fixture in the Sioux Falls community. The cranes have been at the Pavilion so long that Meagan Dion, the lead curator for the Visual Arts Center, clarified that the exhibit was always a temporary one. “It wasn’t ever intended to become a permanent installation,” she said. “But we wanted to give people as much time to appreciate [the cranes] as possible.”
Since they were installed in 2012, the cranes have become a Sioux Falls community favorite. The send-off event on August 29, “Release the Cranes! A Farewell Party”, celebrates the partnership between Reina Okawa and the Pavilion and gives the community a chance to say goodbye to the exhibit. Okawa will be at the event, though the actual removal of the cranes will not happen until later. The 30-foot-long strings of “You, Me and the Cranes” hold thousands of origami cranes, a limited number of which will be given away early at the party.
The farewell party intends to alert everyone that the cranes are going away, and ensure that the community has a chance to say goodbye. “We just want to make sure people can enjoy them one last time,” said Dion.
Some of Okawa’s other origami work is on display in the “Above the Fold” exhibit in the Visual Arts Center Gallery until September 16, 2017. The Visual Arts Center will be closed during the farewell party, but the cranes and her work in the gallery can be viewed any time the building is open until the end of the exhibition. Please join us in saying goodbye to the cranes from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29. If you’ve only seen the large cranes towards the bottom of the strings, try going to the fourth floor to see the smaller more colorful ones! You can RSVP on Facebook to the “Release the Cranes! A Farewell Party”.
For several months, I have wanted to visit the Museum of Visual Materials for their First Friday art receptions. My first impression was joy when I saw their sidewalk covered in fun chalk doodles. The smell of savory wine and cheese definitely peaked my senses. For someone who has never stepped into the building, I thought that the layout of the space helped me feel welcome to walk about and spark up conversation over the artwork by artist Isz.
Once I noticed my time was rapidly escaping me, I decided to move on to my next destination, the 8th and Railroad Center. Boy, was I surprised to find the chance to ride a mechanical bull!
After the sweet seduction of the delicious food trucks, I wandered into the Eastbank Gallery. They had some fun, new art displayed throughout the space. I can’t help, but take my time to gaze upon these diverse artist’s work.
On my way to the Washington Pavilion, I spotted one of the most artistic paintwork on a vehicle I have ever witnessed. I’d be telling myself lies if I said I wasn’t impressed. To be honest, I’m quite jealous and was considering doing the same to my own car.
As usual, the artists being held at the Pavilion always are enjoyably engaging and ever breathtaking!
A large crowd gathered in the Schultz Gallery for the opening reception of local artist, Anna Youngers.
Right outside Lucky’s stands Steve Bormes‘ sculpture, “School Spirit,” which is part of the Sculpture Walk. I try to take the long way around downtown just to see all of these wonderful sculptures as much as possible, even when driving to work.
There have only been a hand full of times that I’ve seen inside the Rehfeld’s Gallery. For me, each time seems to get richer as I explore the layout of artists.
Just a hop, skip, and jump away from Rehfeld’s is Vishnu Bunny and their Third Eye Gallery. Each month they host different artists, along with a different theme. All I can say is, you’ll want to go check them out!
With the night slipping away, I found myself getting my nightly caffeine crave. What a better situation having the downtown Coffea right next door to Vishnu… Yay, that means more art!
I am someone who is incredibly receptive of my surroundings. That amazing doughnut photograph by Amy really influenced me to go stop by Half Baked Cupcakes for some sweets. To my delight, I was able to see if Sara Bainter had put up any new pieces in their space!
Don’t forget, right outside The Phillips Diner and Woodgrain is usually some outstanding live music! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw crowds of folks gathering around the Dakota Snow truck giving away FREE shaved ice courtesy of National Bank. Cool! (Ha, get it?)
Even though I haven’t always been aware of all that First Friday has to offer, Downtown Sioux Falls continues to grow on me with each venture I take. Plus, I was able to look up into our bright, blue sky and watch some hot air balloons drift around town. Until next time fellows.
(June 24-September 16, 2017) Everest Gallery of the Washington Pavilion
It seems to me that the Washington Pavilion often appears as just a landmark to Sioux Falls inhabitants, and not much else. Contrary to this perception, however, the Pavilion is always changing; providing new sights, activities, and learning experiences. Recently, the Pavilion’s Visual Arts Center staff transformed their largest gallery (the Everest Gallery) to accommodate an exhibition that travels internationally. The show, Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami, has been traveling since 2015, and features unique works of origami from artists around the world.
With my first step into the gallery, I was immediately aware that I would not be peering at any paper cranes that day. Instead, I was greeted by whimsical, inflated creatures that dangled from the ceiling, and fantastic forms encased in blown glass bubbles that surely could not be made of paper. The Pavilion’s assistant curator, Sarah Odens, was right when she stated that this “is origami like most of us have never seen before.” The works vary from large-scale installations, to optical illusions that hang flat on the wall. A massive, seven-foot-tall piece by Jiangmei Wu, is waiting in the back of the gallery to take your breath away!
While exploring the show, I also took some time to watch the PBS film that is screening in gallery. To my surprise, the artists interviewed within the film are many of the same artists featured within this show. I’m glad I took a few minutes to listen, as it outlined how these artists are at the forefront of the origami realm, but are also wildly intelligent engineers, architects, and mathematicians. They are not only changing the way we think about origami, but also how the science of folding can be applied to real world problems! I learned that origami artists like Robert Lang and Erik and Martin Demaine have used paper folding to solve issues surrounding air bag folding, expandable space telescopes, and human proteins that fold to fight disease!
I highly recommend making a stop at the Pavilion to see this show. As Odens mentioned, “pictures do not do this work justice… to see all these folds up close and in person is an experience.” Allow yourself to be amazed by these pieces! Make “connections to the origami [you] learned when [you] were young… and then see what paper can do and what origami artists, with science and mathematics, can achieve.”
This international show will be on display in the Everest Gallery of the Washington Pavilion until September 16, 2017. And don’t forget about Free First Fridays! On August 4th, not only will entrance to the Visual Arts Center be free, Robert Lang (one of the many artists and engineers featured in this show) will be speaking about his work, his education, and how he uses origami to solve real-world issues. Don’t miss out! Lang is speaking at 7 p.m. in the Belbas Theater of the Pavilion.
The first weekend in July may have set a record downtown. From events, to people traffic, to motorcycles; everywhere you went there was something to enjoy, a crowd of people enjoying it, and virtually nowhere to park. Like most summer weekends, you have to pick and choose what to do, but July First Friday proved to be a roided out rendition of Sophie’s Choice. No matter what you picked, you likely still felt like you were missing out on 10 other things. Some, to be never experienced again, like Art Maze II. It was arguably the busiest of all time that downtown has ever been. A couple of our bloggers caught merely a sliver.
ART MAZE II
With all of the outstanding events occurring Downtown Sioux Falls on July’s first Friday, I certainly hope everyone was able to hop down and enjoy the festivities! One of such events was the Art Maze II, which happened during the First Friday and Saturday. For those two nights, 30+ local artists, including myself and JAM, come together to create an aMAZEing event full of art installations, performances, murals, henna body designs, interactive spaces, lemonade stands for a cause, food trucks, and more!
As you walked through the spaces, you teleported into a world of extraordinary imagination. The truth is, even photographs couldn’t quite capture the excitement one experienced throughout event. For me, being one of the artists and witnessing the transformation of the entire space, I was filled with a surreal sensation. I still am unable to pin just what that feeling was…a pride in my city and its accomplishments, an excitement for everyone involved, watching and engaging with folks throwing confetti in my interactive installation, seeing such happy expressions on their faces. Maybe it was what the possibilities could be for the future…Art Maze III? Perhaps just an all-encompasing, epic feeling. Rock on Sioux Falls.
EASTBANK BLOCK PARTY
As the sun bent behind high-rising buildings, guitar chords jumped out of large rectangular speakers and danced along the open air. Erik Koskinen and his band just began there 2-hour-long set. Erik told timeless tales of American life through the eyes of a hard working, Michigan born man. The concoction of Erik’s folk rock, mixed with the community of the crowd in the art and cultural hub of Sioux Falls, made for the perfect end to an exciting and fun-filled First Friday.
YOU CAN STILL CHECK OUT THESE OTHER NOTABLE ART SHOWS THROUGH THE MONTH OF JULY
CIGARETTE MONEY @ THIRD EYE GALLERY
Visual artist include:
Solomon Carlson – Sioux Falls SD
Derek Meier – Minneapolis MN
Kimberlynn Jo Floren – Sioux Fall SD
Angela Meyer – Minneapolis MN
Melanie Ratzlaff’s artwork includes unconventional materials such as VHS tapes, pop cans, and recycled paper to create artwork that is a contemporary interpretation of her Lakota heritage. In this specific body of work, one will find references to pop culture & female identity. Melanie’s work has made its way to homes in South Dakota, Washington, and Arizona.
For me, experiencing the full spectrum of the First Friday scene was a first. I am incredibly glad that I had the ability to visit much of what downtown had to offer for the month of March. It’s a delightful surprise to find that there is such an abundance of activities continually going on here. I look forward to the increasing opportunities that Sioux Falls has to offer. ~Hannah
MISHEARD LANDSCAPES: IPSO Gallery
As I stepped into the gallery space of Fresh Produce’s IPSO Gallery, my eyes were drawn to Amanda Smith‘s large scale painting. This painting was placed so perfectly, it activated the remaining area. It gave me a sense of a night sky, or even, that I was floating around in the gallery from piece to piece.
At first glance, the viewer might find it difficult to recognize the subject being portrayed. It did seem like the theme of landscape were indeed present. However, I wondered if Smith had other themes streamed throughout the pieces displayed? She has a great way of bringing the movement and brightness of each painting to the focus of the viewers. This made me feel as if the artwork, hand in hand with the space, were able to tell their own story and reasons behind their creation. Sadly, I did not have the chance to speak with her about my wonderings, I simply found closure in the explanations her art had given me.
IPSO Gallery is strategically entwined with Fresh Produce and all that they do. When visiting the gallery, the set-up encourages art lovers, and bystanders alike, to roam freely about the building. I was excited to discover that I could take home with me a pen and a key chain, both saying “keep Sioux Falls boring.” How quirky? Along with the booth, there was the long-lasting joy that always comes as a bonus when food is offered.
WIDE OPEN SPACE: Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center
As someone who works for the Washington Pavilion, I had the chance to get a bit of a sneak peek of the Wide Open Space exhibit in the Jerstad Gallery before the First Friday events occurred. I remember thinking to myself, what is this? Why does this look so amazingly cool in the space? When can I stop by to hear the artist talk? Wow!Brian Frink did wonders making this area come to life!
When I walked into the gallery, time seemed to escape into Frink’s work. After viewing the pieces, displayed in a quirky manner, I noticed a pattern within the space: he strategically placed the constructions in a way that added a special sensory experience to the works. Being able to see his perspective of elemental themes fascinated me. They all have a certain character of their own that jumps to the viewer’s attention. I was dumbfounded by the layers of meaning. I agree with Frink’s statement: “the paintings exist within the space of the Visual Arts Center in a particular way that will never be repeated.”
JORDAN THORNTON: Sioux Falls Arts Council
Jordan Thornton is the featured visual artist at the Sioux Falls Arts Council. From observing her work, including my previous knowledge of her style changes, it’s clear to see why she was chosen for this space. As a whole, I feel that the gallery’s surroundings actually drew out the most important strengths in Thornton’s work. It was incredibly fun to wander the space draped with naturist pieces.
Thornton’s style is one that I have always been entertained with–it’s something that is so distinctly her own that it can’t be mistaken for anyone else’s. She places each piece on the walls in a way that gives a structural feeling to the area. In contrast, the subject matter is often roots, or other means of nature and life. I found this to be the most intriguing aspect of her work. The theme of nature being distorted to fit her own views and perceptions of it was a nice consistency. Thornton has the means to push her printmaking techniques to create works that relate to the viewer’s eye.
“Two for Fargo, please.” With tickets safely in my breast pocket, I leave the DTSF office and the Shriver Building to greet the morning’s piercing sky. Smiling, I think about my hopes for tonight: The Museum of Visual Materials for Tara Barney’s interactive art project, the Pavilion for art receptions, and the State Theatre’s showing of Fargo. Fargo. How appropriate; I realize I’m not at all dressed for this cold, so I stuff my hands in my pockets and run the block to the car. Glad I don’t live in Fargo…
With a piece of downtown missing, and in the aftermath of road closures and some temporary business closings, a rescheduled First Friday hoped to draw people back to the area, spread cheer, as well as raise funds for the families affected by the building collapse.
Countless times over the last week people have commented how Sioux Falls is like a small town community in a big city. I can definitely attest to that, as someone who grew up in a town of 1000. The way people show up for each other, give to those in need, and work together is pretty fantastic; living downtown feels like home.
The art community seems to reflect that in ways, as well. So many creative minds work hard to make opportunities for each other, and work together to advocate for local art. It is really growing and developing into an amazing and unique scene. It is exciting to be around, and watch happen.
Seriously. Get out and experience a First Friday, attend some of the excellent events we have year round, and really see the beautiful things that come out of where we live. And as someone who hates winter more than you, don’t let the weather be an excuse.
Support small businesses, support local, support art.
I greatly admire those who love fall. I try really hard to get into the spirit of the season. There are certainly things I can appreciate: the yummy coffee drinks and hot cocoa, the pretty colors of the leaves, and after a difficult few months, a welcomed sense of change. But in all honesty, the shortening days and dropping temperatures get to me. And on a chilly, dark October First Friday, I didn’t venture outside of the Washington Pavilion. Even so, the Pavilion was bursting with life, and lots of new and intriguing exhibits to be explored!
This exhibit was really hard for me to write about. Why? Because it was so intense, deeply intimate, and above all, raw. Part of me even questioned if I should be writing about it at all. Of course, one could argue that all art is deeply intimate. Art is self-expression in the truest sense, so what makes this exhibit any different? Shearing the Shepherd is a vulnerable and truthful portrayal of a man’s grief for the loss of his father. The artist uses audio-visual media to bring his experiences of grief to life in a way that is crude and authentic. Standing and viewing this exhibit, I felt like I was crashing a private wake. As someone who lost a parent at a young age, and recently lost a close grandparent, this art felt deeply familiar to me. This exhibit will be different for everyone who views it because everyone has had different experiences with grief. For me, I was deeply uncomfortable. I felt it in my bones, and I cried. And above all, it was a healing experience for me, to see something that I could relate to so genuinely. No matter how grief has or hasn’t touched your life, I think everyone can get something from visiting this deep, and important exhibit.
Deep Sea Imaginarium by Steve Bormes
Stepping into the Deep Sea Imaginarium by Steve Bormes is like entering a cross between an alien universe, and a child’s fantasy world. Bormes spent two years sculpting 101 alienesque fish from old objects and lights. Light plays an integral part in this exhibit. Multicolored lights set the scene in this underwater world, and the fish themselves glow from within: reds, greens, blues and purples. Of his work, Bormes says, “I combine light with objects born of mid-century engineering to create pieces that celebrate the inventions of the past, and transcend a static presentation of antiques and found objects.” He goes on to add, “Every decision I make as an artist is dictated by light.” Bormes is not simply an artist, though, but a story-teller. For each fish he sculpted, he also created humorously fitting common and scientific names for the “species,” as well as whimsical poems that reveal something about what each species is like. Deep Sea Imaginarium is where art meets the fantastical, the whimsical, the downright weird. It’s marvelous.
Terry Mulkey creates art that is both easy to look at, and rich in meaning. He works layer by layer using abstract forms and simple, limited color to achieve a sense of balance. “Drawing upon impulses both unconscious and calculated,” he says in his artist statement, “I move and alter lines and fields of color, acting and reacting to forms until the composition expresses a state of harmony.” The shapes and colors balance each other out, giving them a feel that is peaceful and almost zen. Even the way that the compositions are arranged in the gallery seems to have been chosen so as to balance the colors and tones on each wall. His works are all very bold in their plainness, yet delicate in their simplicity. They seem almost paradoxical by nature, a true testament to the harmony that Mulkey was able to achieve.
Along with a full slate of new exhibits at the Pavilion, downtown was buzzing with the annual Art and Wine Walk, as well as Sioux Falls Design Week projects.