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Fifth-year apprentices say farewell in Arts Guild exhibition

Jessica Moes, Arts and Entertainment Editor
May 14, 2013 • 2,838 views

The St. Olaf fifth-year art apprentices, in conjunction with Carleton College’s art educational intern, are showing off a year of hard work at an exhibit at the Northfield Arts Guild. The show, collectively titled “A Minnesotan Goodbye,”  highlights a fascinating view of the intersection of organic life with human determination, and has allowed the artists to explore connections through a variety of media.

Each artist has approached their fifth-year apprenticeship differently, which is shown through their final displayed pieces. Anders Nienstaedt ’12 explored the intersection between art and journalism and the pursuit of truth in a personal story. His work includes a 68-page printed book that is available for sale, two basswood sculptures of discarded trash, an audio loop of a recorded interview with two men and several wall pieces that illustrate the text from those same interviews.

Nienstaedt also collaborated with Anda Tanaka ’12 in an interactive piece in which audience members are invited to write and mail pre-stamped postcards. Tanaka’s other pieces on exhibit include mixed-media paintings on life-sized swatches of Tyvek and a sculpture of printed mice in a gold-leafed basket.

Sheila Novak ’12 focused on issues of compassion which come to life in her figurative and organic bronze sculptures and small intaglio prints.

“I am exploring how we are taught compassion for others as a moral,” Novak said. “The extent to which that moral is actually taken is much less than the lessons and ethics encourage and ask of us. I utilized the creative process as a way to nurture a more compassionate sensibility within myself.”

James Wilson ’12 focused on design and planning in his work.  Wilson’s pieces on display at the Guild include a large twenty-sided geometric sculpture that is supported at eye-level with a collection of metal planes radiating out and a low table made of walnut with crossed wooden struts underneath.

“I have been able to step away from my pieces and really lay out the composition and develop craft,” Wilson said. “I spend so much time outside of the studio really planning and thinking so that when I get in there, I can really go!”

Justina Ny ’12 exhibited dozens of ceramic vessels and plates, which sit on densely-packed rows of shelving. The work by Mat Butger ’12 revolves around photography, including images of a destroyed hotel in Northern Minnesota and a grid of smaller photos of trees and shadows. The Carleton intern, Arielle Rebek, also focuses on photography. Her work includes a series of self-portraits made using a pinhole camera and topographic map-style drawings.

The show serves as a reminder to the apprentices of how far they have come in the past year.

“As an artist, the apprenticeship has given me – and everyone, I think – freedom to explore our diverse interests while still being informed by St. Olaf’s vibrant, creative community,” Nienstaedt said. “I’m lucky to have peers this talented, kind and fun-loving. They are great friends.”

“A Minnesotan Goodbye” will be on display in the Main Gallery at the Northfield Arts Guild until May 18. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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