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ISSUE 121 VOL 1 PUBLISHED 9/21/2007

Pixley's exhibit 'makes mark' at Flaten

By Signe Knutson
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thanks to Anne Flaten Pixley, I've learned that a mark can be anything from a brush stoke to handmade paper or a piece of raffia to a charcoal shade.

Last Friday, I ventured over to the Dittmann Center for the opening ceremony of Pixley's art exhibit. The show includes a broad range of work spanning the past 56 years of her career.

Pixley graduated from St. Olaf in 1953 with an art and art history double-major. She currently lives in France and has shown her works all over the world.

While enjoying some good music and refreshments, I found the exhibit to be pleasant, thought provoking, and most importantly, stress relieving.

The gallery party attracted students, faculty, staff, and members of the community. Students enjoyed the sophisticated ambiance and fabulous artwork. "I really enjoyed the delectable desserts that completed the experience," David Sayre '09 said.

"I was amazed with the magnitude of her works," Sayre said. "I really liked the pieces that had intricate scribble patterns and juxtaposed colors" in reference to the use of handmade paper and watercolor crayons. It reminded me of contained chaos.

Sean Wesch '02 added to the ambiance with music on the electric keyboard.

The combination of Mediterranean colors and intricate designs make for a calming, yet fascinating display. As a whole, Pixley portrays her theme, "To Make a Mark," in every piece. Yet she also manages to make each piece very unique and worthy of a look.

I was amazed at the incredible variety of mediums. The St. Olaf alum used woven silk, photo-etching, banana bark and lithograph, among many other mediums. It was striking to see a variety of different styles, yet one pervasive idea: "To Make a Mark."

Inspired by the importance of a single mark, the show challenges the viewer to look at a brushstroke in a new way.

It's amazing how accurately a few brush strokes can capture a scene. For example, in my personal favorite, "Estes Park," all you see up close is a plethora of earthy oil paints. Yet, as you move farther away the art becomes clear.

In most cases, however, there isn't a specific subject matter. The majority of Pixley's pieces just feature a multitude of lines, shapes, colors and textures. The abstract syle of her work provokes the senses and challenges one's conceptions.

Her exhibit has enough pieces to keep someone continually interested, but it's also compact enough so you can spend time enjoying every piece of art without taking up the whole day.

The exhibit will be at the Flatten Art Museum in the Dittmann Center through Oct. 22.

There will be a gallery talk by the artist on Saturday, Sept., 28 10:30 a.m.

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