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ISSUE 121 VOL 12 PUBLISHED 2/29/2008

Flaten exhibits 'Prints in Time'

By Joanna Cullen
Contributing Writer


Friday, February 29, 2008

Flaten Art Museum began to display an exhibit entitled "Prints in Time: Contemplations of the Multiple," featuring five local artists.

The exhibit, available to view until Sunday, March 9, is a collection composed of many different textures and concepts unified by the theme of exploration into the relationship of the print as a time-based medium.

With pieces representing everything from traditional prints to large installations, "Prints in Time" is an organic and amazingly fluid experience. Artists Roberta Allen, Jill Evans, Amy Sands, Jeff Wetzig and St Olaf's own Professor John Saurer present some truly breathtaking works.

Upon entering the spacious gallery, the monotype prints of Amy Sands hang on the left. Immediately, I noticed that most of her pieces shared a similar color palette of browns, blues, greens and oranges. Her series of three works, "In a Land of Make Believe," consists of entirely straight lines -- a rectangular canvas with a square in the center and a horizontal rectangular strip through the middle -- except for a subtle pattern that covers the background of the piece. Each piece held a different pattern, which according to her artist statement, were "drawn from a variety of personal experiences, referencing memory of particular places and time."

Moving on through the exhibit, my attention was drawn to Roberta Allen's "Desert Interiors," which are a series of prickly patterned prints in muted greens, oranges and browns on white canvas. In some way, the pieces did capture the feel of what I imagine it would be like to visit the desert. John Saurer's "Forest for the Trees" and "Fallen" sequences are utterly spectacular embossed reliefs of trees and leaves on copper. Each tree trunk and each leaf respectively is ever so slightly different from the next, and one can easily imagine the growth of a tree and the passage of time very well through these pieces. Cleverly, the trees are hung on the far back wall and the leaves are covering the floor as you enter the exhibit.

Jill Evan's "Prospero's Branch" pieces are photographs of shadows as they move -- in time -- across her notebook. It was intriguing to follow how the shapes changed over the course of the several hours in which she photographed. "I cannot control how the air and ambient light will alter the shadows across the pages as I photograph," Evans said in her statement. "I am in effect creating a 'Book of Nature.'"

The final artist, Jeff Wetzig, produced the most different of the pieces in the exhibit, an installation of fences made out of paper. Jeff's installation covered the most space of all the artists, with well nearly a third of the room devoted solely to his prints of picket, link and barbed wire fences. While his installation did not at first seem to fit with the conception I had already created of the exhibit, as a primarily nature and time combination, some insight into his choice may be found in his artist statement. In his statement, he asserts, "all fences are prints. All fences create prints. Fences are meant to imprint, first and foremost, a separation or an ending of one individual's space and the beginning of another's." For anyone even vaguely intrigued by art, a visit to this exhibit is certainly worth your time.





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