State of Grace

State of Grace by Ursula Burke: A North Star Production

Reception: Thursday, Oct. 9

Show dates: Oct. 10 - Oct. 31, 2008

This solo exhibition, featuring the photographic work of the contemporary Irish artist's work, addresses issues of Irish identity. As an internationally exhibited artist and PhD candidate at the University of Ulster, Burke's work explores complex questions in a rapidly changing world.

Regarding her work, Burke has said, "My continuing research looks at the construct of Irish national identity viewed within a postmodern, post-conflict and increasingly globalized community. Issues of representation are at the fore. The images contained within this body of work look to destabilize representations of Irish cultural authenticity. Some of the questions that my work provokes include: In an era where national borders are increasingly made more fluid, does this make Irish cultural characteristics and heritage seem more or less important? Is there a version of Irishness which is both indigenous and foreign? Given global trends and flows of information, can one's national culture coalesce with another? Are the Irish different and, if so, what makes them different? How are these differences made manifest or have the Irish effectively been subsumed by the West?"

The show is in part organized by North Star Residency, a grassroots organization that creates artistic exchanges between contemporary artists in Northern Ireland and Minnesota. The exhibit takes place in association with the American Conference for Irish Studies Midwest Regional Meeting, which is hosted by Metropolitan State University, Oct. 9-11, 2008. 

Soft Cover/Hard Copy

Soft Cover/Hard Copy: Contemporary Minnesotan Chapbooks

Reception: Thursday, Sept. 11 at 4 -7 p.m. Special presentation during reception by Eric Lorberer, editor of Rain Taxi Books, at 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. The presentation will cover history, design elements and position in contemporary publishing. Rain Taxi is a nationally acclaimed journal which includes regular critical commentary on chapbooks and will be launching a Chapbook Finder feature on its website this fall.

Show dates: Sept. 12 - Oct. 3, 2008

This exhibition investigates the breadth and depth of the state's zine and literary community by featuring the work of a number of book artists and fine presses. From one-of-a-kind hand bound books to mechanically produced limited edition publications, this show features a variety of styles, techniques and materials. Participants include: Michelle Filkins of Spout Press (Minneapolis), Scott King of Red Dragonfly Press (Northfield), Eric Lorberer of Rain Taxi (Minneapolis), Minnesota Center for Book Arts (Minneapolis), Paulette Myers-Rich of Traffic Street Press (Saint Paul), Mikal and Elizabeth Oness of Sutton Hoo Press (Winona), Regula Ruselle of Cedar Fence Press (Saint Paul) and Chip Schilling of Indulgence Press (Minneapolis).

The chapbook evolved in the British Isles between the 16th and 18th centuries as a means of distributing inexpensive literature to the masses. Originally sold by young men (or "chaps") on the streets, these inexpensive publications featured soft covers and hand-bound signatures. Texts of poetry, prose or short moral tales were used in combination with cartoons or other imagery. Today chapbooks are enjoying resurgence in popularity.

The exhibition also complements a new class offered at Metropolitan State University called the "Chapbook Workshop," which is designed for the new Master of Liberal Studies program.

Necessary Ornamentation

Necessary Ornamentation: Selections from the Minnesota Mosaic Guild

Reception: Thursday, April 17, 4 - 7 p.m.

Show Dates: April 18 - July 25, 2008

The history of mosaics is a rich and complex one. Evolving at least 4,000 years ago as a decorative art, fine examples of ancient mosaics have been preserved throughout the European, Muslim and African worlds. From the highly naturalistic religious narratives (as we see in early Christian art) to the elaborate geometrical patterns of Islamic architecture (such as those executed in Moorish Spain), a contemporary mosaic artist is rarely without inspiration.

Necessary Ornamentation: Selections from the Minnesota Mosaic Guild is an exhibition which investigates the breadth and depth of the local mosaic-making community. From traditional tiles to sculptural objects, this show features a variety of styles, techniques and materials.

Regarding the diversity of the work in the show, Exhibition Coordinator Gil Gragert said, "There's no way to nail down the typical Guild member or the work. The artwork is often elegant. Sometimes it is primitive or quirky in form. Members struggle and experiment among the many styles and substances of the media. With ranges of experience from only months to fifteen years or more, you'll find a range of quality, but never a lack of spirit in the work."

Established in 2004, the Minnesota Mosaic Guild (MMG) was formed to promote the art of mosaic, foster exploration and experimentation in the media, provide educational opportunities in mosaic, and share and celebrate the diversity of experience and knowledge in the media. MMG members emerge from a multitude of artistic backgrounds, including sculpture, art instruction, jewelry making, graphic design and oil painting. While some MMG artists practice more traditional mosaic techniques using Italian smalti or commercial tiles, others practice their art in non-traditional modes including picassiette, memory ware, stained glass and found objects, or through a combination of approaches.

Senior Salon 2008

Senior Salon 2008

Reception: Thursday, March 13 from 4 - 7 p.m. with student films at 5:00 and 6:30 p.m.

Show dates: March 14 - April 4, 2008

Tradition and Innovation

Tradition and Innovation: Contemporary Textiles in Kumasi, Ghana

Reception: Thursday, Jan. 24 from 4-7 p.m.

Show dates: Jan. 25 - Feb. 22, 2008

To the uninitiated, the richly decorated fabrics of West Africa may at first appear simply flamboyant or festive. But social scientists, scholars and philosophers agree that clothing is a complex form of communication. The clothes that we wear often relay messages about our gender, age, marital status and social standing. And even today, among the influx of western garb and growing technologies, many communities in West Africa still continue to produce yardage that incorporates substantive content, dating back countless generations.

The exhibition examines the very notion of communication within Ghanaian textiles while simultaneously celebrating its beauty. The batik yardage by Dorothy Amenuke and the adinkra cloth of the Boakye Family Workshop are highlighted in this sumptuous sampling of African ingenuity.

For general information regarding Communication, Writing and Arts programs, please contact the CWA support staff, Lisa Ann McMahon,, 651-999-5940.

If you are interested in any one of the majors in Communication, Writing and Arts, please contact CAS advising, 651-793-1455.

To contact the College of Arts and Sciences, please call 651-793-1440.