Tuesday, December 28, 2010

J.M. Culver - Drawing-Painting

J. M. Culver
J. M. Culver
http://twitter.com/jmculver   @jmculver


I am a figurative artist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My work explores relationships, allegories, and the complexities of the human condition. Through a combination of painting and drawing, I create large-scale subjective narratives in hopes of evoking an emotional response and creating a dialogue with the viewer. I regularly exhibit my work, curate exhibitions, and am very active in the arts community.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
My current drawings/paintings are visual narratives that capture fragments and recreate moments of childhood memories and anxieties. They reveal intimate and sometimes awkward scenes that focus on growing up with a schizophrenic grandfather and the impact of this relationship.

These life size drawings/paintings are fueled by personal fears, confusions, anxieties, frustrations, and the vulnerabilities of childhood. They integrate universal themes of the human condition: a celebration of life at its darkest and brightest points.

Images of tumbling kittens, broken chairs, little girls, and distressed men strive to connect with each other while sharing an inner life at odds with reality. Built into the narrative are familiar characters, such as Pinocchio, that represent the duality of the real and artificial self and the innocence of childhood. These characters explore an internal world unrestricted by logic or structure that conveys an underlying sense of anxiety and uncertainty.

The tactility of charcoal and smoothness of acrylic/oil evokes and blurs forms to create solidity and space. Large white expanses suggest the transitive nature of memory juxtaposed against anxiously marked areas of visual and psychological interest. Aggressive marks, erasures, and veils of acrylic create realistic and abstract moments frozen in time.

I intend for these frozen moments of childhood memories to intimately and physically engage the viewer while sharing an honest reaction and dignified experience that everyone can relate to. These narratives are personal observations of the human condition that present an immediate and intimate, tangible expression of memory.

How is this different from past projects?
I’ve actually been working on this series for a few years now. I started out using charcoal and acrylic on paper and am now exploring the same subject with different layers of charcoal, acrylic, oil, and clear medium on paper and cradled masonite panels. The narrative continues to evolve and I will continue with this series until I feel it is completely exhausted. I also have an interest in abstract painting and was working on a series of “Visceral Landscapes” and “Decompositions” a while back. They were abstractions of the figure with a focus on anatomy as a landscape. My representational work has abstract elements with loose painterly marks and erasures.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
“There are 24 hours in a day. Make it work.”

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?
My studio is located in the California Building in North East Minneapolis. I like to divide my working space around the room for different projects. So there's always room if something isn't working out well that day or if I come up with new ideas.

I have different visual journals for each series that I use to write about ideas, memories, and researching contemporary art that I admire and that gives me inspiration. My visual journals are full of almost illegible writing, collage elements, and basic sketches.

I then work from a combination of sources – observation, photographs, intuition, and imagination. It ends up working like a collage when it comes together. I don’t appropriate directly from any specific source. I want to maintain a sense of immediacy and honest reaction to the subject matter.

If you were to receive a $2,000 art grant to do anything you want, what would you do?
I would like to have the opportunity to create new work for a large solo exhibition that explores multi-media with my current themes. I’d like to include large-scale drawings, paintings, video with sound, and constructed environment installations.

Which Minnesota artists do you enjoy?
Caitlin Karolczakhttp://studiosilenti.com
Stacey Davidsonhttp://staceydavidson.info
Amelia Biewald - http://ameliabiewald.com

If I were to follow you around on an “art day” in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
I frequently visit the MIA and am always drawn to the Soutine painting “Carcass of Beef” and Larry Rivers’ work. I spend a few hours with my sketchbook sitting on the museum floor writing, sketching, and developing ideas. I attend various art openings in the Twin Cities and also enjoy visiting The Bell Museum to view the dioramas.

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
http://mnartists.org - local news/opportunities
http://artdeadlineslist.com/ - other opportunities/call for art
http://artnews.com and http://artforum.com - art world news
http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/ - other artist’s work
http://facebook.com - networking, local art exhibits, openings, other artists.

Do you have any exhibits or any interesting things going on in your life or coming up in the near future?

I have framed prints and a few original paintings available for purchase at Spyhouse on Nicollet in Minneapolis until mid January. I also have a solo exhibition in March at Gallery 122. I’m working on organizing some group exhibitions as well. I plan to start grad school this coming Fall to pursue my MFA in Painting.

2012 Update:
2012 Art -A-Whirl Open Studio and Art Sale. Friday, May 18th - Sunday, May 20th.
Studio #505, California Building, 2205 California St NE, Minneapolis, MN. I will have large scale drawings, medium scale abstract paintings and small mixed media works on view.

Cult Sisters III: Love/Hate. Cult Status Gallery. Opening Reception, Saturday, May 26th 7pm to midnight. Exhibition runs May 26th - June 18th 2012.

Other upcoming exhibitions, curatorial work, and projects such as workshops will be listed on my website: http://jmculver.com

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Margaret Gamache - Collage

Margaret Gamache

Altered Esthetics Featured Artist for the Agents of Orange Exhibit
1/6/11 - 1/27/11
Opening Reception: Friday 1/7 7-10PM

Margaret Gamache
Website: http://www.mnartists.org/artistHome.do?rid=174413 email: gamaxs@aol.com

I have lived in N.E Minneapolis since 1985. I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in
Photography from the University of Minnesota, Dec. 1983. Over the years, I have exhibited at the Warm Gallery, Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibit, exhibited in shows sponsored by Forecast Gallery Public Space Productions. New York State Museum, Empire State Plaza, Albany New York, and the University of Reno Nevada Photography Dept. Reno Nevada.

In 2008, I became a Resident Artist at Altered Esthetics Gallery in N.E.Mpls. I have exhibited in 15 group shows there. I was the Featured Artist contest winner in ‘ Creative Blood ’ show, 2009 A&E Calendar March. In addition Altered Esthetics ‘America ‘, an international Juried Show winner best in category: mixed medium 2007. ‘ Grade F ‘

Tell me about your work?

Most of my artwork is mixed medium collage, photographs, Drawings, magazine images, paint,
constructed in a two dimensional 8in.x10in. Size. The work is then printed, or copied. In addition, some of my work is mixed medium sculpture in three-dimensional form, as well as photography. My style and subjects deal with family, subconscious guts, mass media’s junk and left over’s. My influences are, Family, a Catholic upbringing, Duchamp, Stieglitz, History and politics.

What are you working on now? How is it different from past projects?

I just finished a work called’ DEAD ASSETS’ which ended a four year period. It is an art installation involving 13 art works. It is about death, finding a place to rest in peace.

Now my work is more fun. I just finished work for ‘Agents of Orange’ show at Altered Esthetics Gallery in Jan.2011. ‘FALL BACK’, a digital photograph. I want to start another art installation next year. I always have ideas and never enough time to execute them all. I keep them in my art journal and plug away at them as well as possible. I will be excited for new ideas come to me, and the pleasure I will receive from them.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

My mentor Frank Agar advised me to exhibit as much as possible. Keep a passion for sharing and communicating your art to the public. Even if they are not ready for it, and reject it.

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?

I live and do art work in a huge, 100 year old duplex in N.E. Mpls. With a workroom in basement, storage in the attic and computer office space on first floor. How I work is mostly in my head, mulling over ideas and emotions that go together. This usually takes lots of time. I may make folders full of stuff to use eventually for these ideas. There is always many projects and different folders being created. To execute the work is usually fun and done quickly.

Which Minnesota artist do you enjoy?

The Minnesota artists I enjoy are many. Some for years, others newly inspired by. The artists I have exhibited with at Altered Esthetics Gallery have truly amazed me. As well as in the many Galleries in the N.E. Minneapolis Arts District. In addition, it is so much fun to just go on line and find Minnesota Art to inspire me. Here is a few.

Will Agar, photography
Wayne Potratz, sculpture
Amber Janey, mixed media/book art
James Powell, cartoonist
Lisa Elias, sculpture
Elias sisters: Anne Elias , painter; Meg Elias, Ariel Arts; Jane Elias, painter.

If I were to follow you around on an’ art day’ in Minnesota, which places would we go?

First, we would go to some, Art Galleries and studios in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts district. We would see local artist exhibiting and working in diverse mediums and themes, and prices. Altered Esthetics, Casket Arts, Northrop King Building, and Spotart Gallery.

We then would have to sit outside a while at Walker Art Sculpture Garden. Then go inside, and check out any new exhibits. Then back to my place to see my work, eat and drink.

Where do you go on line for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?


Do you have any exhibits or any interesting things going on in your life or coming up in the near future?

I will be exhibiting at Altered Esthetics Gallery ‘Agents of Orange’ Residence show, opening Jan.7, 2011.

Also in a ‘Creative Blood’ show at North Hennepin Community College, Jan.12, 2011. In this Show, I will be exhibiting with my father, life partner, my son and daughter. Also my mentor Frank Agar and his son Will Agar, both Photographers.

Most exciting, I will be having a Solo show later in 2011, exhibiting my’ DEAD ASSETS’ art- installation. The Solo show is through Altered Esthetics Solo Exhibition Program, the details are yet to come. In the fall, Altered Esthetics has a ‘food’ show I am excited to exhibit in. I know there will be lots more…..

Margaret Gamache (1/2011)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Loretta Bebeau - Painter

Loretta Bebeau

Loretta Bebeau creates wall-based art, and is past President of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEMAA). She has a Master of Arts degree focused on Sociology and Visual Art. Her studio is located in the Northrup King building (NKB) since moving out of the warehouse district in 2003. She exhibits in her studio and out of state.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

I’m currently making nine-part grids, influenced by the game Tic Tac Toe
. The grid material is Sheetrock, with graphite drawings on the surface. This work explores communication patterns. Past projects have been of recycled paper, formed into collage, assemblage, or cast paper pulp. The consistent thread in my art is related to personal growth. My work is conceptual. I can draw a landscape, but have a strong urge to rebel. The materials are quotidian; they challenge the established norm, but retain a bit of tradition when the art medium is added. As an art instructor it’s my duty to “expand the field” and that sometimes means challenging it. Recycling materials has been part of my philosophy since 1979, and it’s great to see the current respect for that concept.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

“Pay attention to the work.” from Hopkins artist Nancy Randall (http://www.artholdings.com/)

My advice: Always credit your sources. Visual artists author intellectual property. If you see my work at my studio, you should mention how it influenced your paintings, or changed your style. I’ve learned that artists are too independent and need to build that web of history for personal survival.

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?

My working space is shared with two other artists. I’m usually there alone because they have home studios too. They have completely different aesthetic philosophies, but I like the diversity. Two-thirds of the space is mine and I work on several projects at once.

Which Minnesota artists do you enjoy?

Jantje Visscher - conceptual painting/sculpture/installations. She uses three materials: plastic, nails, and a light bulb to create fantastic experiences.
Tom Rose - conceptual sculpture/installations.
Anastasia Ward - conceptual sculpture
Christopher Baker - video/installations
But there are many other artists still active and working under the radar.

If I were to follow you around on an “art day” in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

I start from Northeast Minneapolis to the Soap Factory, head over to MAEP or MCAD, then to a smaller gallery like XY&Z, perhaps Ancient Traders or Franklin Artworks, then to the North Loop’s Circa, Form & Content, Thomas Barry, or Traffic Zone galleries.

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?

I look at Chelsea Galleries in NYC, anything else is by chance.

Do you have any exhibits or any interesting things going on in your life or coming up in the near future?

Four of my grids were exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution, from June to September of 2010. I’ve been invited to show one or two of them at the Armory in March, 2011.

I’m preparing for an exhibit at 801 Gallery on Washington Ave North in 2012, another in Wisconsin, and there are several proposals pending.

Loretta Bebeau

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Teri Bloch - Painter

Teri Bloch was born in St. Paul and currently resides in Fridley. In 1998 Teri received a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Minnesota. For the past eight years she has been working out of a studio in the Historic Northrup King Building in Northeast Minneapolis. Teri’s work has been shown locally and regionally and is included in private and corporate collections.

Teri Bloch

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

I paint in acrylic on wood panels. My current work, of distilled urban images, was originally inspired by my daily commute into Northeast Minneapolis. My commute involves a five mile route down Central Avenue through Columbia Heights and NE Minneapolis. I became fascinated by the activity of the street and began shooting photos with my point and shoot camera as I drove. Because I was driving at the time, (really not as dangerous as texting) I had little control over my shots. Many times I failed to get what I was aiming for or the images were blurry, however this often resulted in more interesting images.

What began as a Central Avenue series has expanded to general urban scenes. Now when I travel around I bring my camera and shoot while driving, walking or taking public transportation; the material is endless. Even though this particular subject matter is fairly recent, it is a continuation of my interest in exploring how the dialogue between space, color, form and line communicate perceptions that have been influenced by an internal dynamic.

I concentrate on simplification of form, paring away what is unnecessary, and at times use an abstracted rendering of space in an attempt to convey something universal. I don’t title my work, other than a simple description, because I want to provide only a seed to the viewer so they can enter and create their own interpretations. Wondering is more interesting than knowing.

I have always been fascinated by the psychology of human nature and love people watching. I am interested in non-verbal communication and humans relationships to one another and their environment. I want to capture more than just a particular person walking down a particular street in a particular city but the essence of something deeper that can’t be put into words. I have been told my paintings evoke sadness or loneliness; one woman told me I should repaint them all with happy faces. However, I think the beauty and poetry of humanity lies in the acceptance of our imperfections and the tentative nature of life. The contrast of the organic shapes of the figure against the architectural lines of the city street and the psychological mood that can be created by the placement of a figure in space provides me with endless visual elements to play with.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

The best advice I was given as an artist is to bring back everything you do to your art.

No matter what you are doing in your daily life, even mundane tasks, you can use that experience to feed your art. I always keep that in mind and when asked what percentage of time I spend on my art I can say 100%. It also helps me feel less lazy when I spend an hour staring out the window- hey I’m working!

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?

I am fortunate to have a beautiful studio in the Northrup King Building in Northeast Minneapolis. It offers more than enough space to work and to exhibit and I love having the community of other working artists in the building. I have been told my studio is too tidy for an artist but I need external order because my mind is a constant state of disarray.

My process involves using photos, that I’ve shot myself, as a source of reference to stimulate ideas; I need some sort of visual stimulation. I continually go through my stack of reference photos because on any given day I can see something different in the same photo. I then do several pencil sketches, simplifying the forms to see if there are any relationships that pique my interest. When I begin to paint I don’t have a finished image in mind.

My biggest challenge is to get out of my own way and let my intuition, my knowledge of visual language and technical skills take over. I work with acrylics because they are fast drying and the technical aspects don’t interfere with my creative flow. I have worked with acrylics for years so I am comfortable with their characteristics. The wood panel allows me to scratch and sand and scrape to create surface texture.

When I finish I usually don’t remember the steps I have taken to completion; I have tried to take notes during the process but it interrupts the flow. When I am finished I often don’t feel responsible for the result.

Which Minnesota artists do you enjoy?

Two of my favorite local artists are Lynn Speaker, and Eleanor McGough.

Since I tend toward hiding out, one way that I have been getting to know about local artists is through the PBS program Minnesota Originals. The show consists of short well done portraits of artists and their work. A few of my favorites were: Roma Di Luna, Maren Kloppmann, and Rhea Pappas, but the list could go on. Past episodes can be seen at www.mnoriginal.org.

If I were to follow you around on an “art day” in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

I would be visiting with artist friends. We might go to see a show, often to the MIA or the Walker to visit the permanent collections, a special exhibition or the MAEP gallery. Two recent shows that I especially enjoyed were Yves Klein at the Walker and Eun-Kyung Suh at the MAEP gallery. A visit to the MIA usually involves a stop at the Art Cellar (the art supply store at MCAD), then back to NE Minneapolis to lunch at the Modern Café.

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?


Do you have any exhibits or any interesting things going on in your life or coming up in the near future?

Currently I am working on some new pieces that I will exhibit in my studio, during Art-A-Whirl, in spring of 2011.

A goal for this year is to set up my own website in addition to my mnartists.org page. Okay now that I have said it out loud I will have to do it. It has been on my to-do list for a while.

If you were to receive a $2,000 art grant to do anything you want, what would you do?

I would purchase:
A telephoto lens for my camera.
Several Large panels-I would like to experiment with working on a larger format.
Good quality paint brushes and pallet knifes.
Loads of paint.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christina Habibi - Painter

Christina Habibi was born in Tehran, Iran and now lives in Saint Paul, MN.
Christina studied Graphic Design at the Art Institutes Twin Cities and is a self-
taught painter.

“My art explores the essence of paradox. Though art I assert that beauty and the
grotesque, serenity and chaos, sensitivity and callousness exist at every moment
in harmony.”

christina habibi


Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this
different from past projects?

I’m gearing up for a series of 16x16 paintings--one a day for 90 days. This project is different from past projects in that I usually paint on whatever is available and whatever I can afford and whenever I have time. I’m also constructing a series of copper table designs.

Copper end Table

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I once asked a friend, “what do I have to do to become a full-time artist?” and he answered, "make art full-time".

Down the Road

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?
I have a big big space in the newly renovated historic Hamm's Brewery Building-now the Everest Arts and Science building in Saint Paul. Lots of large spaces with concrete floors at very inexpensive monthly rates. As for my process, I work on my knees--reminiscent of my 12 years as a tile setter. I arrive at the canvas with rubber kneepads, square-toed boots, a fine tipped brush, quarts and quarts of everyday house paint and a mind full of paradox.

Which Minnesota artists do you enjoy?
To start with:
my mother Catherine Stenhjem.
I also enjoy writer/essayist/chef Emily Noble,

If I were to follow you around on an “art day” in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
First I’d go to Barnes and Noble or Borders and comb the magazines for Art,
Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design and Fashion. I may pop into Evla Pottery and Art to see what’s new with Kim’s abstract paintings and Mike’s hand made pottery—sometimes I just do a drive-by on Dale Street, Kimberly Christiansen’s large abstracts will pull you in through the window. I might stop by at Trader Joe’s on Randolph in St Paul and check out the clever sign art that artist Amy McPartlin has conjured up for the week. I could end the day with a drink on the upper patio of Joe’s Garage in hopes of getting a glimpse through the window of artist Scott Seekins at work in his studio—is that stalking?

Last Time you Came

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
Facebook is always a good resource. I check in with Café to see what’s out there for ‘call for artists’. Sometimes I peruse Etsy or Paintings I Love-The online artists community for paintings and drawings, and artist websites.

Do you have any exhibits or any interesting things going on in your life
or coming up in the near future?
There are three twin cities restaurants that have generously given me full-time wall space to exhibit my art, Bar 508 Restaurant in Mpls and The Bulldog Lowertown, where I regularly rotate in new works. I also have a permanent (if there is such a thing) installation at SAJI-YA in Saint Paul-that’s fun to look at over sushi. Restaurants get such heavy foot traffic-I’ve found them to be the perfect place to get high visibility. I’m really looking forward to being in the art publication Studio Visit Magazine this coming spring. In February I’m going to do a show a Nina’s Coffee Café in St Paul. Nina’s is a great place to get visibility.

Portrait of Pickles the Clown

If you were to receive a $2,000 art grant to do anything you want, what
would you do?
I’d buy 90 16x16 canvases for my upcoming project.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Michael McGraw - Photographer

Michael McGraw

Michael McGraw
FB: My Page
email: mcgrawphoto@gmail.com

Michael McGraw is a Minneapolis-based photographer, mainly self-taught, though he has studied under some awesome wedding photographers. Having retired from the wedding photography business, people rarely make an appearance in his photographs.

"My subjects are local, personal, and natural. I look for subjects with a balance of pattern and chaos, beauty and flaws. To me, this reflects internal struggle, growth, and transformation."

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

I am working on a couple projects right now. I have a series of cloud photographs that I think are really fun. They are fairly closely-cropped shots of sections of clouds exploring color, density, and shape. I have a hard time deciding if I prefer color or black and white for these images.

I am also processing hundreds of pics from a recent trip to Iceland. Seeing the floating ice in the glacial lake, Jokulsarlon, was one of the most amazing experiences I have had.

Past projects include a study of ice formations on the Mississippi river from the Lowry bridge, which is on hold for now since the bridge was torn down, and a study of urban trees--Crab Apples, Russian Olive, and Buck Thorn. I am still woking on this project, but am taking a break after 2 years of thinking about trees all the time.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

After meeting a couple times with an advisor with Springboard for the Arts in lowertown St. Paul, they told me to print large, and if I didn't have good enough equipment, then to get better equipment.

At the time I was shooting aerial-like photographs of ice on the Mississippi river and printing them at around 16x20 inches, maybe a little bigger. They just did not have the impact I was going for until I began printing 20x30 inches and larger. Of course, not all photographs have to be large; I still have a weakness for a nice, small, intimate portrait.

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?

As a nature-based photographer, I work outside, usually around North Minneapolis. I prefer my work to be as locally focused as possible and do not think I need to head to the Boundary Waters to get a good shot of a tree. Dowling Avenue is perfect for me because of all the varieties of crab apple trees lining the Crystal Lake Cemetary.

I have a home office where I do all of my computer work, converting RAW photos to JPG. I share this space with my wife, Sally, so we get to spend a lot of time together working on our own projects.

I have a studio space in the Northrup King Building in NE Mpls that I share with Megan Bell Honigman who is an amazing painter. It's really nice to have a permanent space to hang my work since there is just too much to hang in my house. I definitely recommend renting a studio space for anyone with a lot of work to show.

In regards to my creative process...I like to drive around until I see an interesting tree, stop, and see what happens. I play around with selective focus by standing really close to the trees and using a long lens to create a shallow depth of field. It's a pretty meditative process, very peaceful. I never really know what is going to look good until I look at the images on my computer. I usually crop my tree photos square so I get to fine-tune my composition once I get home.

Which Minnesota artists do you enjoy?

The list would definitely be too long if I named everybody. Just paging through the NEMAA (arts association) directory or through MNartists.org would remind me of dozens of artists that I enjoy. But to name a few I would include--

Lindsy Halleckson (painter),
Maren Kloppman (ceramics),
Caitlin Karolczak (painter),
Theresa Handy (painter),
Alyssa Wendorf (watercolor),

and then photographers--
Meg Ojala,
Terry Evans,
Joann Verburg

I am learning about so many more Minnesota artists through this site that this question is really getting difficult. I click on all of the links in the other interviews and it has really expanded my view of art in Minnesota, but those listed above has been long-time favorites of mine.

If I were to follow you around on an “art day” in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

We would start at Midway Contemporary Art, head to SooVac, the Walker Art Center, the Weinstien Gallery in south Mpls, and then to the Minnesota Artist Exhibition Program (MAEP) Gallery in the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

If we had two art days, I would make sure to get to the artist buildings in NE Mpls. My studio is in the Northrup King Building (#274), so we would start there. There is so much art to see at NKB and the surrounding buildings too, like Altered Esthetics in the Q'Arma Bldg. It would also be fun to head to the Fraconia Sculpture Park north of the Twin Cities.

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?

These days, I find out about new artists through Facebook. People's Facebook pages link to blogs and websites, and then people's blogrolls direct me to other artists and art resources.

SpotArt Gallery shows a lot of new and local art each month, and throws an awesome reception, too, so I always check out their website to see which artists are exhibiting next.

Because I have been so locally focussed for the LAI website, I haven't really looked at websites that feature artists from anywhere else in the world. MNartists.org is a great place to start to find out about Minnesota artists. And http:/www.Local-Artist-Interviews.com and its Facebook page are also good sources.

Do you have any exhibits or any interesting things going on in your life or coming up in the near future (2011)?

I have an exhibit at the Coloplast Headquarters in North Minneapolis. They are hugely dedicated to art in their space and purchased many, many pieces from Minneapolis artists when they built this building. Their conference rooms all have hanging systems built in and lots of natural light. It's not open to the public, so good luck seeing the work, but if you work there, check my out on the second floor by the engineers.

And each year I exhibit in my studio (#274) in the Northrup King Building for Art-A-Whirl which is the 3rd weekend in May each year, and at Art-Attack which is the 2nd full weekend in November.

Michael McGraw
On Facebook
Local Artist Interviews on Facebook

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hannah Rogak - Installation-Sculpture

Hannah Rogak

I am the Chicago-raised product of a quiet, yet emotionally strong, Chicago School of the Art Institute alumnus and a determined, entrepreneurial former firearms manufacturer. After years of feeling defeated by art-on-paper, I took three classes from now good friend Josh Almond (http://www.joshalmond.com/), who single-handedly revived my interest in creating art and enabled my 3-dimensional abilities to explode. About 60% of what I create is because of his guidance and pants-kicking those years ago (and inspiration from all his works since).

In 2009, I moved to Minneapolis by way of Orlando, FL (terrible place; don’t ask). I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in social psychology. In June, 2010, the Northern Warehouse Artists Cooperative, in their divine wisdom, accepted me into their venerable ranks. Last month I participated in the Saint Paul Art Crawl with my NWAC brethren. That about gets you caught up thus far.

I saw your exhibit, “Keepsakes: An Exhibition in Loneliness” at the 2010 Fall St. Paul Art Crawl. Art crawls can be an overwhelming experience with the dozens and dozens of artists showing in a small area. But when walking into your studio/living space, a wave of sadness came over me immediately upon entering your space. It was actually quite remarkable. Tell me about this project.

Physically, the show was an installation with soft music, low lighting, song quotes, prose, and poetry on the walls, and plaster partial body casts around the apartment. A pair of legs lounged in my hammock, hands washed dishes at my sink, a torso floated above the floor, changing a light bulb in the ceiling. All headless, colorless, and dissolving away into puddles of white. -

It began as a falling out with a very dear friend of mine in the spring. I had already been playing with a visual of anonymous body parts, perhaps turning my studio into a solid stream of the Underworld, with body parts reaching out from the floor. That started to strike me as too campy and less eerie, and I quickly imaged a normal apartment, not set up as a gallery, littered with bodies attempting to carry on even as they are dissolving.

As my head was full of sadness and regret at the loss of a friend, and the confusion of not knowing quite how or when it happened (how I let it happen), I couldn’t help but see those forms in my house as anything but shadows from my past. Reminding me of beautiful moments, tumultuous debates, desperate pleadings, and content early morning coexistences forever lost. ..

The lettering on the wall is actually a direct result of my particular process. Instead of sketching (I have never felt truly comfortable in 2 dimensions), I write my thought processes. Everything on the wall came out of my notebook, and most of it is more or less unedited from what came out as I tried to get a handle on the concept of my exhibit (I became more comfortable with the term exhibit instead of “show” or “gallery” because it seemed more fitting to a display of true-to-life forms and ideas than a presentation of art. It was more like a history museum than an art gallery, to me).

A visitor to the exhibit early on recommended I compile the writings into a booklet with pictures of the exhibit. That’s currently in the works and will be offered through my website, and most likely at the Spring 2011 Art Crawl.

How does this work differ from some of the other work you have done?

Though it is one of my favorite media, I’ve not had the opportunity to do installation art in full before. That requires not only a lot of space to show your work, but a lot of access and control over the space well before the opening. Fortunately, the live-work spaces in my building allow for that. Working on such a large scale and having that level of control over presentation was immensely freeing and inspiring; I found much of the exhibit came together in the last month as I was planning the layout and not in the first several months of constructing the actual pieces.

The integration of anatomy, language, and psychology into this work is, however, a common thread through many of my previous pieces.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

Josh is famous for saying “Keep working on it” whenever his students bring him new concepts for a project. He would never say yes to your initial idea, because he knew no matter how good it was, no matter how much of an inspiration of genius you thought you had, you could make it better- more thoughtful, more powerful, better crafted. Growing up, my mother did the same, tempered lifting praise with constructive pushing. There is nothing more necessary for a growing artist.

So best advice I’ve ever been given? Never settle on your first (or second or third…) idea.

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?

I am extremely fortunate to have a roughly 1500 sq ft cement-floored studio at the Northern Warehouse building. There I can use my power tools, make a mess with plaster, and move around large pieces of furniture and materials, all without damaging the floors!

As I mentioned before, I have to start any serious project by writing. I start with the concept and work from there. Whatever particular emotion or idea inspired me, the materials, scale, color, etc. that I choose stem from that original seed, and all of that is explored on paper, through the written word (I usually do not type in the early stages). I may sketch outlines, but more to get a sense of construction dimensions than to plan the actual look and texture of any piece. That will have been determined already.

Sometimes I will just start a piece in a material I like and see where it goes, without any plan, but that is more just to keep myself producing and thinking, and less a finished product. Some of the media I am particularly fond of exploring creatively are wood-carving, metal fabrication, found objects, fabric (I sew and crochet), and, of course, plaster Sometimes I will use these to decorate my house/body, to give to friends and family, or just to toss or reuse.

Actually, a lot of my artwork, serious or not, ends up in the trash. I know I probably shouldn’t say that. But it has nothing to do with how much I value my work. It’s a mix of a few factors, including not wanting to see the piece destroyed slowly and accidentally over time (intention is so much prettier in destruction), enjoying the emotional freedom of not being obsessed with my objects, all the way to just not having room for it all (a problem particularly thorny for 3D artists)."

Which Minnesota artists do you enjoy?

I’m actually really new to the visual art scene in Minnesota, since I’m a recent transplant here, so I will plead a bit of ignorance. However, I really have to give affection to fellow NWAC members Rhea Pappas, Matthew Rucker , Kara Hendershot, and Jessie McNally).

Musically, I would have to say local band Dark Dark Dark, and rap artists Atmosphere and P.O.S.. The Current saved my life when I moved here from Chicago.

If I were to follow you around on an “art day” in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

It depends on what you’d want to see. If you want to see where I go to get inspiration, I would take you to the Walker, hiking in a state park, to Ground Zero’s Bondage-a-Go-Go, The Bad Waitress, or just walking through both downtowns. After that it would be Home Depot (the art store for sculptors) and Rockler.

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?

I have been a part of and have loved DeviantArt.com for almost a decade. They have international and local artists, everything from internationally-renowned to your 13-year-old cousin’s Manga tracings. They also have prints available for purchase of all calibers and contests, both of which directly benefit the artists on the site.

Aside from that, I rely on the Citypages.com and vita.mn, because they list smaller galleries and shows in unexpected venues, as well as neighborhood organizations like St Paul Art Crawl and NEMAA .

Hannah Rogak