What’s in the Galleries: Jan 22-Feb 16

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The show, Lightforms, in the Baer gallery.

Interested in what we are currently showing in our galleries, but couldn’t make it to the reception last Thursday? Read below to find out what is currently living in the Baer, Godschalx and Permanent Collection Galleries, and then come on down to see the work for yourself.

Lightforms: Heather McKenna, Maria Rendón, Paul Simmons, and Nicholas Szymanski

The show, Lightforms: Heather McKenna, Maria Rendón, Paul Simmons, and Nicholas Szymanski, is guest curated by Kate Mothes and resides in the Baer Gallery. In the statement provided at the exhibit, Mothes emphasizes the influence of the enigma of light on the works in the show, particularly the relationship between “light, form, and space.” The artists represented in this show hail from Brooklyn, NY, Los Angeles, CA, Brooklyn, NY, and Grand Rapids, MI respectively, bringing a wide variety of style and experience to St. Norbert’s campus.

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Gold, God, Glory III (left), and Yellow Rising (right) by Maria Rendón.
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Untitled (related but unrelated all the same, 1) (left), Untitled (related but unrelated all the same, 2) (middle), and Untitled (related but unrelated all the same, 3) (right) by Heather McKenna.
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Works by Nicholas Szymanski (all untitled).
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Daylight Savings (Green) (left), Daylight Savings (Pink and Green) (middle), Daylight Savings (Yellow, Yellow) (right), and Daylight Savings (Violet on Mint/Green) (far right) by Paul Simmons.

Rafael Francisco Salas: Ballads of the Middle

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In his solo show in the Godschalx Gallery, Salas reflects on “American culture and identity,” and our “indignant desire for a dream continually just beyond reach,” as he so eloquently expresses in his artist’s statement. Using mixed media and a motif of musicians as witnesses to the “dispossessed and forgotten” Salas creates a show that is both comforting in its familiarity and nostalgia, yet unsettling in its demonstration of its intimate knowledge of the American public.

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Musicians and a Patch of Dirt by Rafael Francisco Salas.

Preserving the Landscape

Preserving the Landscape is guest curated by one of SNC’s very own students, Kasey Pappas. The exhibition features four photographs by James Cagle, pulled from SNC’s own art collection. Check out this previously written blog post to find out more about the show and read an interview with Pappas herself about her experience curating her first show.

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Preserving the Landscape

Student Curator Interview: Kasey Pappas

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If you’ve visited the St. Norbert Art Galleries recently you may have noticed a humble, yet entrancing show tucked away in the Permanent Collection Gallery. This exhibition, Preserving the Landscape, features four photographs taken by former SNC art faculty member James Cagle, but is very special for one other reason as well: the show was curated by SNC sophomore Kasey Pappas.

Pappas curated Preserving the Landscape as a requirement of the Admissions Fellowship in the St. Norbert Art Galleries that she was offered her during freshman year. In the short booklet provided at the exhibition, Pappas explains her process curating the exhibition from entering SNC’s permanent collection storage, to researching Cagle and his work, and finally, deciding what pieces to show.

I won’t delve into too much of what is said in the booklet here as I believe standing in front of the artwork and reading Pappas’ eloquent discourse a rather magical experience that should be given its due, but I am honored to say that I was able to relay some additional questions to Pappas regarding her experience curating her first exhibition. Pappas’ answers reveal the depth of thought and heart that was put behind this show, something I believe that could only have been pulled off by an especially intentioned and hardworking student.

Q: In the booklet you’ve created to go with the exhibition you write very passionately about preserving nature and landscapes no matter their perceived beauty. What relationships have you had with nature in the past that fuel this passion? Are there specific locations or spaces that you feel connected with?

A: I grew up in Spring Green, WI which is a very small town and lived in a home surrounded by pines and oaks so nature was an aspect I came into contact with in my everyday life. The area I grew up in has always been heavily influenced by the surrounding landscape. This interest in landscape also derives from my past experiences working for the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation. I was able to see art through a different perspective and developed a love for art that incorporates nature and learned more than I could ask for while working for that preservation. Since I had lived in Spring Green for over 10 years, the reasoning for choosing Cagle’s work was because I missed the type of influential landscape I had grown up around and his photographs reminded me of those places. I ultimately wanted to curate this show to push for a greater appreciation towards preserving the landscape.

Q: What have you learned from your first experience as a curator? Has it changed the way you perceive art?

A: I learned more than I anticipated while curating this show. Despite the show being relatively small, I was able to conquer a lot of obstacles while curating it. I learned to take my time instead of rushing through finding what information to put in the booklet that is included in the show. I also learned to not shy away from asking for help; I worked with the research center on campus and Shan Bryan-Hanson who worked with me to curate this show. It was a goal of mine to do the best I could do and grow while doing so. Curating this show did alter the way I perceive art; there is so much more that goes into displaying work than just hanging work onto a wall. The way a show is curated and displayed can be what can makes the work more or less attractive and I enjoyed learning how to successfully curate artwork.

Q: Has curating this exhibition influenced your future career goals?

A: Definitely! I was interested in curating a show the moment I applied for the fellowship and saw it as an opportunity to expand as a person and gain better insight to what goes on behind the scenes. I am also appreciative to have been able to experiment and work outside my comfort zone. Since I had never curated anything before, I was doubtful at first but this experience resulted in being able to better how I conduct research. Throughout the research process, being able to collectively put information into a small booklet and design the front and back cover helped me to realize the passion I have for graphic design. Curating this exhibition influenced an even greater interest in design and working with others to display art.

Pappas further elaborates on her appreciation of landscape in the aforementioned booklet and believes Cagle’s black-and-white photographs of scenery around Dartmoor National Park to be exemplary in doing just that: in the absence of color the viewer must turn their eye strictly to the natural form and composition of the land. Cagle’s work in Preserving the Landscape is timeless and reminiscent of a golden age of photography–when everything viewed through the lens was exciting and novel, and brought new appreciation and light to easily overlooked beauty. We owe a debt to both Cagle’s work Pappas’ curation for reminding us in our busy world to stop and enjoy the simple beauty of nature.

To see these works for yourself and to celebrate Pappas’ achievement join us Thursday, January 25 from 5-7p.m. for the first gallery reception of our spring season, and while you’re there, take the chance to view our other current shows: Lightforms: Heather McKenna, Maria Rendon, Paul Simmons, and Nicholas Szymanski, and Rafael Francisco Salas: Ballads of the Middle.

Preserving the Landscape will run from January 22 to February 16 2017.

 

This Month in the Galleries: October 2017

Although the coming of fall this year has been somewhat unreliable of late, you can count on the changing of the exhibitions here at the SNC Art Galleries to be dependable and swift.

We have two new exhibitions this month, each with their own enticements and merits. Read on below to discover what’s new and get the details for this month’s gallery reception.

Baer Gallery

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The Baer Gallery currently holds the exhibition Johanna Winters: What the Pleasures Told Us. Winters, as she tells us in her artist’s bio available on her official website, “hails from Minneapolis, MN and received her BA from the University of Wisconsin…In her work she applies modes of printmaking, hand-driven animation, and puppetry to consider ideas about vanity and shame.” Her work in this particular exhibition, as she tells us in her artist’s statement available for viewing at the exhibition, “…behaves as coping rituals for anxieties about aging, vanity, disappointment, shame, and pleasure.” Winter’s is currently working towards her MFA at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Winter’s exhibition at the Baer Gallery is guest-curated by Katie Ries, SNC Art Faculty member. Ries provides an insightful statement about Winter’s work also available for consumption at the gallery. One line in particular sums the mysterious and poetic work up beautifully: “This is how it feels to be human, coming up short, loving things, and figuring it out as we go along.”

Godschalx Gallery

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This month the Godschalx Gallery features the show Graphic Design History & Rock and Roll. This show is comprised of work made by St. Norbert College art students. The show features dozens of original band posters, each variously influenced by a historical graphic design style. Some of the bands featured are well-known, and some come out of the imaginations of the students themselves.

Each poster in the show is impressive by itself, but collaged together in one space they present a power-punch of movement and color that is not to be missed.

Gallery Reception

A reception for both of these shows will be held on October 19, from 5-7p.m. and will feature a performance art piece by Johanna Winters. Light food will be available as well as wine for those of age. All of us at the gallery bid you welcome and hope to see you there!

 

SNC Day 2016

There was much to see, learn, and make in the Bush Art Center on SNC Day this past Saturday!   Here are a few highlights:

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Volunteers Coneria Nansubua and Emma Hanson demonstrating the flower making project to visitors. 

 

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Detail image of a wall piece by April Beiswenger

Visitors made flowers out of organic cotton and recycled t-shirt fabric.  The project was inspired by a piece in the  April Beiswenger: 1000 T-Shirt Project exhibit. 

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Visitors waiting to tour the tiny house on display as part of the Shelter and Clothing exhibit. 

 

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Rebecca Rutter, tiny house owner, designer and builder, gave tours of the house from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The house drew a lot of interest with steady waiting lines all day long. In case you missed it, there are three more days to tour the house!  Open house hours are Wednesday, noon- 2 p.m., Thursday, noon-2 p.m. and Friday, 11:00-1:00 p.m., through Friday, Sept. 23.

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Garments by Alabama Chanin on exhibit in the Baer Gallery
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Map piece by April Beiswenger on exhibit in the Godschalx Gallery

On display throughout the day were, among other artworks, gorgeous hand-sewn garments by Alabama Chanin in the Shelter and Clothing exhibit and a map piece illustrating where t-shirts are made in the 1000 T-Shirt Project exhibit.

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SNC alum, Hannah Kestly and student, Maria Deau visiting with professor Ben Chan in the Boot Making Workshop
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A full shop! 
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Professor Ries and her son at the boot workshop. 

A lot of boot making fun happened in the critique studio. SNC students and alums helped visitors craft boot models and handed out screen prints. The project was designed by professor Katie Reis and student collaborator, Maria Deau.

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Creating tiny house designs
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Tiny house drawings

Kids stopped in the Baer Gallery to draw their own tiny house designs.

Other events throughout the day included Art and Design lectures presented by Art professor, Fr. Jim Neilson and Theatre professor, April Beiswenger.  Cheers to another great SNC Day!

Ten Simple Ways to Transition to a more Ethical and Sustainable Wardrobe

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Last night, as part of Fashion This, we screened the film The True Cost . The film explores the environmental toll and human rights violations surrounding the fast fashion industry. Afterwards, a question was asked about ways to transition to a more ethical and eco-friendly wardrobe.  

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Buy used clothing.  There are many great resources for used clothing–yard sales, consignment shops, thrift stores, and online consignment and swap sites like ThredUp and Poshmark
  2. Buy quality garments that will last many years. Uncertain about how to assess quality?  Inspect your clothing items that have lasted many years.  Study the feel and drape of the fabric, inspect the seams and overall construction of the garments.  Compare this to a garment you recently purchased that quickly stretched or ripped.
  3. Care for your clothes.  Read care instructions on labels.  Put delicate items in mesh garment bags before tossing them in the wash.  Line dry clothes whenever possible.  Learn and use basic mending skills.  Store clothes with care.
  4. Shop like my grandmothers did.  They both had lovely wardrobes and chose clothes based on their personal styles rather than the latest trends.  They also purchased well-made clothes that would last many years.
  5. Host a clothing swap.
  6. Create a capsule wardrobe.  Check out Project 333 for inspiration.  A traditional capsule wardrobe is one that lasts for years, not just a season.  Build a capsule wardrobe slowly, with classic pieces that won’t go out of style.  If you crave new clothes each season try building a capsule wardrobe from thrifted clothes.
  7. Buy fair trade clothing and garments made from organic fabric.
  8. Clean out your closet regularly.  Knowing what you have and what you need can curb the urge to make impulse purchases.
  9. Support artists and small creative businesses that produce one of a kind garments.  Shop Etsy, art fairs and small, local businesses.
  10. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Make a few manageable, sustainable changes. Build on that over time.

Meantime, check out the remaining Fashion This exhibitions and events!

Explore a Tiny House

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As part of the exhibition Shelter and Clothing, a tiny house will be on display on the lawn outside the Bush Art Center.  Open house hours are M, T, W, Th, 12-2 p.m. and F, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Aug. 29-Sept. 23.  The house will also be open for tours on Saturday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free and open to the public.

 

 

Undergraduate Research in the Galleries

BringtheWarHomeTwo current exhibitions in the art galleries feature undergraduate research.  “Bring the War Home” is a class research project directed by Brandon Bauer, Assistant Professor of Art at St. Norbert College. He describes this project as follows:

For this project we restaged and re-photographed an archival image of a Vietnam War protest that took place on the St. Norbert College campus in 1969. The project was inspired by class discussions about conceptual strategies contemporary artists use, including narrative approaches, staged documentation, and ideas of the cinematic in contemporary photography.

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More about the “Bring the War Home” project can be read in the latest edition of St. Norbert College Magazine.

The Permanent Collection Gallery features a curatorial research project by Rebecca Swanson.  She completed this project as part of her Research Fellowship in the Art Galleries. Rebecca chose two works from the St. Norbert Art Collection to research and analyze, an untitled work by Daniel Dickhut, founder of the St. Norbert College Art program and a painting by Juan Soriano, gifted to the collection by BMO Financial Group and Kohler Foundation, Inc.

Stop by the galleries the week of March 28-April 1 to check out these exhibits (the galleries are closed for Spring and Easter breaks this week). Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. during the academic year.

 

Installing “Debbie Kupinsky: Terrain”

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Debbie Kupinsky installing the piece, “Terrain”
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Installing “Keepsake”
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Exhibit installation

The installation of the exhibition, Debbie Kupinsky: Terrain will soon be finished and ready to open on the first day of classes, Monday, January 25, 2016.  The exhibition runs through February 19 with a public reception on Thursday, Feb. 4, 5-7 p.m.

The artist writes about her work:

My work investigates the role of objects and images as carriers of meaning and explores the role of layered images in the construction of metaphorical landscapes. Ordinary objects like flowers, teacups, bottles, and toys are some of the subjects and images within my work that come together to create larger, open narrative. The relationships in the work between sculptural pieces and found objects are meant to leave space for the viewer and allow them to find themselves, their memories and associations. 

This is a beautiful, visually engaging exhibition, not to be missed! To see more of Debbie Kupinsky’s work visit debbiekupinsky.com

The Art Galleries at St. Norbert College to receive NEH Grant

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SNC art collection storage room

The Art Galleries at St. Norbert College will receive a Preservation Assistance Grant for Smaller Institutions  from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The award is for $6000 to support the purchase of storage furniture and preservation supplies for the St. Norbert College Art Collection.  The project includes the purchase of shelving and storage equipment for sculpture, additional flat files for unframed works on paper and slotted storage for large paintings.  It also includes the purchase of environmental monitoring equipment to assist us in monitoring the UV light, visible light, temperature and relative humidity in the galleries, collection storage area and other spaces on campus where art from the collection is displayed.

This is the second Preservation Assistance Grant awarded to the Art Galleries.  The first was also a $6000 grant, awarded in 2013 in support of a Preservation Needs Assessment Survey of the Art Collection.  The survey was completed in 2014 by the Midwest Art Conservation Center.  The survey included a list of short, medium and long term recommendations which we used to develop a preservation plan.  The project currently being funded by the NEH was developed as part of this plan.

Other recent strides made in ensuring the preservation of the St. Norbert College Art Collection include the installation of a new climate control system in art collection storage facility, cataloging the collection using PastPerfect museum database software, and participating in a Museum Assessment Program Organizational Self-Study and Peer Review.

The permanent collection at St. Norbert College is comprised of approximately one thousand works of art.  Works in the collection range from 13th c. illuminated manuscript pages to contemporary paintings and prints.

We are grateful to the NEH for its support of the humanities and the preservation of our cultural heritage.

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