Light Grey Art Lab will be featuring two new exhibitions in May; The New North: Contemporary Art from the Upper Midwest curated by Mary Jo Hoffman, and Janelle Gramling: Collected Works, as part of a local artisan showcase. The opening reception for both is Friday, May 5th from 7 to 10 PM.
The New North: Contemporary Art from the Upper Midwest
There’s an austere but inviting sense of minimalism that thrives in Minnesota. Maybe it’s the Scandinavian influence or the landscape of white blankets on chilly winter nights, but an understated and graceful aesthetic tends to show up in the art, crafts, and products produced by local creatives. The New North: Contemporary Art from the Upper Midwest is an exhibit of art and craft created by creators from the region. The New North is curated by Mary Jo Hoffman and features a dozen artists across multiple disciplines including screenprinting, photography, ceramic, woodworking, and painting.
Mary Jo Hoffman has been a lifelong creative dabbler. Growing up as a tomboy in Shoreview, MN, Hoffman developed a deep love for nature, creating, and learning. After earning a graduate degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University, Hoffman moved on to an accomplished career in aerospace science. But her love for creating thrived, and she increasingly threw herself into art and design, eventually finding her new calling. Hoffman is the creator of STILL, a minimalist photo journal where she creates photographs that compose natural elements and findings from nature. Launched in 2012, the beautiful work featured on STILL caught national attention, and the work found within has been the center of several international home decor collections released by retailers such as Target and West Elm. Mary Jo Hoffman is a meticulous curator and has a knack for finding the beautiful, understated, and modern in nature.
The creatives featured in The New North: Contemporary Art from the Upper Midwest share the modern sense of craft and aesthetics that Hoffman brings to her work. Michelle and Erik Vevang, the duo behind VevangMPLS, bring the use of traditional Scandinavian carving methods to wooden tableware pieces and decor assemblages, while Kristin McCullough creates a chilly but peaceful aesthetic through her textural, abstract encaustic paintings. The New North offers a glimpse into this growing slice of this local contemporary art and craft scene.
Janelle Gramling: Collected Works
Inspired by raw natural materials and traditional techniques, Janelle Gramling’s work touches on themes of personal symbolism and sacred geometry with a modern, minimal, and playful aesthetic. Combining fiber, found object, and ceramics Gramling applies a handmade approach to give her sculptures, home decor, and wearable adornments an air of down-to-earth spirituality.
Janelle Gramling: Collected Works features a collection of new sculptural wall-hangings, functional ceramics, and wearable decoration. Taking inspiration from patterns and nature and studying Sacred Geometry, Gramling creates forms that are mathematical and perfect in concept, but become flawed, natural, and human when brought to life in real materials. Shapes are slightly imperfect. Surfaces bear blemishes and fingerprints. To drive this home, Gramling chooses materials that feel familiar and close to their natural origin; stoneware clay, found driftwood, and natural fibers colored with plant-based dyes. Themes of ecology, balance, and interconnectedness speak through the ways in which strands of fiber weave their way through geometric forms in clay and wrap around branches of found driftwood.
The opening reception for The New North: Contemporary Art from the Upper Midwest and Janelle Gramling: Collected Works is Friday, May 5th from 7-10 PM. Both will remain on display through June 20th. The opening reception is free and open to the public.
The New North: Contemporary Art from the Upper Midwest participating artists: Michele Vevang, Erik Vevang, Kristin McCullough, Marty Harris, Araya, Steve Thomas, Mary Jo Hoffman, Allegra Lockstadt, Neal Perbix, Talin Spring, Thea Spring, Scott Brown, Martha McQuade, Dan Clark, and Jim Nelson