Two wildly different Minnesota artists are now on display at the MIA's Minnesota Artist Exhibition Program
galleries, which supports and exhibits artists who live and work in Minnesota. Where Liz Miller's wildly energetic "Ornamental Invasion" delights with colors and shapes and light, Paula McCartney's "A Field Guide to Snow and Ice" presents an introspective meditation on winter.
When you walk into Liz Miller's installation, it feels as if you are walking into a party. Brightly colored felt cut-outs are assembled both intricately and with grandiosity throughout a the room. Light streams in through the patterns of negative space created by the cut outs strung together, leaving shadows against the wall.
In her blog, Miller says she pulled imagery directly from the museum's collections, specifically from forms that fall into the broad category of "arms and armament." Indeed there also seems like there should be fugue horns and battle cries within the triumphant space.
Paula McCartney's "A field Guide to Snow and Ice" has a completely different energy. Her photographs take a ponderous look at the images of winter, and through her subject, she discovers moments of surprising beauty. In piles of ice, she finds texture, and hundreds of different shades of light. In a snow drift, she examines a curious black hole, creating a stark contrast with the white snow. When is a pile of snow not a pile of snow? When McCartney's photographic art uses that pile as a means of appreciating the beauty of all things--their majesty and fragility, and their power.
While McCartney's exhibition of photographs may not be as exciting as Liz Miller's "Ornamental Invasion," there is a quiet energy to her work that calls for the viewer to slow down, to appreciate the nuanced images that surround us every day--if we bother to look.
"A Field Guide to Snow and Ice" and "Ornamental Invasion" will be on display in the MAEP galleries through July 3, 2011. Both shows are free and open to the public.