Wednesday, November 1, 2017

2017 Looking in Different Directions Gallery Exhibit

Looking in Different Directions

The last show in the Edge Center Gallery for 2017 is “Looking in Different Directions” which includes art by Butch Holden, Professor Emeritus of Art at Bemidji State University, and his son, Twin Cities artist Luke Holden.  It is only fitting that this show is one of the most colorful of the year  in a month that is predominantly white out side.  Yes, winter came unexpectedly early for many of us and it came with a serious white coat of snow over a couple of days shortly before the show.  Come in from the white outside and enjoy lots of color in a variety of mediums including ceramics, photography on canvas, screen printed drawings, and paintings.  The show will be from November 2nd to December 3rd  during normal Gallery hours Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10AM to 4PM and during events at the Edge Center. Admission is free and open to the public. There is a reception for the exhibit on Friday, November 3rd from 5PM to 7PM. Come and see the exhibits during the reception, and have some treats.

The Artists

Butch Holden, was the juror of the 2016 Art on the Edge Juried Show, received his B.A. in art from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and his M.F.A. in ceramics from Indiana University, Bloomington. About his art, professor Holden says, “My works of pottery and photographs are a continuation of my fascination of the similarities of gardening and ceramics. When I garden, I am manipulating  all sorts of variables – soil, location, timing, temperature, water – all in the hopes of achieving a thriving plant.  Pottery is incredibly similar. I manipulate all sorts of variables – minerals, temperature, timing, water, and location (in the kiln) – all in hopes of achieving a desirable ceramic outcome…”

Holden continues, “My Drawings are based on perceptual experiences. The colors, marks and patterns that I develop are meant to evokethe sensations of a scene…”

Luke Holden, is a Twin Cities artist with a B.F.A. from Minnesota State University Moorhead.  He says that, “A When talking on the phone. Images seems to come from somewhere outside my control.  Sometimes I do not even recognize drawings I have made.  I like the irresponsible feelings of drawing anything that bubbles up as though writing down the narrative of a dream.  In my work I create processes that reduce judgement and self-critism so that I am able to draw more freely (or not at all).” 

“What comes out when my mind is a monitor, not a control panel?...The intent of my prints is to dig a tunnel between imagination and outer reality so that the two worlds can talk to each other.”

The Exhibit Samples


Looking in Different Directions will be on display from November 2 to December 3. The Edge Center Gallery is open during Edge events and on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free including the reception. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

"Colorado Territory" is the November Film Classic in Bigfork

This 1949 movie has all the parts a great western of the period needs and it puts them together in a classic fashion.  “Colorado Territory” has action, drama, wonderful locations, romance, a train robbery, and, a musical score to match as well.  It is actually a remake of a 1941 movie “High Sierra” based on a book of the same name.  But the “Colorado Territory” version brings true 50’s style western adventure to the levels the genre deserves. “Colorado Territory” stars Joel McCrea, and Virginia Mayo.  If you like a good Western, this is one you can see many times and enjoy it all the time.  This November Movie Classic will be shown on the big screen of the Edge Theatre in Bigfork by Jack Nachbar. It will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the time period of the movie.  Date: Thursday, November 9th. Time: 6:30PM. Price: free of charge.

A jail break by an outlaw intending to go straight, but circumstances, double dealers and a woman get in the way. With a train robbery to help out an old friend being the path to a better life, your can guess where that can lead, but the viewer is never sure what is ahead for the stars and the action.  There are enough twists and turns to this action packed western to keep the viewers attention even with the beautiful scenery. A good old train robbery plus a double crossing gang member furthers the complications that are already mixed up. The rest of the action you need to see to appreciate it, and it will not disappoint.

Joel McCrea (1905-1990) For an actor whose career spanned almost 5 decades and 75 movies with lots of different roles, it was the Western that made him most comfortable. He once said, “I always felt so much more comfortable in the western. The minute I got on a horse and a pair of boots on, I didn’t feel like I was acting anymore.” Maybe that was because he was working in film studios long before acting holding horses for stars and doing odd jobs to be around the action.   But his career included much more from a Hitchcock spy film to comedy classics.  He once listed his occupation as a rancher and his hobby as acting. 

Virginia Mayo (1920-2005) was best known for a series of comedy films with Danny Kaye and was Warner Brothers biggest money-maker in the late 1940s. But Raoul Walsh, the director of “Colorado Territory” was one of the few directors to recognize Virginia’s potential as a dramatic actress. In this movie she was not only a good dramatic actress, but played a very hard character. Her character was capable of standing toe to toe and shotgun to shotgun with her man to prove it. Her role as a “Half-breed” saloon-singer is considered one of Virginia’s best roles of her career. 

Westerns have been basic stock for movies since movies began and continued right into the television era.  Most often you just can’t beat a good western for a chance to see lots of scenery, good and bad guys, and gals, horses and lots more.  Well, partner, saddle up and come and see this one on the big screen where it was supposed to be shown in the first place.  

You can do that by coming to Bigfork and see this great film example of a Western for yourself.  And if you might need a nudge or two a little more, you can read what a reviewer of the period, Bosley Crowther, published in June 25 1949 in the New York Times: “…And that's what it is, in essence—a hard-riding, ya-hoo Western film about a good hearted, well-intending bandit who is caught in the death-grip of fate. Sprung out of jail by his henchmen and snagged by the smile of a "decent" girl, he still can't escape the environment of crime into which he has been plunged. And so he gets into that last hold-up—a two-gunned honey on a high-balling train, secretly loaded with marshals and a pair of double-crossing scalawags—he gets shot, he discovers the "good" girl's treachery and rides off, with his ….

So come and great western thriller of a movie. Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday November 9th  at 6:30PM. It will be worth going to Bigfork, because Jack will provide you with background about the movie and a cartoon of the period. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sporting Arts Show Exhibit at the Art Gallery in Bigfork

With this Sporting Arts Show at the Edge Center in Bigfork this month the gallery welcomes all Northwoods outdoor enthusiasts to its first such exhibit. The show is a celebration of how many outdoor enthusiasts in the North woods enjoy the the change of seasons from summer to winter. On display at the Edge Gallery in Bigfork until October 28, visitors at the Edge Art Gallery can see and appreciate how a number of artists put into art what this transition of seasons mean to them. The exhibit is open to the public and free of charge every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10AM to 4PM and during other Edge Events.


“We have a rich history of woods, waters, fields, and streams,” says show director Al Gustaveson. “What I envisioned was an event where painters, photographers, and artisans could come together to honor this important part of our history, heritage, and future.”

The result is a diverse exhibit whose participating artists have been featured in places as varied as Field & Stream, the Oval Office, and the movie FargoWhile the show celebrates sporting arts in many forms, a common thread throughout the exhibit is an artistic appreciation of the natural world.

The show features work from a variety of renowned Minnesota and Wisconsin artists— painter and five-time Federal Duck Stamp Competition winner Jim Hautman, wildlife painter and 2017 Minnesota Duck Stamp and Walleye Stamp artist Tim Turenne , fishing guide and Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame artist Bob White,

Also see work by landscape artist Dan Wiemer, wildlife photographer Michael Furtman, and woodcut artists John Koch and Betsy Bowen.

Of special interest for many of the visitors, will be and example of a handmade Birch bark canoe. It was made by Jim Wodahl with instructions by Bill Hafeman. With this canoe, it may take some time to study its construction and try to figure out exactly how it was made. Hafeman Canoes are a legend in this part of Minnesota, and to get a chance to see one made with his instructions is a treat. You can't miss it because it dominates the room as they usually do. Hafeman had his "Boatworks" on highway 6 north of Deer River for years and years. My wife and I had a chance to stop and see one of these being built years ago and it was one of those "chance" stops that we will always remember.    

Once again The Sporting Arts Show will be on display at the Edge Center Gallery next to the Bigfork School until October 28 on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10AM to 4PM and during Edge events. Admission is free.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Remembering the Indian Boarding schools


The “First They Cut Your Hair: Remembering the Indian Boarding Schools” in Bigfork shines a light on this period in our history with visual art and poetry depicting the relocation, reeducation, and cultural indoctrination of Native American children attending these  boarding schools.  The period was late 19th and early 20th centuries when Native American boarding schools were established throughout the United States and Canada in an attempt to assimilate Native American children into European-American standards. The exhibit will be on display September 7 through 30 during normal Gallery hours from 10AM to 4PM and during events at the Edge Center. Admission is free and open to the public. There is an opening reception for the exhibit on Friday, September 8 from 5PM to 7PM, which will include a poetry reading by Denise Lajimodiere from her book "Bitter Tears". The reception provides an opportunity to visit with several of the artists.

Author Denise will be reading at the Bigfork Art Gallery Reception is from her book "Bitter Tears" (above). The book of poems is a result of Denise spending years interviewing boarding school students.


The photograph below shows the Carisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania about 1900.  The schools separated children from their parents and placed undue hardships the entire families. Native American students were immersed in European-American culture. They had to get their hair cut, give up their traditional clothing, give up their meaningful Native names for English ones, were forbidden to speak their Native languages, and other personal hardships. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) founded the schools based on the Carisle School (below).

Since the boarding school years, the Tribal Nations have increasingly insisted on local educational opportunities and have established many tribal colleges and universities. One example is the Ilisaqvik College in Barrow Alaska (below with Bowhead Whale skull in front of the college). With at least 32 fully accredited Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in the United States, they are controlled and operated by Native Americans and are part of the Native American “institution building in order to pass on their own cultures.”

Interestingly the use of many bilingual Native American “Code Talkers” by the armed forces during WWII was one of the most successful ways the US military had in communicating without fear of the messages being translated. Code talking was actually pioneered by Choctaw Indians in the U.S. Army in WWI.  The later deployment of Code Talkers during WWII were in more significant numbers with Navajo, Cherokee, Choctaw, Lakota, Meskwaki and Comanche GIs using thier unbreakable languages. Some of these service personnel had attended Indian boarding schools but did not loose their native language. It was puzzling for them that the government which had tried to take away their language in school, later gave them a critical role in speaking their language in military operations.


Regarding the exhibit, its Director, Karen Ferlaak, says,  "I was drawn to the subject many years ago but wasn't quite sure how to proceed with an exhibit at first. I decided to let visual art and poetry tell part of the story. Hopefully, it will encourage visitors to explore that part of our history." 

"The artwork featured is bold, provocative, and encompasses themes of pain, alienation, and... healing.The group exhibit showcases work from these Native American artists Laura Youngbird, Felix Youngbird, Steve Premo, Chholing Taha, Bobby Martin, and boarding school survivor Sam Hill..." WATTS News, Yas Scrivner.

"First They Cut Your Hair" will be on display at the Edge Gallery from September 7–30 Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10AM to 4PM. Admission is free and open to the public. There is a reception for the exhibit on Friday, September 7th from 5PM to 7PM.  Exhibit artist, Chholing Taha, said of the reception in a Facebook post, “Great people, art, and entertainment. The art openings are a great time to meet new friends and visit with a lot of artistic talent.”


Monday, September 4, 2017

Gable and MacDonald Team up for “San Francisco” the September Film Classic in Bigfork

Take two stars like Gable and MacDonald then add Spencer Tracy to the mix for creating the "first" disaster film about of the San Francisco earthquake and you have a super 1930's movie.  It is titled "San Francisco" and is one of MGM’s best movies of 1936. It had seven Oscar nominations, and one win for sound recording.  The movie made $5 million total, with over $2 million in profits. That’s a blockbuster in star-power, money-power, and quality. It had lots of singing, a great love story, and action. I can’t figure anything more a movie “goer” of the period could want or need. This movie was before computerized effects, so they had to make some of the sets that would shake, rattle, and roll just like an earthquake. There was also a great ending in the original release that later releases unfortunately omitted because management thought it dated the film. The movie will be shown Thursday, September 14th in Bigfork on the big screen of the Edge Center by Jack Nachbar.  It will be accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the film and the time period of the picture's release.

The plot doesn’t need much description except to say Clark Gable was the bad guy, Spencer Tracy is a priest (sound familiar), and MacDonald an aspiring and very talented young singer. There is a lot between the beginning and end of the film that you’ll just have to come and see it to appreciate. It will be great to just see how much Hollywood could do with a “disaster film” and not have computer effects to help the action.

William Clark Gable (1901-1960) was a heart-breaker with the ladies on and off the sets of movies. But he did not like his leading lady in this film Jeanette MacDonald very much. Regardless, the film got made with great results and a few pranks by Gable at MacDonald’s expense. And in fact, it was MacDonald that wanted Gable for the part in the first place.

Gable started his career in silent films as an extra and his good looks and “bad-guy” persona did him well in the “talkies.” He had three Oscar nominations and won once for “It Happened One Night”.  He was a success on and off the stage. He is considered one of the most consistently good investments in films. Off stage he was loved by his fans and has the distinction of being the last star to play opposite Marilyn Monroe.  In Quigley's publishing annual Top Ten Money Makers Poll he appeared 16 times and was named seventh-greatest male star of American Classic cinema by the American Film Institute.

Jeanette Anna Macdonald (1903-1965) was an American singer and actress who is best remembered for her musicals of the 1930's singing opposite the likes of Maurice Chevalier and Nelson Eddy.  She stared in 29 feature films in the 30's and 40's and recorded numerous songs. Her films were nominated four times for best picture Oscars.

Nelson Eddy is most often thought of singing opposite Jeanette in movies, but was not available for “San Francisco” so she picked Gable as her choice for leading man in this disaster movie.

Jeanette is credited with introducing opera to the movies and was one of the most influential sopranos of her time inspiring a generation of singers in that era.

Spencer Bonaventure Tracy (1900-1967) was known for his natural style and versatility on the screen. He won two Oscars from a list of nine nominations. Spencer was a good friend of Clark Gable and enjoyed working with him His only problem with the work was that he never got equal billing with Gable. That eventually took its toll of their working together and ended the two appearing in films together.

Tracy acted in 75 films in his career and gained the respect of his peers for his performances. In 1999 the American Film Institute ranked Tracy as the 9th greatest male star of Classic Hollywood Cinema. 

The critics as well as audiences liked the results that MGM got in producing this movie. A reviewer of that period, Frank S. Nugent, writing for the New York Times titled his June 27, 1936 column: ‘San Francisco’ at the Capitol, Is a stirring Film of the Barbary Coast.  

The review says, “Out of the gusty, brawling, catastrophic history of the Barbary Coast early in the century, Metro-Goldwin-Mayer has fashioned a prodigally generous and completely satisfying photoplay. "San Francisco" is less a single motion picture than an anthology. During its two-hour course on the Capitol's screen it manages to encompass most of the virtues of the operatic film, the romantic, the biographical, the dramatic and the documentary. Astonishingly, it serves all of them abundantly well, truly meriting commendation as a near-perfect illustration of the cinema's inherent and acquired ability to absorb and digest other art forms and convert them into its own sinews.”

You can see this movie free of charge. An appropriate snack will be served courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist, Lynn.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday September 14 at 6:30PM. It will be worth going to Bigfork, because Jack will give you lots of background about the movie and a cartoon of the period will give you some laughs.