Friday, March 3rd - 7 PM - 10 PM - RSVP HERE!
In March of 2012, Light Grey Art Lab opened its doors in Minneapolis’s Whittier neighborhood. The mission was to create a place to nurture creative collaboration and learning. Since then, Light Grey Art Lab has succeeded in its mission, facilitating lasting relationships between creatives around the world, creating a platform to teach and share professional experience, and exhibiting exceptional artwork, regardless of the artists’ fields or mediums.
Over the course of five years, Light Grey Art Lab has hosted dozens of exhibitions, and featured the work of over one thousand artists. The gallery has published a range of creative products including books, tarot decks, and video games, created seasonal workshops led by industry leaders in visual design from places like Disney, Cartoon Network, and HBO, and established an annual international residency program in Iceland. Throughout, the people teaching, learning, exploring, creating, and discovering have connected with each other through Light Grey Art Lab.
“We’ve crossed paths with so many bright and talented people in the past five years,” says Light Grey Art Lab founder Lindsay Nohl, “and they’ve found each other as well. Despite being separated by thousands of miles in many instances, there’s a sense of camaraderie that we love to see. Friendships have been formed, careers have been nurtured, and experiences have been shared. There’s a sense that we’re all in this together.”
Light Grey Art Lab is celebrating its five year anniversary by doubling-down on its specialties: the team is increasing the scope and frequency of their exhibitions, expanding the collaborative and educational opportunities on offer, and growing their physical space in a big way.
Light Grey Art Lab remains on the corner of 26th Street and Stevens Avenue, which it has occupied since 2012. But the modest-sized gallery is taking over the entire first floor of the charming 100-year-old building, tripling its footprint. In addition to the Main and Adjunct gallery spaces which comprise Light Grey Art Lab’s original 1,000 square foot space, the gallery is opening an additional 2,000 square feet, which is divided into the Salon, Satellite Gallery, Page Gallery, a dedicated workshop space, and a newly expanded shop.
To kick off this massive expansion, Light Grey Art Lab is launching five new exhibitions, one in each exhibition space. The opening reception for all 5 shows, as well as the grand unveiling of the new space is Friday, March 3rd, 2017.
tobeyou - Main Gallery and Adjunct Gallery
Over the past five years, thousands of artists from around the world have gathered to collaborate, learn, travel, create, and grow together as a part of Light Grey Art Lab’s community. Every public call-for-art includes as many voices as possible, with each artist contributing one piece to build upon a greater theme. For their newest exhibition, tobeyou, Light Grey Art Lab is celebrating that vibrant chorus of voices with an exhibition that shines a spotlight back onto the community.
tobeyou invites over 100 artists from past shows to explore the themes and narratives they hold most dear. Light Grey Art Lab is asking each artist, ‘Who are you?’ Artists are encouraged share personal or revealing stories. To explore the themes that cannot be shaken from their practice. To start a conversation with their peers about what is important to them.
Unsurprisingly, the work produced for tobeyou runs the gamut from lighthearted and aspirational, to intensely personal and critically self-reflective. Each participating artist’s personality is amplified by their contribution. Rachel Quast’s hand-painted set of Russian nesting dolls depicts the various elements that define her. Lauren Gonsalves draws upon remembered smells of phosphorous, potassium chlorate, and kerosene to illustrate a pivotal moment from her past. Dailen Ogden uses wolves, metaphor, and gold leaf to paint a dark narrative about the creative process.
Light Grey Art Lab’s exhibitions usually feature artists from around the world, but tobeyou will be giving special attention to the Twin Cities creators that sparked Light Grey Art Lab’s founders to create the gallery in the first place. Including educators, creative business owners, past participants, friends, and collaborators, these people make Light Grey Art Lab the place it is today, and will continue to inspire the future of the space. This special extension of tobeyou work will be featured in the Adjunct Gallery.
tobeyou will be featured in Light Grey Art Lab’s original Main and Adjunct Galleries, and continues the tradition of large-scale group exhibitions which the gallery has been producing since 2012.
The Dark Forest: An Exhibition About Nature's Secrets - Salon
The Dark Forest features new work exploring hidden mysteries in nature. Assembled from a group of artists who draw heavily from natural inspiration, these creatives use techniques and insight gained from expertise in areas such as environmental studies, textile design, and taxidermy to enhance their creative practice.
Lana Crooks specializes in delicate and intricate faux specimens created from unexpected materials, such as fabrics and found objects, while Jess Polanshek’s painting Beneath explores ‘the secrets buried beneath the forest floor waiting to emerge,’ and Josh Weatherlake creates understatedly peaceful but unsettling pieces using natural linen as paper and cross-stitched embroidery as pen.
The Dark Forest will be hung in the Salon, a featured exhibition space that will showcase guest-curated collections and small group shows.
Solo Exhibition: Erik Krenz - Satellite Gallery
A Minnesota native, Erik Krenz has built a career around a profound love and respect for nature. His work consistently combines an incredibly deft and naturalistic painterly style with a playful sense of fantasy and wonder. Krenz pairs his fantastic imagination with a passion for natural history and science as a painter and designer for Blue Rhino Studios, a leader in artistic fabrication for museum and zoological environments. At Blue Rhino Studios, Krenz helps to create life-size, strikingly life-like sculptures, murals, and dioramas that feature creatures ranging from little known Northwood species to prehistoric mammoths and dinosaurs, which are used to educate visitors at museums and natural history sites around the world.
For his first solo exhibition, Erik Krenz will be showing a retrospective body of naturalistic work, as well as a new collection of paintings that explore fairytales and folklore with an emphasis on landscape, and how it influences the narratives.
Erik Krenz’s work will be hung in the Satellite Gallery, a new space dedicated to showing solo exhibitions and featured artists.
Solo Exhibition: Carolyn Nowak - Page Gallery
Carolyn Nowak is an award-winning cartoonist, illustrator, and author. Based in Michigan, Nowak has created work for BOOM! Studios’s Eisner award-winning title Lumberjanes, as well as Z2 Comics and Cartoon Network. Her self-published fantasy minicomic, Radishes, won 2016’s Small Press Expo Ignatz Awards in the categories Promising New Talent and Outstanding Minicomic.
Nowak’s work revolves around the unique experiences of women, often exploring the themes of intimacy and self-perception. Her work has been recognized by critics who celebrate inclusive media. Her work on Lumberjanes received a 2016 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book. Despite tackling important issues, Nowak uses fantastic settings and unusual situations to add humor and levity. “I try to inject a lot of fun, which usually comes from absurdity,” says Nowak. “My strategy for writing is something like: Say what you want to say and use every tool to make it as compelling and engaging as possible. Make stuff up. Invent. Fudge the details. Make them fun. Fun fun fun.”
Nowak will be exhibiting a collection of insightful studies, original pages, and finished comics, including previously unseen work from her newest comic, Diana's Electric Tongue.
Carolyn Nowak’s work will be hung in the Page Gallery, a new space dedicated to narrative work celebrating independent publishing, comic creators, and narrative media.
Featured Shop Artist: Camille Chew - Light Grey Shop
With the expanded space, Light Grey Art Lab will be putting a greater emphasis on retail and consignment with an all-new shop that will feature a curated, rotating selection of handmade products, original art, and creative projects. The Light Grey Shop will host featured artists to celebrate new releases of editions, small series, projects, books, and more.
Light Grey Art Lab is kicking off their featured artist lineup with Camille Chew, an illustrator whose work explores themes of mythology, fantasy, and the occult. Chew will be showcasing her Witch Familiar Mask series. These six, large-scale, mixed-media decorative masks combine traditional occult imagery and symbolism with a graphic and modern style, and continue expanding upon Chew’s previous Witch Series of portraits.
The grand unveiling on Light Grey Art Lab’s new space, and the opening reception for tobeyou, The Dark Forest, the solo exhibitions for Erik Krenz and Carolyn Nowak, and the release of Camille Chew’s Witch Familiar Mask series is Friday, March 3rd from 7-10PM. tobeyou and Carolyn Nowak’s work remains on display until April 14th. The Dark Forest and Erik Krenz’s work will remain on display until April 28th. The opening reception is free and open to the public, and features multiple chances to win free art throughout the evening, music, and refreshments.