Wintertide, the biennial juried art exhibit of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association, collects 29 pieces that represent the diverse techniques and interests of the artists working in the area.
The show is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Noon – 6 p.m. with extended evening hours on Friday, Feb. 10, 7 to 11 p.m., closing Feb. 11.
Some of the pieces that hit hardest, understandably, have political resonance. Most fascinating, and chilling, is Brian Boldon’s sculpture American Feral. Two white porcelain pig faces with mud-spattered snouts flank a third that’s been bashed in, revealing that behind its dark inner lining it’s simply hollow. The Animal Farm association is unmistakable, and Marjorie Fedysyn’s Bound Leather II lurks around a corner as a haunting companion piece. There, black leather is sewn tightly around another wall-mounted shape that might or might not be a human head.
More poignant is Amro Sallam’s Ezbet Abu Qarn. A delicately painted but chaotic Cairo roofscape is seen from over the shoulders of two young children — one of whom perches precariously on a beam, surveying the dense and haphazardly developed city where he or she will find a future. It finds an echo in Dan Marshall’s photograph Wide Open, in which two children huddle together on a rock that breaks through the darkening surface of Lake Superior; they’re seemingly uncertain as to whether they want to jump in.
Other artists impress with technique. Awarded Best in Show, CL Martin’s Actor IV is a haunting mixed-media black-and-white portrait, the high-cheekboned subject agape at something just beyond our view. Eric Cornett’s Reeds, Reflected is a delicate painting of mirrored aquatic foliage that seems to float in a grey void.
Photographer John Rodman uses a carbon- based printing system to achieve striking contrast and rich gradation in Cemetery — Native American School, SD.
The show’s more whimsical pieces are generally less successful. Sometimes an Indian goat in a sweater is just…well, an Indian goat in a sweater, as with Donna Meyer’s oil painting of that title. Kat Corrigan’s painting Screen Door Surveillance puts a desperate-looking dog in your face at large scale; it’s unsettling, and not in a good way.
Carolyn Kleinberger’s oil painting Together in the Mudbath is full of soupy bonhomie, but leaves the viewer wondering what more might have been accomplished with this visually interesting subject.
The show’s most intriguing Rorschach test might be Emme Glidden’s oil painting Arboreal. A woman stands before rolling green hills, white branches growing upwards from her bare shoulders; one shoulder holds a living bird, the other a dead bird. In a statement, the artist writes that the figure is in a moment of “transformation” within “the full circle of life and death.” Seasons change, and in this particular season this personification of nature looks deeply annoyed. Can you blame her?
Reviewer Jay Gabler is a writer and editor living in Minneapolis, a digital producer at Minnesota Public Radio, editing and writing for the websites of The Current and YourClassical. He is also a co-founder of The Tangential, and has authored or co-authored seven books. He is the principal theater critic at City Pages, and contributes to Artforum.com as well as other publications.
Below: Emme Glidden: Arboreal (submitted).