Art Hounds: Rural artists reveal a complex world

A wall with red and white paint
Sophia Chai's installation in the Olson Gallery at Bethel University. Archival inkjet print on Hahnemühle photo rag paper mounted on Dibond and wall paint.
Courtesy photo

Ashley Hanson wants you to know about an exhibit that celebrates rural Minnesota artists and stories. Hanson, executive director of the nonprofit Department of Public of Transformation in Granite Falls, recommends “Field Notes: 7 Truths about the Rural,” which draws together the work of seven artists of various disciplines. They explore subjects that make up our rural places, including small-town newspapers, post offices, mining and extractive economies, relationship to the land, and more.

Laura Youngbird of the Minnesota Chippewa, Grand Portage Band uses mixed media to investigate “issues of identity as they relate to family members’ forced enrollment in boarding schools.” Installation artist Matthew Fluharty of Winona looks at the ways rural communities are presented in national print media compared with local newspapers. Abstract painters Andrew Nordin and Lisa Bergh of New London look outward to architecture and inward to our emotional landscapes.

Hanson highlights the timing of this exhibit makes it powerful as it celebrates the complexities of rural life at a time when political coverage focused on voting blocs can oversimplify rural life. The exhibit runs at Form+Content Gallery in Minneapolis through Dec. 23.


Theater maker Ryan Paul North of St. Anthony Village is looking forward to seeing Spiked! at Granada Theater in Minneapolis. A co-production of Table Salt Productions and Rock What You Got, this classic holiday variety show promises music, improv and sketch comedy, along with a great line-up of guests that vary from show to show.

It’s family friendly, with a run time of three hours. North is looking forward to a chance to sit back, relax with a drink, and laugh.

“Spiked!” runs Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 3 and 4 at 2 p.m. and Dec. 6 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. Dining options are available before the show for additional cost.


Nicole Watson, director of the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery at St. Catherine University, wants to shine a light on a Twin Cities-area art exhibit that she found utterly thought-provoking. “Surface Tension” at Bethel University’s Olson Gallery features the work of four female photographers, Sophia Chai, Paula McCartney, Christine Nguyen and Letha Wilson. Chai is from Rochester and McCarthy is based in the Twin Cities.

Stoneware leaning against a wall
Paula McCartney's work, "Acquaintance," glazed and unglazed stoneware and archival pigment print on a wood base.
Courtesy photo

Each artist pushes their work beyond the bounds of a printed photograph. Sometimes these changes are 3-dimensional, like McCartney’s ceramic geometric shapes that play on the light and shadow in her photographs. “The longer you look at them the more surprises that surface,” Watson said. In Nguyen’s work, light and time change the appearance of her unprocessed photographic paper.

The exhibit is open to the public and on view through Dec. 16.

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