The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery opens its winter exhibition season featuring the work of nine alumnae of the studio art program at St. Kate’s. Using a variety of styles, media and methods, this diverse group of women carries the vision of their artistic endeavors into their professional and everyday lives.
“The women featured in this show are remarkable not only for their talent as visual artists, but also for their exemplary commitment to make art beyond graduation – to pursue their creative visions and make them their vocations,” said curator Nicole Watson. “This commitment to intertwine their artistic and professional practices takes on several forms: teaching, retail, marketing, commercial design, a self-started gallery space and non-profit work.”
Vision + Vocation: St. Catherine Alumnae Invitational Exhibition
Anna Garski ’07, a painter, performance artist and co-instructor for the Women’s Art Institute, confronts the gendered body defined by art history and popular culture. Her compositions often include two self-portraits, exposing her own vulnerabilities as a woman defined by social constructs.
Sculptor Marie Schrobilgen ’09 also offers an unconventional self-portrait made of a suspended magnet and cast steel. Her industrial installations produce feelings of stress, fragility and strength. The artist is the co-founder of Igneous Metal Arts, a non-profit dedicated to art-based iron casting through community events throughout Minnesota.
Photographer Desirée Olson ’02 documents her father’s experience re-entering society after being incarcerated for 25 years. She explores the complexities of her reunified family, while also exposing her father’s struggle to obtain satisfying employment and a safe place to live. A recipient of two Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grants, Olson has held faculty positions at MCAD and the College of Visual Arts.
Lys Akerman-Frank ’01 runs a frame shop in St. Paul, and is known for her interest in the ubiquitous selfie. For her “St. Kate’s Selfie-Project,” she collected dozens of selfies from students at St. Catherine University, combining them in a 5-foot-tall three-dimensional collage. As an immigrant from Brazil, she freshly interprets themes of identity and community through the self-reflections of others.
Artists Annie Hejny ’12 and Kristina Fjellman ’07 look to the enormity, mystery and sanctity of the natural world to inspire their works. Hejny, a painter, collects water and sediment from the Mississippi River and incorporates them into her acrylic compositions. An emerging artist seeking community, she converted her garage into gallery three, a pop-up exhibition space for local painters. Fjellman, a theater performer, set-designer and fiber artist, credits the night sky for her interest in light and movement. Her installation of swirling wires and sheer fabrics express her fascination with star clusters and The Milky Way.
Illustrator Whittney Streeter ’08, whose drawings have been featured on album covers, websites and in books, continues to explore the many cultural manifestations of the hag. Streeter reframes the viewer’s impression of this elderly and seemingly wicked woman, who is found in folklore throughout the world. Streeter explains: “these enchanting, female characters remind me of the strongest part of myself, bold and strange and worth embracing.”
Ida Kumoji-Ankrah’s (’01) digital compositions explore new forms of interpretation and communication. Born in Ghana and currently a professor of graphic design at Eastern Kentucky University, Kumoji-Ankra integrates visual elements from her past and present. Her designs combine traditional Adinkra symbols from Ghana with Western alphabets to create a visual language that attempts cross-cultural understanding.
Printmaker Alex Poepping’s (’12) monochromatic compositions of bold, black lines and emblematic forms suggest themes of ritual, secrecy, isolation and suspicion. Poepping is a co-founder of W.A.V.E. Art Collective, an organization that serves underrepresented local artists by providing them with a free, six-month art program that culminates in a gallery show.
The artists will be present at the opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 4 at The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery at St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Ave. in St. Paul. The exhibition will run from Jan. 30- March 17, 2017. For more information, please visit www.stkate.edu/gallery.