Made Here Summer 2014
Participating Artists in Made Here, Summer 2014:
Pause! If you are sighted, close your eyes. Now. At what angle does your left shin bend toward your thigh? How does your skull sit on top of the spine? How are you moving--and how do you know? Proprioception registers the body in space, its movement, and the relationships of body parts. Tissue in our joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments deliver stimulus to nerves, which our brain registers as sensation creating a continuous cumulative picture of the body in space: where the body was, where it is, and projecting where it might be going.
Proprioception is why we stumble when one step is a half centimeter higher than the rest.
Proprius invites a conscious awareness of bodies in space, giving light to the internal structures of the body and inviting curiosity, play, and experimentation. These miniscule, delicate tissues inform much of our lived experience, our basis for relating to the world around us. If sensation is the language of the body, then paying attention to sensation becomes vital.
What is your position in space? How do you move through the world? Where have you been; where are you going? And how does your body become a part of those plans?
Title: Meat Raffle
I am an emerging printmaker and collage artist specializing in woodcuts and photomontage.
The images that you see here are enlargements of some of the block prints that I have created over the past 12 months. Most of these prints are taken from the “Meat Raffle” series (hence the title). Others were created in response to political and cultural concerns.
Printmaking has always been a democratic medium. Prints and posters were one of the earliest forms of mass communication, and print’s ability to convey instant messages has lost none of its power, even in the midst of the digital age.
As a printmaker, I am less interested in the idea of “limited editions” than I am in the idea of printmaking as an affordable art form, one that appeals to people who might never set a foot in a gallery.
Title: Up to the lake
I’m a native Minnesotan who thinks we live in a very special place. This piece is a celebration of where we live and what it has to offer. That’s the literal essence of the art.
The inspiration behind the piece reflects the spirit of my Mom. Her love of northern Minnesota, and ultimately the love my mother and father shared with each other.
My Mom and Dad moved up north when they retired, fulfilling a lifelong dream to live on a lake in northern Minnesota and to enjoy life’s quiet moments that lake living had to offer. My Dad didn’t have as many years up north as my Mom, but they both enjoyed their time together on the lake before he passed.
Mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, and decided the one thing she had control over was where she would finish out her days. Instead of treatment she decided she wanted to spend time with family and chose to remain at the lake.
While she lay dying in her living room in front of the picture window, overlooking the lake, she would drift in and out of consciousness. Shortly before my mother took her last breath she startled us all by waking up and being quite alert. She leaned forward to look out the window and we asked what she was looking for. She answered, “I’m waiting for your father, he’s coming in the float plane”. At the time we thought this quite amusing, as my Dad had died 12 years earlier and never had been in a float-plane.
Less than an hour later, my Mom took her last breath with all of her children by her side. While trying to wrap our heads around the fact that our last surviving parent had just passed, we began to hear the steady drone of a large engine. Minutes later a yellow float-plane descended from the sky and landed in front of my Mom’s lake home.
I have no way to explain what happened. Coincidence? Maybe. I’d like to think it was something more. The lake my Mom had lived on for the last 17 years was a small lake. We had never seen a plane land on this lake in all the years before or since. It gives me comfort to think that in a time of having little control of this life-event, somehow my Dad had found a way to come back to help my Mom. For me this piece is in loving memory of my Mom and Dad and their time together on the lake.
Title: The Space-Lounge Peep-Show
"The Space-Lounge Peep-Show" is a collaborative Installation by myself and Mach Fox which turns a simple four hour DJ set into a continuous 4 hour magical video loop of music, pre-recorded image, and manipulated cyber wizardry, all nested within a full room installation of broken mirror shards, old style TV's, and objects of fascination. We'll create an intimate, almost hidden environment of wonder and jagged reflection.
Title: States of Limbo
I am interested in states of limbo – buildings and houses, tracts of land, cars, objects, and even people that have been in stasis for years or decades but that may be on the verge of sudden and irreversible change. I feel my photographs are successful when subtle signs of impending change find their way into my work. I also try to capture the human desire for stasis, or more accurately the desire for stability, which is often at odds with the equally human desire for change.
I don’t necessarily have a preconceived notion of what I want to photograph. Instead, this work is a way of moving through the world and exploring these states of limbo. The photographs are evidence of that exploration.
Title: Wo ai ni : An Act of Breathing
Ta-coumba Aiken, a longtime resident in Lowertown - Saint Paul, MN is an internationally recognized Twin Cities artist, arts administrator, educator and community activist who focus on public art and collaborative projects. His loose, lively “rhythm paintings” on paper and canvas are evidence of the spirit of the man.
He is the force behind some of Minnesota’s most acclaimed public art works, working in collaboration with schools, neighborhood organizations, municipalities, and corporations. His works can be found in several public collections such as the Good Thunder Grain Elevator, the Fourth floor fire place in the New Central Library in downtown Minneapolis, the Seventh and Robert Street Municipal Parking Ramp in downtown Saint Paul and mosaic freezes in the bus shelters in the Chiago Lake Transit Stations.
He also has work in numerous private collections including the BUSH Foundation, Saint Paul Foundation, the Walker Art Center, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, RBC Dain Raucher, General Mills, Herbie Hancock, Taj Mahal, and Dr. Maya Angelou.
Presently Ta-coumba Aiken serves as a trustee on the board at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He has steadfastly worked for the betterment of artist living, working, contributing and surviving in their communities as artist. Aiken is also referred to as the ““Mayor of Lowertown,”
Ta-coumba Aiken says, “I create my art to heal the hearts and souls of people and their communities by creating positive spirit / energy.” Aiken identifies opportunities that exist in architectural, landscape and public works projects evoking a positive spirit.
Title: Beauty, Heart, And Spirit™– The Sacred Legacy of Edward S. Curtis
Over one hundred years ago, Edward Curtis dedicated his life to creating an unparalleled record of the spirit and essence of Native American tribal groups, while documenting their traditional cultures throughout the Western United States. Heralded as an award-winning artist, an intrepid entrepreneur, a respected ethnographer, and a superbly accomplished publisher, Curtis achieved what many thought would be impossible. By doing so, he created striking works that celebrate the Beauty, Heart, and Spirit™ of humanity at its finest. Today, Curtis is one of the world’s most widely collected and exhibited fine art photographers in the world and his work has moved viewers on every continent but Antarctica.
Christopher Cardozo Fine Art (CCFA) has been the leading source for Edward S. Curtis’ work for over forty years. Consistently maintaining the world’s largest inventory of rare, vintage, original Curtis photographs, CCFA has passionately and meticulously sought to share the Sacred Legacy™ of Edward Curtis’ works. This mission led CCFA to re-develop lost techniques and processes used by Curtis himself. After a decade of research and development, CCFA has succeeded in creating extraordinary contemporary original photographs by Edward Curtis, culminating in an unprecedented body of photographs, which has been exhibited and collected worldwide. The photographs seen here are contemporary Curtis prints, created by Christopher Cardozo Fine Art.
Title: Bananas Industries
"I use twistables, felt tip marker & music in the creation of my art."
Title: Visionaries: Connecting to the Ideas of the World
A stroll down Nicollet Avenue is not a bad way to learn about the role of our design culture in the formation of Minneapolis. This street weaves its way from the city’s origins at St. Anthony Falls all the way to the Minnesota River. Its landscape offers access to many of our most significant buildings, chief cultural institutions, and the design ideas found within.
From the Mississippi, to Nicollet Mall, Loring Park, Eat Street, and through South Minneapolis; our inquisitive stroller is exposed to a history of ideas. Like the people that live here, some of these ideas are native, but many come from other places in the world. Today we all live with the benefits of this global thinking.
This walk can show how Minneapolis history demonstrates the willingness of visionary city leaders to support the ideas of the brilliant outsider and the untried innovator. It can show the value of ideas that are compelling and smart. This walk has the potential to expose the history of expansive design culture in Minneapolis, and to show us what it means for design when it is Made Here.
Title: Turtle Island
Douglas K. Limón: I take thousands of tiny glass beads and sew them onto a variety of materials to make a statement not only as art but to preserve the history and culture of my ancestors. I make traditional and contemporary Native American beadwork. My beadwork is a story of beliefs, of art, of commerce. You can enjoy the beadwork as art but behind the art is a story. The story brings the art to life as a means of visual communication.
When I bead my signature Turtles, I bead in concentric circles in a counter clockwise direction. The counter clockwise direction emits energy and the clockwise direction absorbs energy. When I first learned this, I felt the need to alternate my beading direction for each circle to balance the give and take of energy. The instant that thought entered my mind I realized when I sew the beads on in a counter clockwise direction the thread on back is moving in a clockwise direction. Therefore, as I bead, energy is absorbed and released into the universe simultaneously balancing the energy in my Turtle medallions.
Creativity is very much a part of my existence as a Native American whether it’s a song, a dance or beadwork. I encode cultural and spiritual messages in my designs. The visual appearance of the art form is one thing but there is meaning in the designs and colors that have to be interpreted. It has history, it has beliefs. I create my art to honor my ancestors.
Rachel Limón: The focus of my photographic work is on the beauty and intrigue of the present moment. I try to capture rare moments in time as they unveil themselves with the hope to share and enlighten these reflective moments. My work is influenced by my love for my family and nature. We are very active in the Native American and Artists Communities and many of my images feature my son, who is an inspiration to all. He started dancing Native American Grass Dancing at the age of 14 months and has danced at powwows, special exhibitions, schools, the National Museum of the American Indian, Minnesota Swarm Game, Minnesota Twins Fest, and well-known theaters.
I grew up in N.E. Minneapolis in a family of artistic talent. The arts programs were taken out of the Minneapolis Public School System so I didn't have the opportunity to explore my own arts journey until after I finished my Graduate Degree with a Masters of International Management from the University of St. Thomas. I have held positions in the private sector in the international arena until I began my work in 2000 as the State of Minnesota's International Trade Representative for Latin America & the Caribbean for the Minnesota Trade Office. In my position, I have had the opportunity to travel world-wide and what I have learned from that is to be in the present moment and to feel grateful.
Title: I AM WATER
I AM WATER is an artful vehicle for lending your voice to the myriad efforts to protect our planets fresh water.
Our fresh water is under severe threat from pollution, invasive species, pump-off for use in toxic mining techniques such as fracking, and marketization. I AM WATER asks that you reflect on these challenges and:
- Send a wish or prayer to the water
- Act mindfully in its behalf
- Spread the word to others
I AM WATER consists of hundreds of individually created Tyvek paper ‘ripples.’ As they are gathered the ripples are joined together to create a large and ever-expanding artwork: a visual metaphor of the power that results when we work together.
Title: The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations
Our piece is based on several perceptions of the social landscape in the city. There is a poem which is written as a counter-narrative to the epistemic and ontological violence experienced by people of color. It is told from many voices. It is inspired by the viewpoint of my apartment window overlooking the skyline from here on the north side. It is an attempt at an honest ‘first voice’ assessment of the contemporary social climate surrounding stratification.
A series of photos were done also to accompany the text. They are to suggest regular citizens holding signs reminiscent of many of the city's transient population as they solicit commuters for money in public spaces. Collectively both approaches serve to evoke questions, such as how many of our citizens are often regarded as invisible? What do we actually see when we see these citizens?
Our intent was to look deeply at poverty and how it relates to historical trauma experienced over time. We wanted to know how that coincides with the families affected by the 2011 tornado, the looming gentrification being ushered in on the north side and who's story gets told. We were interested in how narrative is formed in times like this and how that effect becomes normative. What we discovered is a "single story" about the north side. One which suggests crime, poverty and low expectations. We also were interested in how this correlates to the ever-present “equity” gaps plaguing our city’s people of color (housing, incarceration, education, health and employment).
We observed that image is everything. Especially in stories about the underclass. We are interested in transforming this rhetoric. We wanted to have our installation act as a conversation piece. Our overall intent is to begin the cumbersome process of healing.
As an artist, I draw tremendous inspiration from small and precious biological forms like flower stamens, micro-crustaceans and the elegant bodies of different insects. “Sprites” is a visual celebration of this beauty, and derives from the wonder that I feel when encountering it. Using textiles as a vehicle, my work reimagines these living shapes into large-scale statements of vibrant color, nebulous swirls and luminous scenery.
Yet this kind of stylization is much more than fanciful. Rather, I am using it to highlight some of the hidden miracles in the miniverse of the small organisms thriving right in our own backyards.
For example, bees can see infrared light, and plants signal to them through the infrared designs that festoon their vegetal bodies. Thus, bees and plants perceive and express through colors that we humans cannot see; they share a lucent visual culture that is centered on such spectra. Recalling this marvelous truth, “Sprites” uses deeply saturated hues to suggest the glowing richness of those that radiate beyond human perception, and the ecological relationships that these encapsulate.
My goal with this work is to share something beautiful and enchanting with the viewer - to communicate both aesthetic pleasure and ecological awe. Hence the name “Sprites”: a term that refers to magical woodland beings like fairies or dryads. By using this title, I am casting the small plants and animals that inspire me as fantastic entities of mysterious grace, and extolling them as the spellbinding vitality of the landscape we share with them.
Title: Our Town
The Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts serves and supports creative adults with a spectrum of disabilities in an arts-specific inclusive environment. Interact’s driving vision of radical inclusions recognizes the fact that people with disabilities are uniquely creative and talented, but that they are often locked out of success because their creativity is ignored, discouraged, or considered inappropriate. The artists in our Visual Arts Department make both 2- and 3- dimensional work. We often use readily available materials to construct large objects, sets, and props, and cardboard forms the basis of our imagined city. The altered perspective in Our Town is intended to draw attention to how people with disabilities think about encountering the shared urban environment. The characters in Our Town are ideal selves made my artists and the staff of Interact’s Visual Arts Department. Our Town is a collaboration of over thirty artists who work in the visual arts studio at the Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts.
Title: Pan Dimensional Face Transmuter
The Playatta Pan-dimensional Face Transmuter is an animated portrait machine built in the year 2041, and designed to give participants the ability to see themselves in alternate dimensional viewpoints imagined by Minneapolis based video artists. The system records participants in play, and uses their face as the centerpiece in dynamic animations that play back on an 8ft time-portal. Their video portraits may then be recorded and featured online where participants can view, download and share as an animated gif (the standard file format for all digital content in the future)... lets play.
Title: (No) Vacancy
The property at 701 Hennepin Avenue was once a thriving commercial space, housing multiple businesses over several decades and serving as an epicenter of daily life. This installation, titled (No) Vacancy, plays off both the ideas of occupancy and abandonment. A seemingly inhabited yet unnamed business of sorts suddenly pops up in the second floor of this years-vacated commercial property, advertising that it has no vacancies left. Not only will this piece naturally spill out onto cars and pedestrians at Hennepin and 7thSt., but questions will be raised about what’s just moved in. There are no identifying signs to describe what this space is. The revelation that this site specific installation is not in fact a viable business, but rather an artistic public intervention will lend itself to understanding the larger initiative activating the Cultural District.
In the main, large intersection-facing window is an illuminated "Sorry, No Vacancy" sign while the windows surrounding it on both sides feature flashing arrows with chasing lights pointing inwards, towards the text. The rest of the windows in the space are animated with lamps and silhouettes of human figures in varied backdrops, as well as animated projections that create a sense of moving activity inside. Periodically the "Sorry No" text will go dark, so that only the arrows and the word Vacancy are lit. When this happens, the rest of the space similarly goes dark demonstrating the significant change in energy with occupancy.
Blooming is a continuation of a body of work that I have been developing since a trip two years ago to Spain and the Netherlands. While there I found myself surrounded by clay. I saw texture and pattern in everything from tiles at the Alhambra in Spain to the brickwork in the Netherlands. That trip led me to explore ways of working with texture and pattern in my own clay work through larger installations.
Blooming is one of those installations. This piece began by throwing bowls on the potter’s wheel. Then I changed the shapes by cutting and assembling. Finally I arranged these pieces side by side to create patterns and suggest movement. I am very interested in the spaces created between the forms when they are set side by side and the new forms they create.
Made Here, a project of Hennepin Theatre Trust, is a walkable urban art experience that connects people to local art and artists in the West Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District.