February Parish Hall Artist
Tom McGregor’s earliest memories are of the time spent drawing on a large slate chalkboard in the back room of his mother’s business, completely absorbed in his work. That feeling of total immersion is something he strives for every time he paints.
Since graduating from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 1987 with a BFA in art, Tom has pursued a career as a self-employed graphic designer with an office in Saint Paul, Minnesota. When he discovered plein air painting in 2007, painting became his primary creative outlet again. It combines his passion for being outdoors with his love for painting.
Tom strives for honesty in his work, trying to be true to what he feels passionate about while immersed in nature. He tries to find, not just the beauty, but that which tells a story, has a history, affects him emotionally; but most of all, challenges him to think about where he is as a human being living in this particular time and place.
www.mcgregorart.com • firstname.lastname@example.org
January Parish Hall Artist
In this series of work I start with digital photography and then draw, paint, and collage on printed photographs in order to reflect on, or reveal images that are deep-rooted in my mind and memory. The content of the work reflects my personal history, both as a human and as an artist.
I work in layers using color and mark making as primary tools. A foundation or background layer is created using camera movement to capture images of objects in motion. Layered on top of this foundation are other images, often related to my personal history. The work is symbolic and metaphorical. For example, the image of a "house," or more simply a triangle on top of a square, is a frequently used element in my work. This house symbol refers to a place of shelter, protection, and ritual.
My work probably relates most clearly to the Unitarian Universalist principle: “A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.”
December Parish Hall Artist
One Nation Indivisible
The December exhibit in the Parish Hall is by Unity Church member Richard Birger. This is a different direction for Richard, who in the past has exhibited images from the American West.
These images are from a variety of recent political and social actions and events here in Minnesota. They illustrate how our society is becoming less and less cohesive and more and more tribal. Our politics reflect our view of the Social Compact. We are pulling apart.
In 2008 and 2012 Minnesota helped elect the country’s first Black President. In 2016, if you subtract all the votes cast in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, Donald Trump would have easily carried Minnesota, with 58 percent of the vote.
It is easy to love your friend, but sometimes the hardest lesson to learn is to love your enemy. — Sun Tzu, The Art of War
November Parish Hall Artist
When Home Won’t Let You Stay
In a penetrating exploration of America’s evolving attitudes toward refugees, documentary artist James A. Bowey has been traveling the United States meeting refugees, listening to their stories, and photographing their portraits. The photographs are taken on location in a setting of the portrait subject’s everyday life. Along with the portrait, Bowey interviews each person and their first-person story accompanies their photograph. The individuals in this exhibition share poignant stories of violence and loss, as well as perseverance and hope; and their images and experiences produce a compelling human portrait of refugees in America.
James A. Bowey is a documentary photographer who explores issues of human rights and social connection. He has spent his career covering a wide range of global and national stories from the war in Bosnia to Hurricane Katrina. His work has been featured by The New York Times, Time Magazine, the Associated Press, as well as in numerous exhibitions. Bowey is also an educator and was on the faculty at Winona State University from 2008 to 2015 where he won the national WOW award for innovation in higher education.
The Nigerian novelist and poet Chinua Achebe said, “Seeing the world from the position of the weak person is a great education. We lack imagination. If we had enough imagination to put ourselves in the shoes of the person we oppress, things would begin to happen.” As a photographic artist and educator I’m interested in the state of the empathetic imagination in contemporary life. The unique human capacity to imagine the experiences and emotions of persons separate from ourselves defines us as people and a culture. It establishes the frame by which we determine our social responsibility as individualistic or humanitarian. In many ways, all the information and wisdom we need to thrive as a global community is contained in our collective experience; we just need to unlock it and engage it for understanding. I use photography as catalyst for unlocking our empathetic imagination, and engaging our shared knowledge and experience. I use journalistic method to search the world for the stories of people, and present them through artistic practice that combines digital and analogue processes, physical installation, narrative text, and live community dialogue to develop engagement and understanding on contentious social issues. My work explores how photography can prompt civic engagement and dialogue through integrated digital and physical modalities. One of the most difficult things a person ever does is to truly see another. I strive to find that miraculous encounter when art, people, experiences and ideas collide; and we discover the universal feelings and knowledge that connects us all.
October Parish Hall Artists
Perspectives: Four Contemporary Fiber Artists
Debbie Boyles, Carol Mashuga, Suzanne O’Brien, Mimie Pollard
This collection of two-dimensional contemporary fiber art reflects the interests and perspectives of its four creators. Vibrant color, texture and emotion play a role in how each expresses what they see in the world around them. They transform their materials through dyeing, screen printing, painting, burning, piecing, and stitching — to create imaginative and stunning art. These artists are members of theTwin Cities area fiber collective, Truly Unruly — a small work group of Minnesota Contemporary Quilters. They continually experiment, support, and encourage each other in their artistic endeavors.
September Parish Hall Artist: Susan Solomon
My paintings are impressions of the environment and beauty around me. I love to paint Saint Paul landscapes, including the Highland Park Golf course and the Como swimming pool. My paintings are created using gouache (opaque watercolor) and India ink. Gouache produces brilliant colors and used in combination with deep black ink, can mimic stained glass. My art heroes are Georges Rouault, a painter who worked as a stained glass apprentice early in his career and whose work is filled with love for humanity; and Edouard Manet, with his clean colors and revolutionary use of black.
I grew up in Las Vegas, where neon sunsets and neon lights helped form my color sense. I later moved to Philadelphia and was formally educated at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. And now, when I paint landscapes I present small sections of the natural world that are too beautiful to turn away from. My hope is that viewers will see my work and find it evocative in some way. I believe that people know intuitively the landscapes they love and where they belong. I never fail to be impressed by how smart people are when "reading" art and how vitally human the process is. Art is a form of communication, and if people say they want to enter my paintings, I feel I have succeeded.
August Parish Hall Artists
Asked “What does that poem mean?”, Robert Frost reportedly (and probably repeatedly) answered, “Read it. It means what it says.” Likewise, my paintings.
I paint human artifacts within the framework of land, water, sky. Like many before me, I’m moved most strongly by the practical, the utilitarian, as opposed to the ornamental or pretentious. I’m moved by memories of what once was and will not be again. I love trains and boats, farms and mills, bridges and depots and grain elevators. I love to build everything from railroad models to houses, so it’s not surprising that I enjoy painting the built world. I'm drawn to the places I’ve lived, rivers and hills and mountains. I like to paint the current season. I love clouds, smoke, and haze. I like to paint from my own photos, but often must rely on published photos of scenes which are no more.
I believe the things we humans build and use acquire dignity and poignancy as they age, weather, disintegrate, and disappear. Their very longevity adds qualities perhaps undreamed of by their designer or builder. The people, places, and things we care about sometimes seem so ordinary and so permanent that we forget to appreciate them until the shock of illness, catastrophe, demolition or termination awakens us to their special beauty.
I work in acrylics more from habit than anything else. They dry fast and I can fix perspective mistakes easily. Human and animal subjects have been few and far between in my work, because I’m not very confident at rendering them. Maybe this year… I always say I wish I painted more regularly, but various competing interests and activities must share each day. The only implied message in my work is to learn to see what you love, and possibly also to love all you see.
Nature has become one of my favorite subjects. The intricacy and architecture of our countryside just blows me away.
I always shoot in color, but there are times when my photographs lend themselves to black-and-white, so in this body of work I have chosen to focus on that. I love the mystery of my photos in black-and-white; the details are not interrupted with color, which draws me in and spikes my curiosity. My hope is to arouse that mystery and curiosity in you also.
June Parish Hall Artist: Linda Snouffer
My work begins with the foundation of sky.
The sky brings it all to life.
Ink washes representing sky, horizon, and foreground are poured on a variety of surfaces, such as tissue paper, Japanese Sumi paper, muslin, and organza. On the dried surface, I design intricate botanical print landscapes using common plants.
Multiple layers of pigment-infused fabric, tissue, and organza create an ethereal dimension.
Leaf prints are far more than simple impressions.
They are dynamic components transformed into new identities:
Grass blades and tassels become a prairie flowing in a soft breeze.
Banana leaves transition to a distant hillside.
Flower stalks turn into solid aspen trunks.
Grasslands in Central Minnesota inspired my prairie landscapes;
strolls through nature preserves moved me to fashion woodlands;
my awe of natural waterways led to seascapes and shorelines.
Come. Take a walk with me.
April Parish Hall Artists: In a New Light
Northwest Passage: In a New Light
Finding her place in the world; one young woman's journey of hope and healing
From Northwest Passage
Kids come to Northwest Passage, a residential mental health treatment program in northwestern Wisconsin, for a multitude of different reasons, but the one thing they have in common is that they are struggling with their mental health. Can you imagine? It is hard enough to be a teenager, then layer on the realities of living with crippling depression or schizophrenia. The inability to get out of bed, to function in school, to see any hope in life, these are our kids. They may feel broken when they get to us, but they’re not. We believe in these kids. We know that with support, they can heal.
Our kids are treated with an approach to wellness that borrows from the wisdom of the past and combines it with current research about the importance of living a full and mindful lifestyle. We have learned that kids heal through a variety of channels. We know that sustainable change occurs when our kids are able to depend on their doctor and therapist but also when they are able to connect with their community, explore their identity, develop their passions, appreciate time in nature, attend to their relationships, discover effective recreation opportunities, learn healthy nutritional habits, and move their bodies.
The nature photography displayed in the Parish Hall during April was born of this approach. We leverage the power of nature with our In a New Light photography programming. We believe that water is medicine and adventure is transformative. Donors and partners alike have helped ensure that the young artists of Northwest Passage have spent the past three summers submerged in Wisconsin’s rivers and lakes to photograph a story of otherwise unseen magic and beauty. One such artist, Rachel, will be speaking at Wellspring Wednesday, April 26. We urge you to make time to meet this outstanding individual, alongside leadership at Northwest Passage, and hear her story. She is why we’re all here, after all.
March Parish Hall Artists
Katherine Simon Frank
“Wild” things have figured large in my life and comprise my earliest memories. These creatures include our family pets; wild birds, chipmunks and raccoons in our garden; deer encountered on our wilderness hikes; and fish and crabs and more birds surrounding us on visits to lakes and ocean beaches. Year-round as I come and go, singing birds perched on branches by my door chirp blessings goodbye and welcome me home. All wildlife inspires me to create the hopping, singing, soaring fiber birds that populate my quilted works.
Birds, plants, and other living beings appear on most of the fabrics I choose. Many of the quilt blocks I choose represent abstract animals and plants. Fabrics are my “paints.” I cut them into shapes that I sew back together into blocks. Other fabric provides shapes and images that I cut out and applique or collage onto a background. Piece by piece these blocks and applied elements create my rich fiber environments.
My mother and both my grandmothers taught me to sew, embroider, knit, and weave. Over time, I’ve settled almost exclusively on making quilts and quilted wall-hangings. There’s something about the richness of color and wide variety of textures that keep luring me to work in fiber. For a few years in my early twenties my exploration into three-dimensional clay structures and a life-long fascination with folded 3D origami objects lead me to add elements on some quilt surfaces creating dimension, shadows, and surface textures.
Currently I am challenging myself to create flat surfaces that appear to have depth, inviting the viewer to walk into these nature-filled environments. Please enter and imagine yourself in a wild, peaceful place.
Playing with color and texture is my passion. I love to get lost in the surface of fabric, using hue, texture, and form to explore the world. I think the sense of touch is a lost sense in Western society and through dyes, paints, fabric, and thread, I work to create a tactile surface that invites the viewer to look more closely.
Because glorious color is important to me, I first dye, paint, and/or print using white cotton fabric, but stitching provides texture, a crucial element. Sometimes I paint a background to set the stage for my machine stitching. Sometimes I use one of my hand-dyed pieces as a background. In my printmaking, I may use my painted or dyed fabric as the ground, color the ground as part of the printing process, or paint it after I have printed an image. I use regular and thickened dyes, acrylic and textile paints, oil paints, and pigment inks, and then I add the free machine stitching.
I use my skills with color and texture to make art about the natural world. When I moved to St. Paul in 1974, I immediately sought out outdoor adventures. In my art I want to show the essence of the emotions that I experience when I participate in nature: a love of its beauty, a feeling of connection with the plants and animals around me, and a concern for the future because of our destructive habits. Therefore, I usually focus on a natural form. I have been creating some evolving series — trees and leaves, water, flowers, and curvilinear abstracts such as curves, circles, and serpentine lines. All my work is actually abstract because I want to focus on color and texture, not realistic details.
Peggy and Kathie have both had wide recognition for their work and are among ten fiber artists featured in Essays from the American Midwest: The Quiltmaker's Story, edited by Jennifer Wilder.
You are invited to meet the artists on Sunday, March 5, in the Parish Hall, after the 9:00 a.m. service. An artists reception will be held on Friday, March 10, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. All are welcome.
February Parish Hall Artist • Linda Ricklefs Baudry
I make my mark, using color as emotion, creating a space that invites contemplation. Exploring the richness of color and playing with the vibrancy of life, I search beyond what the eye sees to find the inner celebration. The lens focus tightens and blurs along the way, images overlapping -- the old patterns shift to the unforeseen.
From bold backlit profiles and deep shadows to ethereal shifting assumptions, I am intrigued with nature’s dual aspects of fragility and strength. I grew up in the dense woods, the rolling farmland and the countless lakes and rivers of Minnesota. Flora dancing in the breeze. Summer thunderstorms ominous in their portent and delivery. Morning mists and formidable waves, in the varied moods of water. The comfort of gazing over a field of grain turned golden by the sun. These experiences have all touched me and inspired my art.
I received my B.A. in Studio Arts and Mathematics, studying at Saint Olaf College, Dartmouth College and Pratt-Phoenix School of Design. Exhibitions include multiple juried shows throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, and my paintings reside in collections both nationwide and abroad. I maintain a studio/gallery at the Northrup King Building in the renowned Northeast Minneapolis Arts District.
For additional information, please go to www.StudioLRB.com.
January Parish Hall Artist • Barbara Bend
My intent is to create work that reflects our human ability to connect through whimsy, archetypes, legends, love, nature, and raw expression while utilizing my love for fabric. I construct forms that enhance the voice of the fabrics and use a random assortment of materials that connect and repeat to give my work rhythm and movement. Quality fabrics are selected on their historic, cultural, and structural voice which add to the richness of the piece. My work responds to both the integrity of the materials and the influences of my rural surroundings.
November Parish Hall Artist • Kate Woodman Middlecamp
I come from a long line of makers. My childhood spent surrounded by art, an endless selection of tools, and the energy of creation. For me, the creative process has always been a means to experience and express — to truthfully, intentionally connect with life around (and in) me.
Art gives me voice to say what I cannot find words to express.
To that end, my latest series is a visual journey through the memory and trauma of sexual assault and the search for healing; taking form in darkly whimsical, resin-cast mixed media panels. The characters populating this imagined world — my liaisons through the darkness — are cut and modified illustrations from Lee Ames, a childhood favorite. I am particularly fond of using resin, as it allows me to create seemingly fluid, suspended layers of image, collage, and line. The resulting work often appears as though viewed through water, and changes as the viewer's physical relation to the image changes.
Working on this series — especially while navigating our current cultural and political climate — has been therapeutic and profoundly healing. The images are dark and brooding, while still whimsical and filled with luminous hope. They are the place where I was, and indeed the place where, in many moments, I still am. But they are also guiding me to the place I will be, and for that I am grateful.
Thank you for joining me on the journey.
Where the Heart Goes by Kate Woodman Middlecamp
September Parish Hall Artist • Nancy Birger
Nancy began quilting in the early 1970s when as a substitute teacher in the Edina, MN, school system she took a class of high school seniors to the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Among the exhibits was one featuring Amish quilts. The geometric shapes applied directly to her teaching of math and science.
Nancy says she “was hooked.” Along with looking at examples and research into quilting history and fabric artistry came a virtual leap into making her own card board templates, soon replaced with margarine cover templates, and then free form cutting.
The work Nancy did in the beginning was of the traditional type including Amish, Colonial American, Hawaiian, and Native American designs and color palates.
One thing always leads to another and as her interest and experience expanded, fiber dying soon augmented commercial fabrics. This allowed a greatly expanded sense of what could be accomplished with cotton and thread.
Color changes with location and climate. Sage green versus forest green, fuchsia sunsets versus cardinal red, desert sand and prairie grasses. Nancy says she has been strongly influenced by her color studies to create in various styles using paint, dye, bleach, silk screening, and even traditional fabrics to make wall hangings.
Nancy’s current work often has a bit of traditional quilting hidden in the design and execution. “My color choices have been influenced by living in nine houses and five states over 50 years of residing in various parts of the country.”
Making fiber art is a social way of life for Nancy. “Every time we move, I join a new guild, make friends, and invite them over to play.”
August Parish Hall Artist • Jennifer Kunin
I am a seeker of that which is beyond the obvious; the deeper psyche, the mystical reality of who I am in each seemingly ordinary moment.
My art process has me always surrounded by several works-in-progress at a time, like the several children that I have always had around me. They are each created with a vision of beauty, compassion and depth, and each develops in its own unique way. A lot of my time is spent staring at my images, and working on this one and that one, through stages of birth, struggle, and finishing each with joyous resolution.
I paint because it heals me. I can feel my own essence and express myself. I love the feeling language in the colors, shapes and textures of abstract art. Yet I want more. I believe I can connect with my audience and myself more deeply using the language of the human face and figure. Body language is something we all innately understand and the gesture says so much. I am fascinated by the geometry of mandalas and how interesting the figure can be as a design element repeated in the circular format. I paint, sculpt, print, and design the figure into themes of nature spirits, goddesses, angels, and lovers. They are all self-portraits of facets of my own inner spirit.
June Parish Hall Artist • Rebecca McPeek
I like to make things. I like to explore various media such as clay, glass, paints, textiles and yarn. Most recently, I was curious of how someone teaches one to paint with an abstract or non-representational approach. The common element in all my study is a desire to explore composition and design. Once the media is sampled, what am I going to do with it? What is the conversation that I have with the media and the format? The same question can be asked of the literary arts, music, garden design, and the experience of being human. How am I going to compose and design my life today, tomorrow, next week? These paintings reflect how I saw the colors and placement on the canvas as a meaningful expression of my idea of composition and design for those square inches for that moment in time.
May Parish Hall Artist • Paul Rogne
Paul Rogne has been doing photography from the time of his childhood in the 1950s. He began learning from his father who was an amateur photographer with a darkroom in the basement. His first camera was a very simple Kodak Brownie Hawkeye. Later he began using his father’s 35mm Kodak Bantam, a very nice quality camera. His father also taught Paul how to use the darkroom to develop film and print enlargements. Paul learned how those smelly chemicals could produce black and white magic. He was hooked. In the early 1970s he became more serious about his photographic hobby. At that time, he generally took color slide photos or used black and white film. He was still developing his own black and white photos in a darkroom.
Fast forward to the present — after retiring in 2004 from 35 years of teaching social studies in the Anoka-Hennepin School District — Paul is using a digital camera and his computer to produce both color and black and white photos. This involves no smelly chemicals and produces results much faster. However, he can still do the same old techniques and more new enhancements with his photos. He is a great fan of the Photoshop software. Besides color photography, Paul still works frequently in black and white — the form he first loved.
Paul does not have a single special area of interest in his photography. His photos include nature (flowers, animals and landscapes), urban and rural architecture, travel, and people at work and leisure.
He finds that photography is an expressive, even meditative, art form. He feels it contributes beauty, joy, drama and sometimes mystery to his life. If a photo can tell a story, it is even better. Paul has been an active member of the Saint Paul Camera Club (www.saintpaulcameraclub.com) and frequently posts his photos on Twitter (@parogs) and Facebook. Paul enjoys sharing his photos and hopes they bring to others that same enjoyment, joy, mystery and drama.
Sew Many Colors: Evergreen Quilters' Bi-Annual
Art Team Seeks New Members
The Unity Church Art Team enjoys working to bring the fine art of a variety of local artists to the Parish Hall each month. The team is also responsible for curating the art on display throughout the church building. If you would like to join in that effort, please email Paul Rogne, Art Team Chairperson, at email@example.com.
Seeking Parish Hall Artists
Art provides another medium through which human beings experience gifts of the spirit. Response to a work of art may be on intense, profound levels. As with poetry or literature, theatre, dance or music, the visual arts provide meditative and emotional opportunities and appreciation of life's process, our cultures and society.
Unity Church has gallery space for the showing of works of visual art. It is anticipated that these exhibitions provide spiritual enrichment and liveliness for those attending the church and its functions.
At the same time the gallery provides an opportunity for artists to show, share and sell their work.
Are you an artist?
Submit your work for consideration!
The Unity Church Art Team accepts applications each year during the months of March and April. The Art Team considers these applications in May and selects artists for monthly shows that will start in the following fall months.
If you would like to submit work for consideration, please read the Exhibit Guidelines, Policies and Procedures Document.
If you have questions, please contact the Unity Art Team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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