Thursday, June 4, 2015

“With a View: Landscape Artists” at the Edge Gallery

When you think of landscape in art, out side natural settings come to mind that are typically easy to identify. Well the June exhibit at the Edge Canter in Bigfork twists the typical in both the expected views and underlying meanings.  With the variety of media featured in the exhibit “With a View: Landscape Artists”, you should expect the unexpected in both presentation and meaning. Works in glass, photography, drawing, and painting present how the artists showing view the outside world, sometimes for a just a particular time and place. It will be a new, and a challenging look at what we often see every day.  The gallery is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10AM to 4PM. There is an opening reception on Friday June 5th from 5PM to 7PM with a chance to meet the artists and share in refreshments.  The gallery exhibition and reception is free of charge.

One of the photographs in the exhibit by Jill Johnson titled “Headed Over,” also titled "Into the Mist," is of a misty landscape that is especially relevant to how one can view the outdoors at a particular moment in one’s life.  Jill says, “This was the last picture I took of Bob, my life partner.  But how could I have known at the time?  We were in New Orleans on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain walking along the levee.  Bob headed off into the mist to see what was on the other side of the levee.  Of course the significance to me is that he left me not long after on his own, exploring the other side of the universe.”

Jill is one of nine invited artists that will not be the standard “old barn” scenes. Look at the above photograph by Jill titled, "On the Rise." Ever feel like this on some mornings? The emphasis is on the variety of ways that artists look at the outside world. There are two artists that present almost abstract views of the world certainly challenging the visitor’s concept of the outdoors. These artists are David Nyssen’s paintings, plus Jon Offutt’s glasswork.

David Nyssen says,  "My work is inspired by places, people, relationships, and interactions.  I use them to create spaces of self-reflection and introspection.  My process consists of allowing shapes and colors to happen organically while still maintaining some control by breaking things down to their simplest shapes and forms.  These pieces were inspired by a trip along the North Shore and the goal with these pieces is to capture the calm and relaxed nature of the scenery.

Then there is Aaron Squardroni who use a variety of techniques. He says about his above work thatit is, "This drawing is part of a series of work about the identity of the Kawishiwi river based on important aspects from its past present and future. The drawing scene here is representative of a possible future that relates to copper mining. In the image, you can see an aerial view of a tailings basin and a landscape view of a mining facility. To explore the story of the Mesabi Iron Range, I am creating a series of land portraits: drawings that convey a narrative of the land. These land portraits record a history of landmarks and sacred spaces based on traditional legends, government treaties, current disputes, and future visions. My intention is to create continuity where great changes have occurred in the landscape or are likely to occur in the future. I hope that the Mesabi Iron Range and its story can become part of the public consciousness in a way that influences the future of Minnesota's landscape."

Gene Madsen’s ("Wolf and Buck Deer" above ) meticulously detailed landscape paintings are more than what you see. They tell a story. Can you spot the wolf?

And then there are four photographers with each approaching landscape in a different way. Above is Audrey Johnson's creative framed approach to her photographs.  The camera gives an artist an instant view of nature, life, and abstract idea or concept that often goes away as fast as the shutter clicks. The resulting image can be as surprising to the artist as it is to the viewer.  That presents a wonderful tool and challenge unique to the medium.

Dave Swanson’s work (above tiitled "Cliff dwellers") includes nude figures in overpowering natural settings often in black and white. How did the model ever get up there?

Donna Anderson often catches unusual angles or views (above titled "Lightning Explosion"). She says,  "I have had a nearly lifelong interest in photography.  I was presented my first camera, a Kodak Brownie, at the age of ten and I have I been taking photographs ever since.   My goal is to capture those moments when you are struck by the “WOW-ness” of a scene, because you know things can change instantly and that it won't be the same in another blink of the eye."

Jill Johnson’s photos vary from close detail to expansive views. She says, "I love compositions that suggest going somewhere unrevealed like looking through a window or walking into the mist over the levee or taking granddaughter for a wagon ride (above titled "Good Grandpa") or flying off in early  morning. heading somewhere. If the photo encourages you to imagine that unrevealed place, I  consider it a success."

Audrey Johnson often works with reflective surfaces and weather conditions, but also shows a dept in human feelings. Her photographs above, titled "Ode to Howard Pitzen" is particularly significant to anyone knowing about the annual North Star Rodeo north of Effie.

Jon Offut's glass work ("furrows and Tree Lines" above) can best be described as fantastic. You will see several examples of his work in the show and all are "landscape" oriented.

So come and see what an artist might appreciate a view of “landscape” that you might not see or get a chance to experience. The exhibit is on display from June 4th to the 27th. The gallery is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10AM to 4PM. There is an opening reception on Friday June 5th from 5PM to 7PM with a chance to meet the artists and share in refreshments.  The gallery exhibition and reception is free of charge.

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