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The Work of Minnesota Funk

Minnesota Funk at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery functions like a show within a show.  The perimeter of the gallery is filled with a mix of work by Minnesota artists that range widely in form and material—painting on canvas, ceramics, lithographs, cartoony maps, mixed media on paper, video, steel and found material/altered sculpture. These pieces […]

Minnesota Funk is on view in the Nash Gallery through January 12.

Minnesota Funk is on view in the Nash Gallery through January 12.

Minnesota Funk at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery functions like a show within a show.  The perimeter of the gallery is filled with a mix of work by Minnesota artists that range widely in form and material—painting on canvas, ceramics, lithographs, cartoony maps, mixed media on paper, video, steel and found material/altered sculpture. These pieces also vary in their interpretations of “funk.” Some employ bright colors and playful imagery, while others display their attitude in the form of humor or absurdity.

Jim Dryden. Courtesy of the Nash Gallery.

Jim Dryden. Courtesy of the Nash Gallery.

In the center of all this is a mini-exhibition by Chris Larson with yet another, distinctly different sensibility. Larson’s room contains three works: sturdy wooden beams whose center sections have been burned and polished to reveal sculptural knots and curves lean against the walls; a large wooden panel covered with a grid of black and white photographs which display a pinhole camera image of an artist’s workspace; and a wall-sized video projection.

Jenny Schmid. Courtesy of the Nash Gallery.

Jenny Schmid. Courtesy of the Nash Gallery.

The latter is the centerpiece of the whole show, though not necessarily because it is the funkiest piece in the lot. What begins as a seemingly simple recording of the artist working in his studio becomes a fascinating set of events that, all together, upturn the viewer’s perception of the very reality created by the frame of the camera and the walls of the studio. The raw sound of Larson’s video pervades the entire exhibition — in effect, a soundtrack featuring the rather un-funky noise of the human work that accompanies the making of all things.

Still from Chris Larson's video, on view in Minnesota Funk at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery through January 13.

Still from Chris Larson’s video, on view in Minnesota Funk at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery through January 13.

Related exhibition details:

Minnesota Funk is on view at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery in the Regis Center for Art, University of Minnesota through January 12, 2013.

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Sarah Peters is a Twin Cities-based artist, writer and arts programmer who is interested in public engagement with the arts and critical issues of our time.

Viewfinder posts are your opportunity to “show & tell” about the everyday arts happenings, interesting sights and sounds made or as seen by Minnesota artists, because art is where you find it. Submit your own informal, first-person responses to the art around you to editor(at)mnartists.org, and we may well publish your piece here on the blog. (Guidelines: 300 words or less, not about your own event/work, and please include an image, media, video, or audio file, and one sentence about yourself.)