2018

August 25 & 26: Michael Sweere (mosaic) - Austin ArtWorks Festival Featured Artist

June 22-August 18: "Powering Down" by Mark Lingl (photography) and Barb Orcutt (multi-media retrospective)

April 20-June 16: Tim Rietz & Cedar River Watershed District

March 2-April 14: Cedar Valley Services & Austin Youth Show

Art by students at four elementary schools: Banfield, Neveln, Southgate and Sumner and an exhibit by artists from the Cedar Valley Services senior group made up of individuals with creative abilities and developmental disabilities. 

January 12-February 24, 2018: Ian Hanson & Julie Fakler

2018’s first exhibit in the ArtWorks Center Second Floor Gallery is all about seeing everyday sights in new ways. 

Julie Fakler’s exhibit is farm animal portraits, work that was funded by a 2017 grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council. A Faribault residents, Fakler has been painting “as long as she can remember.” Julie works in acrylic on hard board and says “I simply enjoy the movement of the paint and then of course the end product.”

Fakler’s vibrant pet and domestic animal paintings have received grant funding from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council in 2011 and 2014. Some of her favorite subjects are cats.

Fakler works in the arts as director of operations at the Paradise Center for the Arts in Faribault. She holds a BFA in painting and drawing from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD).

Ian Hanson is exhibiting photography including photos from a trip to Tanzania in 2017. As an artist, he is a curious observer, rather than a creator, of images and is drawn to textures, discarded items and “people in their elements.”

A native of Grand Meadow, Minnesota Hanson began shooting pics for his high school yearbook. A semester abroad in Brisbane, Australia in college led Hanson to devote his career to photography.

Hanson’s work has been available on greeting cards in the ArtWorks Center retail area for a couple of years and his fans often note his unique humor.

Hanson says, “My hope is to take viewers on a journey, to bring them closer to places they have never been and make it real. Physical distance allows us to forget just how close we are to everyone and everything else on the planet...while we may live very differently, we are more alike than we realize."

2017

November 24-December 31: Lila Taft & AACA Members

Lila Taft

LILA IS A RETIRED NURSE WITH A NEW FOCUS - PHOTOGRAPHY.  SHE STARTED A SMALL BUSINESS IN 2003 AFTER FINDING HER PICTURES OF THE MONTICELLO TRUMPETER SWANS SO WELL RECEIVED BY HER FRIENDS AND PEERS.  THE BUSINESS HAS GROWN OVER THE PAST 14 YEARS.  SHE NOW OFFERS HER PHOTOGRAPHY ON CANVAS AS WELL AS FRAMED.  MANY OF THE PICTURES HAVE BEEN MADE INTO NOTE CARDS WHICH HAVE BECOME A TOP SELLER.  

THE WORLD OF MINNESOTA HAS LONG BEEN AT THE CENTER OF HER PHOTOGRAPHY EFFORTS:  FROM LADY SLIPPERS AND LOONS, EAGLES AND DEER, LIGHTHOUSES AND BUTTERFLIES, TO BARNS AND TRACTORS.  SHE LOVES TO TRAVEL AND SINCE RETIREMENT HAS COMBINED TRAVELLING WITH HER LOVE OF PHOTOGRAPHY.  EXCITING TRIPS HAVE INCLUDED TRAVEL TO CANADA TO PHOTOGRAPH WOLVES, ALASKA, SOUTHWEST USA INCLUDING THE BALLOON FIESTA IN ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, NORTHWEST USA, NORTHEAST USA INCLUDING A VARIETY OF LIGHTHOUSE PHOTOS, AND IRELAND.  IN ST PAUL AND IN IRELAND LILA CREATED PHOTO SHOWS FOR INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH NURSING CONFERENCES AND TOURED IRELAND FOR SOME INTERESTING PHOTOGRAPHS.  

SHE LOVES TO DO CUSTOM WORK WHICH CAN RUN FROM LOOKING FOR THAT ELUSIVE PHOTO FOR A CUSTOMER TO PORTRAITS OF CHILDREN, FAMILIES, HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES, HOMES OR PROPERTY, AND A VARIETY OF SCHOOL ACTIVITIES SUCH AS FIRST COMMUNIONS.

LILA SHOOTS WITH A CANON DIGITAL SLR CAMERA AND SEVERAL ZOOM LENSES.

Participating AACA Members:

Lora Lee Bauer / Geraldyne Berg / Terri Bergstrom / Luis Chamizo Penalver  / David Dammen / Lisa Dunlop / Joan Finnegan / Andrea Funke / Sharon Johnson / Dick Kos / Ron Kraft / Sonia Larson / Sarah Lysne / Pat Nolan / Layl McDill / Willy Olson / Barbara Orcutt / Gretchen Ramlo / Tim Rietz / Susan Ruzek / Tamara Schneider / Marilyn Sucha / Beth Tostenson / James Wegner

October 6-November 18: Renee Sonka & Lori Tapani

Renee Sonka

FORTUNE WITHIN

AFTER GRADUATING FROM OWATONNA HIGH SCHOOL IN 1991, I PURSUED A BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS DEGREE AT IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, MAJORING IN ART EDUCATION.  MY STUDIO EMPHASIS IN COLLEGE WAS CALLIGRAPHY.  I WAS ALSO A DANCER THROUGHOUT HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE, AND INTO ADULTHOOD.  CONSIDERING THE COMBINATION OF CALLIGRAPHY AND DANCE, IT IS PERHAPS NO SURPRISE THAT MY MEDIUM OF CHOICE BECAME SUMI-E.  (“SUMI-E” IS A JAPANESE WORD MEANING “INK PAINTING,” AND THE TERM ENCOMPASSES MANY TYPES OF EAST ASIAN PAINTING.)  SUMI-E PAINTING IS LIKE DANCING IN A WAY I HAVE NOT FOUND IN ANY OTHER MEDIUM.  THE BRUSHSTROKES ARE CHOREOGRAPHED, REHEARSED, AND “PERFORMED,” LEADING TO RESULTS BALANCING PREPARATION AND SKILL WITH SPONTANEITY AND FREEDOM.  

I HAVE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF LEARNING THIS MEDIUM SUMI-E UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF MANY GREAT ARTISTS AND TEACHERS INCLUDING DEE TELLER, YUMING ZHU, AND YUDONG SHEN.  MY WORK HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED BY BOTH EASTERN AND WESTERN JURORS, WITH HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDING ACCEPTANCE INTO THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR FINE ARTS EXHIBITION IN 2015, WINNING A FOURTH-PLACE RIBBON IN THE WATERCOLOR CATEGORY, AND ACCEPTANCE INTO THE SUMI-E SOCIETY OF AMERICA ANNUAL JURIED EXHIBITION IN 2008, 2012, 2014, AND 2016.

IN ADDITION TO LEARNING THE BRUSH TECHNIQUES USED IN SUMI-E PAINTING, I ALSO AM SLOWLY LEARNING ABOUT THE WRITTEN CHINESE LANGUAGE.  FOR INSTANCE, I HAVE LEARNED THAT MY NAME, RENEE, TRANSLATES AS REI (PROSPERITY/FORTUNE) NEI (INSIDE/WITHIN); THEREFORE, THE TITLE OF THE EXHIBITION IS FORTUNE WITHIN.

WHILE I CERTAINLY CONSIDER MYSELF AN ARTIST AND A PAINTER, I AM FOREMOST A TEACHER.  FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS, I HAVE TAUGHT A WIDE VARIETY OF MEDIUMS TO A BROAD RANGE OF STUDENTS AND GRADE LEVELS.  I BEGAN MY TEACHING CAREER IN COLFAX, IOWA IN 1995 AND HAVE BEEN PART OF THE VISUAL ARTS FACULTY AT MOUNDS PARK ACADEMY IN ST. PAUL SINCE 1998.  THROUGH ART, I TEACH STUDENTS TO BRAINSTORM, PROBLEM-SOLVE, THINK VISUALLY, EXPRESS THEIR INDIVIDUALITY, ACT ON THEIR IDEAS, CONTRIBUTE TO OUR COMMUNITY, AND MORE.

Lori Tapani

LORI TAPANI HAS BEEN COINED A “RENAISSANCE WOMAN” BECAUSE OF HER UNIQUE MIX OF INTERESTS AND TALENTS.  SHE IS CO-PRESIDENT OF WYOMING MACHINE, INC., A PRECISION METAL FABRICATION COMPANY IN STACY, MN.  SHE HAS A 20 YEAR- OLD DAUGHTER, EMILEE, AND TWO (VERY SPOILED) MINIATURE HOLLAND LOP BUNNIES NAMED ROSIE & LUNABLUE.  LORI’S PASSIONS INCLUDE:  PAINTING, FLOWER GARDENING, MOTORCYCLING, LEARNING NEW THINGS, AND PEOPLE!

“THERE’S SOMETHING VERY EXCITING AND MAGICAL ABOUT BEGINNING A PAINTING WITH COLORS I LOVE, MARKS I ENJOY MAKING, AND FEW RESTRICTIONS…. AND GRADUALLY DISCOVERING WHAT THE PAINTING WANTS TO BECOME.  I AM A LIFE-LONG LOVER OF CREATING ARTWORK IN MANY DIFFERENT MEDIUMS, AND IN 2013 WAS INTRODUCED TO AN INTUITIVE PROCESS FOR PAINTING.  MY ACRYLIC AND MIXED MEDIA PAINTINGS ARE SPARKLING WITH COLOR, TEXTURE, AND IMAGERY FROM NATURE.  I HOPE THAT PEOPLE WHO SEE MY WORK EXPERIENCE THE SAME JOY I FELT IN CREATING IT.”  

August 24-September 30: Shelley Brandon & Matthew Rucker

July 14-August 19: Craig Groe

Craig Groe

Craig Groe is a Mankato, MN-based artist.  Originally from Austin, MN, Craig graduated from Austin High School (Class of 1977) and has also attended Austin Community College (now Riverland College) and Mankato State University (now Minnesota State University-Mankato).  Some notable teachers he has studied with include Ken Riska, Ione Bell, James Wegner and Robert Finkler.

Some of Craig's other artistic pursuits include music, poetry, film and theatre.

Craig has been employed as a production assistant at KAAL-TV (1992-1993) in Austin and is currently employed at KEYC-TV in Mankato as a commercial writer/producer.

This is Craig's third show in Austin after having previously exhibited at the former Austin Art Center in Sterling Shopping Center and also at Riverland College.

May 19-July 8: Dan Tran & Dirk Nelson

Dan Tran - INTRODUCTION TO SERIES PLATO

IN THE SERIES PLATO, I EXPLORE VISUALLY THE STRUCTURE OF CONCEPTS – A PROCESS RUDOLPH ARNHEIM TERMS “VISUAL THINKING" AND NELSON GOODMAN EXPOUNDS ON IN THE LANGUAGE OF ART:AN APPROACH TO A THEORY OF SYMBOLS.

TO REVEAL THE WORLD OF CONCEPTS BY THE SPAREST OF MEANS, I NEED A SIMPLE VOCABULARY AND SYNTAX. THUS I LIMIT THE SET OF MY BUILDINGS BLOCKS TO BARS AND STICKS.

THE BARS, DUE TO THEIR SIMPLE BUT ROBUST SHAPES AND FORMS, MAY REPRESENT ANY PHENOMENON IN THE PERCEIVED WORLD. WITH COLOR AND TEXTURE, I MAY DIVULGE A BIT ABOUT THE INNER CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PHENOMENON ITSELF. FOR INSTANCE, IN THE HUMAN CONDITION, THE ROUGHENED, PATCHY, YELLOW-MOLDY BLACK SURFACE OF THE TOP BAR IS INTENDED TO SUGGEST THE PERCEIVED TIME-BATTERED STATE OF THE HUMAN SOUL.

BY LINKING PHENOMENA IN A CERTAIN WAY, WE FORM CONCEPTS OF THE WORLD IN ENDLESS ATTEMPTS TO MAKE SENSE OF IT. THUS THE BARS ARE NOT SHOWN IN ISOLATION. IT IS THROUGH THEIR SPATIAL POSITIONING, THROUGH THE STICK-BY-STICK LINKAGE, THAT I ESTABLISH THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THEM, A PROCESS THAT ALLOWS THE UNDERLYING CONCEPT TO EMERGE. THUS IN ESCAPE FROM KARMA, THE STRING OF STICKS LAID OUT IN A VORTEX AND LINKING TWO BARS AT THE BOTTOM HALF OF THE PICTURE ENCAPSULATES THE CONCEPT OF CIRCULAR CAUSE-AND-EFFECT, OF REINCARNATION. THE TOP VORTEX LINKS HOWEVER NO BARS, AND THUS DENOTES FREEDOM FROM KARMA.

BASICALLY, A PHENOMENON BY ITSELF CAN NEVER COMPLETELY RENDER A CONCEPT. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “MAD PHENOMENON” IN AND BY ITSELF.  IT IS WHEN OUR MIND SEES TWO OR MORE PHENOMENA AS BEING ENGAGED IN AN INCONGRUENT, CONFLICT-FRAUGHT RELATIONSHIP THAT THE CONCEPT OF “MADNESS” ARISES.

BY DEPLOYING STICKS IN AN INFINITE NUMBER OF TWISTS AND TURNS, BY LINKING AND DE-LINKING BARS OF VARIOUS TEXTURES, I SEEK TO COMPOSE PICTORIALLY THE RELATIONSHIPS INHERENT IN CONCEPTS.

UNLIKE THE ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISTS, THE ONLY EMOTION I WISH TO BRING FORTH IS THE COOL EUREKA FEELING THAT ACCOMPANIES THE DISCOVERY THAT SOMETHING COMPLEX CAN BE RENDERED SIMPLE - AS IN A MATHEMATICAL EQUATION.

Dirk Nelson

DIRK NELSON GREW UP IN AUSTIN, MN AND GRADUATED FROM WINONA STATE UNIVERSITY WITH A BA IN FINE ART. JOBS TOOK HIM TO TEXAS AND COLORADO AND FINALLY BACK TO MINNESOTA. HE HAS SETTLED IN WINONA FOR THE TIME BEING AND BECAME A VOLUNTEER AT THE WINONA ARTS CENTER. IN THE SUMMER OF 2014 HE HELPED TO ESTABLISH RIVERBED PRESS WHEN THE ARTS CENTER PURCHASED A 24” X 48” CONRAD ETCHING PRESS. THERE HE STARTED EXPLORING THE PROCESS OF MAKING MONOPRINTS.

MONOPRINTS CAN BE ONE OF THE MOST IMMEDIATE AND VERSATILE FORMS OF PRINTMAKING. THE MOST COMMON METHOD OF MAKING A MONOPRINT IS TO CREATE A DESIGN USING PRINTING INKS ON A THIN FLAT PLATE, THEN PLACE A PIECE OF PAPER ON THE PLATE AND RUN THE COMBINATION THROUGH A PRESS TO TRANSFER THE DESIGN TO THE PAPER. NELSON USES AN ACRYLIC SHEET FOR THE PLATE AND WATER-MIXABLE ETCHING INKS THAT HAVE THE CONSISTENCY OF ARTIST’S OIL PAINTS. HE APPLIES THE INK TO THE PLATE IN A NUMBER OF WAYS, USING BRAYERS, PALETTE KNIVES, PAINT BRUSHES, AND STENCILS.

THE METHOD NELSON HAS BEEN EXPLORING LATELY EMPLOYS THE USE OF STENCILS. THE STENCILS CAN BE USED MULTIPLE TIMES ON THE SAME PLATE. APPLYING A DIFFERENT COLOR EACH TIME THE STENCIL IS USED CAN PRODUCE A LAYERED EFFECT AND ADD DEPTH AND ATMOSPHERE TO THE IMAGE. THE STENCILS CAN ALSO BE REVERSED TO MAKE THE IMAGES SIMILAR YET CURIOUSLY DIFFERENT.

NELSON EXPERIMENTS WITH STENCIL MATERIALS THAT ARE DIFFICULT TO CONTROL BECAUSE THE RESULTING ACCIDENTS, WRINKLES, AND TEARS IN THE MATERIALS MAY CREATE UNEXPECTED EFFECTS AND OFTEN SUGGEST DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF THE IMAGE TO EXPLORE; FOR INSTANCE, A WRINKLE IN THE MATERIAL COULD TURN A FISH INTO A BIRD AND TAKE THE IMAGE INTO A WHOLE DIFFERENT REALM. HIS WORK IS PROCESS ORIENTED WHICH MEANS THAT THE VIEWER CAN OFTEN SEE TELL-TALE EVIDENCE OF THE TOOLS AND MATERIALS THAT HE WORKS WITH. AS EACH PERSON’S PERSONALITY IS FORMED BY THE RANDOM ACCIDENTS AND ENCOUNTER’S IN THEIR LIFE, NELSON USES THE RANDOM ACCIDENTS AND MISTAKES THAT ARISE FROM THE USE OF MATERIALS AND TOOLS TO ADD CHARACTER AND MEANING TO HIS IMAGES.

NELSON DISCUSSES THIS PROCESS SAYING, “MY WORK ENCOURAGES A DIALOG BETWEEN THE IMAGE AND THE VIEWER AND IF THE ACCIDENTS AND MISTAKES THAT I CULTIVATE IN MY PROCESS CAN SUGGEST DIFFERENT MEANINGS TO DIFFERENT VIEWERS, WELL I ENJOY IT WHEN THE CONVERSATION TAKES A SURPRISING TURN.”

NELSON’S WORK ALMOST ALWAYS DEALS WITH THE HUMAN FIGURE. THERE IS USUALLY MINIMAL DETAIL AND THE DEPICTIONS FOCUS ON THE FORM AND STRUCTURE OF THE BODY, OFTEN SIMPLIFIED AND STYLIZED. THE FIGURE FUNCTIONS MORE AS SYMBOL THAN PORTRAIT. NELSON HOPES THIS ALLOWS VIEWERS TO ENVISION CONDITIONS IN THEIR OWN LIVES THAT THEY CAN IDENTIFY WITH AND REACT TO.

April 7-May 12: Tom Hormel & Chad Augustin

February 24-April 1: Z Puppets Photography & Austin Area Youth Show

The Youth Art Show highlights art from youth across Austin Public Schools from grades 1-8. It includes a selection of art from all four elementary schools along with art from Holton Intermediate and Ellis Middle School. 

The Photography of Z Puppets is an exhibit of photographs showing Austin area students with puppets that they created. Students were photographed during a puppet lab workshop conducted by Z Puppets Rosenschnoz and the ArtWorks Center and at Holton Intermediate. Puppet lab workshops use the scientific method (research, hypothesis, experiment, data collection, etc.) to teach puppet making skills. Z Puppets also use glow-in-the-dark materials and shadow puppetry to expose students to art and science.

Music will be performed at the gallery opening by Ellis Middle School Orchestra musicians in small groups. The event is free and open to the public. 

January 13-February 18: Paul Walech-Roth

2016

August 25 - October 1 / 2016: James Wegner

James Wegner

James Wegner taught art at the Austin Community College for 28 years and for 10 years in the Jr. and Se. High Schools in Austin, MN.

Wegner has a Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in Painting and Art History. He has done additional graduate work at the University of Colorado, Mankato, and St. Cloud State Universities. He has studied with noted artists Max Weber, Millard Sheets, Dong Kingman, Carl Morris, Richard Diebenkorn, Ralston Crawford and Cheng Kee Chee.

Awards have been received for his work in oil, acrylic, watercolor, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture and fiber.

Wegner’s work is in a number of private collections on the East and West Coasts, in the Midwest, Canada and Europe. He has exhibited at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Art Institute, Tweed Gallery in Duluth, Mason City MacNider Museum and Rochester Art Center as well as in Austin Area Art Center, Albert Lea Art Center and Naeve Hospital.

Simple forms derived from nature become my primary concern. I like to work directly with my material, allowing the forms to emerge as natural and uncomplicated as possible. The thinks an artist makes become the best testament to what he feels and believes. 

July 15 - August 20 / 2016: Beth Lowe/Krista Pumroy/Cassandra Buck

Beth Lowe

Beth Lowe’s inspiration comes from the light, flowing, and living parts of nature. She is also inspired
by the dark mysterious mortality of nature. “With abstract art I am free to explore each art piece's
own life. They each grow from instincts like nature does.”

Krista Pumroy

Krista Pumroy is inspired by the underlying energy in ordinary everyday life.
“I love to incorporate texture into my paintings. As far as materials I enjoy using anything and
everything to make them come to life.”


Beth Lowe and Krista Pumroy work together on collaborative art pieces. They also have solo paintings and drawings.

Cassandra Buck

Cassandra Buck's work has always focused on two things: expression and the feminine. She constantly strives to discover how color and texture can evoke feelings and ideas that we are unable to articulate. Color and texture are exploited and taken to the extreme. Currently her work explores the use of discarded found objects to communicate societal narratives of the feminine. Each series within this focus seeks to challenge current constructs.

May 20 - July 9 / 2016: Cedar River Watershed District

Cedar River Watershed District

Cedar River Watershed District is teaming up with the Austin ArtWorks Center for a gallery show from May 20 to July 9, which will feature the Cedar River Watershed through paintings, photography and drawings. This event will be a fun way to raise awareness and appreciation for the Cedar River State Water Trail and local streams.

April 8 - May 25 / 2016: Katie Stromlund & Beth Hamilton

Katie Stromlund

I began college as an Art Major, but switched midway and graduated with a BS in Interior Design. I enjoy being able to marry my passion for interior design with the pieces I paint. The art I create is informal and illustrative, and I imagine each piece in its final installation while painting. Trying to be mindful of my ecologic footprint, I paint in acrylic on canvases created from re-purposed fabric stretched over reclaimed lumber frames.

January 8 - February 13 / 2016: Sandy Ray

Sandy Ray

Feisty Japanese Lady

In this special gallery, Pat & Gary Ray will be showcasing the work of Gary's aunt, Sandy Ray. Sandy married her husband Myron after the two met during World War II, and Sandy arrived in the United States as one of many "war brides," or foreign women who married servicemen during wartime. Sandy knew very little English when she arrived in the U.S. after the war, but took her new life in stride and went to work for Woodward Company in Rockford, Illinois, eventually becoming such an expert in the company that she trained new engineers who arrived from college. Myron worked as an Army recruiter.

Sandy loved to work in her Japanese garden and knew how to make the colors of her garden flow together, just like her paintings. Says Pat of Sandy, "She was a very witty, graceful, talented, and kind aunt, and would be very flattered and embarrassed about her work being displayed!"

2015


October 9 - November 25 / 2015: Carole Bender

Carole Bender

I was born and raised in Austin, Minnesota. My mother, Sally Groh, instilled the love of art in me at a young age. I spent hours watching her create beautiful paintings. I started painting with her when I became a young adult. After moving to Fremont, Nebraska in 1973, I took a variety of art workshops. I realized that I not only loved to paint but I also enjoyed exploring and trying new techniques. My recent paintings are on metallic leaf attached to a canvas. Another technique is reverse glass painting. I owe my artistic talent to my mother, who started the Austin Art Group with Mary Johnson and Therma Bowby.

August 20 - October 7 / 2015: Jean Formo & Mary Singer

Jean Formo

An artist and calligrapher for 38 years, Jean is recognized for alphabet design and innovative one-of-a-kind artist books. Her paintings and drawings include watercolor, acrylic, pastels and silverpoint. She has traveled throughout the USA and Canada, lecturing and teaching a variety of calligraphy and book arts workshops. She has been a 20-year faculty member at Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis, and has taught at 17 international calligraphy conferences. Her work has appeared in lettering arts books, calligraphy instruction manuals, calendars, greeting cards. She and her husband Phil, live in Savage, MN. Since 1999, Jean has also been involved with the healing art of Reiki as a practitioner and teacher.

Mary Singer

Mary Singer’s earliest memories are of drawing with pencil and paper. When her family received their first Post magazine, Singer found her first idol in Norman Rockwell, and continued to foster her love of art through high school and into motherhood. After taking classes in Minneapolis, she began to find her stride in portraits, eventually branching out into landscapes while working with everything from graphite to pen and ink. Her current focus is oils. “Water, Land and Sky” is the name of Singer’s show--it may change in size and medium but remains rooted in Midwestern landscapes.

July 24 - August 15 / 2015: Lisa Truax & Laura Helle

Lisa Truax

I am interested in the contrast between places such as parks and natural areas and modern ways of building and living. We have cultural ideas of beauty and the sense of the untouched associated with these places. Outdoor landscapes seem to be in their natural state, but are actually created, planned, built, and maintained as part of our culture. We think of nature as untouched and wild, and not something controlled or created by humans. 

I question the idea of culturally valuable versus personally valuable natural space. The contrast between the natural and man-made, and the seen and the unseen are determining factors. The effect of these elements on our lives and psyche are important considerations. 

Natural places can have positive effects on our well being, many of which we may not yet understand. The relationship we have both culturally and individually, the contrast between wildness and wilderness, and the effect this relationship has on daily living is the focus of my work.

Laura Helle

An Iowa farm girl by birth, Ms. Helle works in community development and grant writing in Austin, Minnesota. 

She is the Director of Vision Creation for Vision 2020, a community development movement making Austin a better place to live, work and play by the year 2020. She owns Laura Helle Consulting, LLC., which provides writing services including grant writing, web content and marketing for clients in southern Minnesota. Ms. Helle earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Iowa State University in Graphic Design with a minor in Journalism/Mass Communication. She continued her education with training in non-profit management through University of St. Thomas and the Grantsmanship Center.

She is the mother a 6-year-old daughter. Together, they enjoy bike rides, telling jokes and baking. In addition to family and professional activities, Ms. Helle spends time reading, creating artwork and practicing yoga.

June 19 - July 22 / 2015: Nick Sinclair & Mike Erickson

May 15 - June 13 / 2015: Joan Finnegan & Lora Lee Bauer

Joan Finnegan

Inspired by a deep appreciation and love of nature, Joni Finnegan’s oil paintings are drawn from the visual feasts that surround us.  Her wonderful command of color and light work well in painting “en plein air” with nature’s unpredictable conditions as well as in the protected environment of her home studio.    

Surrounded with huge piles of brushes and paintings in various stages of progression in her studio Joni is grateful for the gift of creativity. Her current collection of work focuses on studies from nature revealing the softer side of the outdoor world inviting the viewer to step into her art and surrender themselves to that moment.

The quiet peace of long hours alone spent creating her art are balanced with travel opportunities to incredible places and meeting fascinating new people through galleries, art exhibits and shows, and the rewarding delight in meeting collectors. She continues to expand her art through studies and workshops with painting masters as well as teaching workshops and giving private lessons.

Her award winning art has been published in magazines, newspapers and books. Her paintings are widely owned both privately and in the corporate setting.

Lora Lee Bauer

When I was 4, I was going to be a dancer. When I was 11, I decided to be a guitarist and drummer. When I was 18, I was going to be a fashion designer. Somewhere between then and now, life happened and I became none of those things.

At retirement, I decided to become the next Grandma Moses. I got a slow start, but am gaining momentum. With each finished painting I get a feeling of accomplishment and hope.

April 3 - May 9 / 2015: Diane Crane & ART for Autism

Diane Crane

I grew up on a farm near Austin, where I spent my early years avoiding housework and drawing or painting on any available surface. After graduation from Austin High School (where Ione Bell was my mentor and friend) and the University of Minnesota, I had a number of art-related jobs before settling into the art department at Viterbo College in La Crosse Wisconsin, where I taught painting and drawing. Since retiring from Viterbo, I have reverted to my childhood habits of avoiding housework and drawing or painting on any available surface.

After being immersed in abstract expressionism as an art student, I came to realize that the forms and colors of the real world were more interesting than any I could invent and I continue to use the ordinary things I see around me as the subjects of my paintings. I have learned that whether any given thing is ‘interesting’ or not depends more on the attention I bring to it than on its importance in any general sense.

February 27 - April 1 / 2015: Dan Goettsch & Jon Kittleson

Dan Goettsch

Dan is the owner and lead designer at Field & Forge Workshop. Based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, they specialize in graphic design, illustration, and branding for small business clients.

Find samples of his work on his website or by checking out his show in our 2nd floor gallery before April 1.

Jon Kittleson

I believe that my art represents the power to overcome any challenge, mental or physical. My story so far has brought a style inspired by the ocean of the East Coast that spills over to portray rural Midwestern subjects and portraits.

I grew attached to art after a wrestling accident in middle school left me partially paralyzed. My professor, Rhonda Deussen, said this about my artwork after my first college show in my hometown of Virginia Beach, VA: “Jon Kittleson’s style is reminiscent of Matisse and Chagall, his work is new and bold. I find his approach to his subjects to be at once original and fresh.”

Since then I moved to the Midwest to help my grandmother with the cattle farm my grandfather left behind. Soon after this, I developed Rapid Onset Dystonia Parkinsonism, which brought a huge challenge to my life and the purpose for which I moved out here.

One of my favorite subjects is pets because my two dogs, Rosco and Ellie, motivate me to stay active and keep a positive outlook. I enjoy using colored pencils as an art medium because they offer a wide range of colors and they are simple to control with regards to my manual dexterity challenges. I choose bright color combinations that work together to create movement and bring the subject to life.

Jon also works on commission: Grab your favorite photo of your pet and send it via email to info@jonkittleson.com 

January 10 - February 15 / 2015: Nick Adams & Rayna Gasteiger

Nick Adams

Embracing You: A Series on Women

Nick Adams is a three-time international award-winning photographer and owner of two Minneapolis-based businesses. Born and raised in Austin, Adams excelled in pen and ink as a high school student but didn’t discover his passion for photography until he began studying communications and journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. After working as a photojournalist for a small newspaper, he moved to Minneapolis in 2008. Adams worked as a camera salesman and photo lab technician before opening his first business in 2009--Supreme Images Photography, a boutique studio specializing in high-end, one-of-a-kind portraiture for high school seniors and weddings. Shortly after, he opened Embracing You Boudoir Photography, which has become Minnesota’s premier high-end boudoir photography studio. Specializing in intimate, beautiful, and tasteful photographs, Adams strives to create opportunities for women to look and feel their best. His style ranges from classic looks to modern photo-illustrations, compositing, and montages, and he works to create unique images that stand out no matter the subject.

In 2014, Adams was awarded “Twin Cities Professional Photographer’s Association Wedding Photographer of the Year.”

Rayna Gasteiger

I discovered my artistic ability at a young age, mostly spilling nail polish and melting crayons onto canvases yet to be discovered. I started selling my work at age 15, and graduated from Saint Ansgar High School in 2009. 

Then decided to pursue a degree in Art Education at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. In a short time I gained extensive knowledge into the fundamentals of art. After a year, I decided I wanted to try out Graphic Design and Studio Arts at Drake University, also located in Des Moines, Iowa. I had the privilege to learn from world-renowned artists and local professionals one-on-one. Currently I am taking time off from my studies to focus on my work and future endeavors. 

My artwork starts directly from the elements of design. Color has always intrigued me from the bright pink of bubble gum to the dark blue of the night sky. Recently I’ve been fascinated by texture and how it physically changes how we perceive space. It pushes and pulls together forms to create images based off of organic and geometric shapes . These forms cause illusions between the true depth of the layers Most of my pieces are based upon fragmented memories, past, present or dreams that come to surface over “time.”

2014

October 10 - November 22 / 2014: Wendy Heimsness & Willie Olson

Wendy Heimsness

Duende

"My work is my calling."

So begins the artist statement currently hanging in our professional gallery. It's a common sentiment among artists, but no less powerful for it.

Wendy Heimsness did not heed that call until shortly after landing in her 40s. Having received no formal training, Heimsness relied on her intuition and passion while venturing from commissioned murals into the world of abstracts. 

This artist has a special connection to our building—paint splatters, remnants of Heimsness's time in what was once her studio—still mark the floor of the 2nd floor lounge. Now in her third studio, she still finds her work exhilarating and freeing. The feeling is evident in the progressive and bold layering of color and texture in each of her pieces.

Heimsness paints with acrylic and other mediums on Russian Birch panels and canvas board, and has recently begun working on paper.

Willie Olson

Olson, like so many artists, makes his living outside of art. But take a  glance at his collection and you might not know it.

Perhaps the most remarkable quality of Olson's work is his range in both mediums and content; among the collection currently on display are several pen & ink / colored pencil / watercolor depictions of comic book-proportioned disasters backdropped by notable Austin landmarks, portraits of the mythic, western scenes, and striking studies of African wildlife.