By Amalia P. Spagnolo
Welcome to 2014. What better way is there to celebrate the New Year than to see the world with fresh eyes? Twin Cities-based fiber artist Laurie Jacobi and photographer Vance Gellert have their own distinct views of the world and during the month of January, each artist’s work will be featured in separate gallery exhibitions at the MacRostie Art Center (MAC) in Grand Rapids.
The MAC holds its First Friday in January reception from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 3 at the MacRostie Art Center. Artists’ talks begin at 6 p.m. Emily LaPlant will perform live music. Food by Pizza Works and wine and other beverages will be available. The reception is free and open to the public.
MAC Gallery and Finance Coordinator Ashley Kolka is excited to welcome Jacobi and Gellert to the MAC as the first, First Friday featured artists of the new year.
Explaining the layout of the exhibits, she begins with Gellert. “He will be in the white-walled MacRostie Gallery, the main one in front,” Kolka noted.
She describes Gellert as “a documentary photographer who’s done a lot of long-term, themed projects.” His work explores designated themes from multiple aspects. The installation to be featured at the MAC is THE BRIDGE.
“It’s a completed project that he did after the Aug. 1, 2007 collapse of Interstate 35W Bridge over the Mississippi River,” said Kolka.
Highlighted with didactic text derived from his conversations with his subjects, the exhibit displays both portraiture and more abstract images of the ruined and retrieved bridge pieces. The touring show resulted from Gellert’s two-year research project in which he photographed and interviewed people tied to the collapse and the bridge wreckage itself. In addition from presenting THE BRIDGE at the MAC and other venues (such as the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis), Gellert is currently in the midst of a project focusing on the Iron Range.
Laurie Jacobi’s work will be on display in the MAC’s Minnesota Gallery. “She is a graphic designer inspired by the nature and legends of the Northwoods,” Kolka noted.
In partnership with craftswoman Mary Jane Miller, Jacobi produces designs on and with 100 percent high-quality wool Pendleton blankets to create “wearable art.”
The Northwoods part-time resident artist has often described herself as “a storyteller in wool.” Jacobi’s textile work is informed and sparked by “the spirit, beauty and legends of the natural world.” Her singular blanket, rug and clothing (jackets, coats, and vests) designs “express (her) connection” to nature and its many legends. Jacobi also crafts from boiled wool what she calls “felted stones,” which she uses to make distinctive “stone necklaces.” Of her attention-getting “necklace that keeps you warm,” Jacobi notes that each one “varies with subtle color variations and length.” Her woolen wares are created to be functional works of art.
For more information, call the MAC at 218.326.2697 or log onto www.macrostieartcenter.org, www.vancegellert.com and www.lauriejacobi.com.