The idea of rebranding the Upper Midwest as The North began gaining traction back in 2014, after Eric Dayton—co-owner of Askov Finlayson and Bachelor Farmer—posited the idea during an MPR interview, which was followed by a lively conversation on the topic at the Walker Art Center. Three years later, the idea has taken hold, at least in certain circles.
On Saturday, May 5, The North is the underlying theme for an exhibition of artworks and home goods crafted by local artists—and curated by the resplendent Mary Jo Hoffman, founder and creator of the STILL blog, whose work we love beyond measure—opening at Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis. Titled “The New North: Contemporary Art From the Upper Midwest,” the show’s free opening reception runs from 7-10 p.m. on Friday, but the show stays up through June 20.
The sleek if austere style of minimalism associated with The North’s Scandinavian style is infused with the singular aesthetics of more than a dozen artists and craftspeople in the show. Works include screenprinting, photography, ceramic, woodworking. and painting. In addition to items by Hoffman, other participating creatives include Michele and Erik Vevang, the couple behind VevangMPLS, who will have Scandinavian-style carved wooden spoons and “assemblages” (or wall sculptures) on display. Also included are works by Kristin McCullough, Marty Harris, Araya, Steve Thomas, Lockstadt, Neal Perbix, Talin Spring, Thea Spring, Scott Brown, Martha McQuade, Dan Clark, and Jim Nelson.
An exhibition opening at the same time includes collected works by Janelle Gramling, who combines fiber, found objects and ceramics into “assemblages” with a natural, yet minimalist aesthetic at once feral and refined.
by Camille LeFevre