By Amalia P. Spagnolo
Though February is short in days, it is long in art at the MacRostie Art Center (MAC). The MAC marks the second month of 2014 with new exhibitions in its MacRostie and Minnesota galleries. A respite from winter’s frosty grasp, it welcomes the featured artists and all community members inside its comfortable, attractive space for both warmth and appreciation of the arts.
The MAC will host its First Friday Art Walk reception from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7 at the MacRostie Art Center at 405 First Avenue in Grand Rapids. Anna Annoni will perform live music until 7 p.m. The artists’ talks begin at 6 p.m. Refreshments will be available, and the event is free and open to the public. Hawkinson Construction sponsors the February exhibitions.
In the MacRostie Gallery, “Four McKnight Artists”—McKnight Fellowship recipients Brian Boldon, Edith Garcia, Ursula Hargens and Janet Williams—will present their work in ceramics. “What unites them is that they are all recipients of prestigious grant funds from the McKnight Foundation,” said MAC Gallery and Finance Coordinator Ashley Kolka. “They are either McKnight resident artists or fellowship recipients. Awards are presented, based on quality and merit.”
The McKnight Foundation is a Minnesota-based family foundation, which seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations. Kolka noted, “Every year, the Northern Clay Center puts together a touring show with the McKnight ceramics award-winners.” The annual touring exhibition provides McKnight-supported artists with a showcase for presenting the successes of their residencies or fellowships.
Boldon earned a B.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds an M.F.A. in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design. Through his work, Boldon explores expanded notions of the body in the New Media age.
Garcia received an M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts. She has exhibited her figurative ceramic work throughout North America, Mexico and Europe. Her pieces are displayed in the permanent Sculpture Garden of the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana, as well in other public and private collections in the U.S. and United Kingdom.
Hargens holds an M.F.A. from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She earned an M.A. in Art and Art Education from Columbia University, Teachers College. Hargens is a teaching artist at the Northern Clay Center and adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota.
An Assistant Professor of Ceramics at University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Williams received her M.F.A. from Cranbook Academy of Art. She is co-founder and co-director of Art Farm, an artist residency in Nebraska. Williams also taught at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Cleveland Institute of Art and the University of Michigan.
The Minnesota Gallery features photographer Gina Dabrowski’s installation, “Re(f)use: Transforming the Landscape.” Over the course of three years, she studied the business of trash by visually documenting collection sites and refuse workers in the Midwest and Mexico. Dabrowski’s MAC exhibit features two Minnesota locations: Crow Wing County Landfill near Brainerd and St. Louis County Regional Landfill in Virginia. She explores these landscapes of trash, the waste we discard and the technology employed to deal with our residue.
Dabrowski holds a B.A. from the University of Minnesota and an M.F.A. in Photography and Video from the California Institute of the Arts. She earned an M.A. in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester and is a recipient of a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship.
For more about the MAC, log onto: www.macrostieartcenter.org.