This exhibition is part of NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley.
Specimens reflects the themes of Minnesota-native, author and paleobiologist Hope Jahren’s memoir LAB GIRL. The exhibition brings together the work of ceramic sculptor Jenn Angell and the embroidered botanical illustrations of Karen Gustafson. Angell’s work is self-reflective and preserves emotions and traumas the way a scientist preserves a specimen. Gustafson’s delicate, floating botanicals harken back to an era of documentation and observation before mass spectrometers and DNA sequencing used today.
Jenn Angell (Minneapolis, MN) is a 2017 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where she majored in ceramics and minored in painting and psychology. She says, “Clay remembers. It gets stretched, pushed, pulled, scarred. My work is about the heavier side of the human condition and how things manifest and are contained in the physical body. The body becomes a container for these traumas, a storage space for the weight of the unconscious.” Angell’s ceramic pieces are primarily constructed with slabs and coils with sculptural elements added on. They are fired in atmospheric kilns. Angell’s recognizes how, “the intensity of the firing complements the intensity of the concept.”
Karen Gustafson (Minneapolis, MN) has her studio in the Northrup King Building and is part of the annual Art-A-Whirl events in mid-May. Her work weaves together an interest in art, science, textiles, plants, food, and health. Gustafson was inspired by research into ancient medicinal plants of the original Vienna Dioscorides herbal (512 AD) which contains the oldest surviving complete manuscript of Dioscorides’ pharmacopoeia. She says, “These plants create a connection to this ancient text, linking past to present. I use thread, translucent organza, and a sewing machine to create ethereal plant portraits. Floating away from the wall, they cast a secondary shadow drawing.” Gustafson has a MFA, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a BFA and Art History Minor, University of Minnesota.
Celebrate the opening of Specimens: art, science and the human condition on Thursday, August 20 from 6-8 PM. The show will be on view through September 26, 2020.
For the sixth consecutive year, ArtReach St. Croix has been awarded a prestigious grant to host NEA Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. For more information about NEA Big Read in the St. Croix Valley and to access the full list of April events visit ValleyReads.org.
2020/08/20 - 2020/09/26