AITKIN -- Artists Dean Lettenstrom and Nancy Cramer Lettenstrom will collaborate on an exhibit of their paintings, drawings and mixed media for the exhibit "Unstill Lives," which runs through Aug. 10 at Ripple River Gallery south of Aitkin. A reception will run 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday.
"Unstill Lives" marks the first time in 30 years that the Lettenstroms have shown their work together. The Lettenstroms are faculty members at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Dean as an art department professor, and Nancy as an assistant professor. Both have shown their work extensively at exhibitions nationwide and received numerous honors and awards.
"I have combined what I have sensed to be (the subject's) history, with specific events, attitudes, beliefs, comedies and tragedies of my own person a history and my life with art," Dean Lettenstrom said. "Particular among these are the frogs, butterflies and the smaller, more vulnerable of beings and the rusted and maimed parts of human manufacture that appear to be of no real use any longer. In this sense I feel akin to Mary Shelley's Doctor Frankenstein."
Nancy Cramer Lettenstrom explained the evolution of her work.
"Animals remind us to simplify. My life's and art's focus for many years had been the animal and I have been left with this wise reminder. In shifting the emphasis in my recent work to the more 'tangled' human being, I sought to carry that thought over."
Mike Hawkins displays 'Recycled Pleasure'
LITTLE FALLS -- "Recycled Pleasure" by Minnesota artist Mike Hawkins is on display through August at the Morrison County Government Center Gallery in Little Falls.
The traditional paintbrush is out for artist Hawkins, who has developed new techniques, including using a hypodermic syringe, or a high powered magnet with metal shavings. He uses "interference colors" which give his work a mystic quality. The viewer can't glance once, but must step closer for further observation. From one angle, a color might appear, only to vanish from another vantage point. Likewise, designs appear and disappear depending on the viewpoint.
Hawkins likens his art to a birth experience, something to be nurtured and molded by learning lessons through trial and error. To him, art is a passion and a release from the drudgery of life.
Landscape photo exhibit at Arts Center
LITTLE FALLS -- Rhode Island artist Christina Seely is exhibiting selected works form "Carscapes, Reservoirs and Nature Vitamins" through Aug. 1 in the Great River Arts Center Gallery.
Seely's recent lifestyle necessitated frequent cross-country driving, which led to a body of work she calls Carscapes. In these blurred landscapes she placed the focus of the camera on a specific frame of the interior of the car while catching the passing view through the window. The large-scale (30- by 40-inch) photographs express the idea of traveling through an unidentifiable landscape where the emphasis lies on the space within and implies disengagement in the environment outside the vehicle.
The exhibit also includes three diptychs of water coming from faucets that are from a larger series of photographs entitled Reservoir. Through this body of work, Seely proposes questions about our relationship to water as a resource. By using the tools and language of photography to present an ordinary object like a faucet as extraordinary, new attention is drawn to the substance of water. In these images water becomes isolated and its simple beauty is accentuated and can be appreciated.
To draw a link between the images and a greater working system of water, each of the images that includes a faucet is titled by the specific address of the location of the faucet and the source from which the water depicted originates.
As well, the faucets were purposefully selected from a diversity of locations to suggest that issues surrounding water are widespread. Because it is becoming more and more pertinent that we pay better attention to the way we use our resources, Seely encourages the viewers to think more carefully about their relationship to and use of water.
Nature Vitamins is the third body or work represented in this exhibit. The calm and energy one receives from nature is unparalleled when living in an urban environment. Nature Vitamins references what is missing when people don't interact with the natural environment. In a more accommodating venue, these images are displayed in a manner that surrounds the viewer to give a feeling of being in a forest.
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