Through the Looking Glass" is the theme for the third women's invitational art exhibit in the Northwest Art Center's Hartnett Hall gallery through April 6 in celebration of Women's Heritage Month.
The public reception will be today from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the gallery, and a number of the artists are expected to attend.
"A select number of regional artists were invited to participate in this exhibition," said Northwest Art Center executive director Avis Veikley. "(All) are women who have distinguished themselves as serious practicing artists. All are artists whom we felt could speak powerfully on our theme."
Terry J. Aman/MDN - - Thirty-two female artists took part in the “Through the Looking Glass: Regional Women’s Invitational Art Exhibit” on display in the Hartnett Hall gallery of the Northwest Art Center, sharing a broad range of views and topics around a theme of reflection in a variety of media. In the background, at left: “Old Time Indian, Living in a Contemporary World” by Lauren Good Day Frank of Bismarck in colored pencil on antique paper, and at right, in the foreground, Michele McKamy of Minot’s sculpture “Walk as a Woman” in ceramic and mixed media.
Terry J. Aman/MDN - - “Deterioration,” a work in fibers and resin bones by Aberdeen, S.D., artist Sara Christensen-Blair.
Terry J. Aman/MDN - - Beauty’s Adjectives” by Alexandra Jelleberg of Beulah in mixed media.
Submitted Photo - - “Self-Portrait” by MacKenzie Kouba of Fargo in mixed media.
The looking-glass concept, she said, was really just to get the juices flowing.
"It's not just how do you see yourself, but also how much of what society expects of you do you see in yourself?"
The answers from the 32 artists show generational differences -- ranging in age as they do from high school age to 83 but the bulk are from mid-career artists, showing how becoming more mature affects personal image.
Nearly every medium is represented, from oils and sculpture to stained glass and textiles. Few took the theme literally, as an actual self-portrait, but one notable exception is from Bismarck painter Lauren Good Day Frank, who was recommended to Veikley by Walter Piehl to participate.
Her work shows an American Indian woman in modern dress looking into a full-length mirror to see herself clothed in traditional costume.
"I may live in a house with electricity and drink from a faucet," she said. "But when looking into a mirror I see the hopes, prayers, values and teachings of my ancestors."
Having such artists' statements on display with the pieces helps the viewer more fully understand the approaches each took to tell her story. There are somber pieces, such as the resin bones clad in filet crochet by Sara Christensen-Blair of Aberdeen, and more humorous, such as "What I See is What You Get" by Joyce Hendrickson of Minot.
Nancy Walter of Minot included actual pieces of mirror in her piece, as she put it, to "reflect" on the theme as well as allowing the viewer to "reflect" on themselves as they view the work.
Rose Klein's digital photography titled "Fruition" includes her mother and daughter in her submission.
"As women of different generations, I gain inspiration from them both," she said. "This piece makes me happy."
The 83-year-old Elizabeth Woods may be said to be a mid-career artist, considering she began painting in her early 60's, earning her two degrees in art at ages 66 and 79. She closed her statement saying, "I have walked many miles. I am not as strong as I used to be. I am 83 years old. I still have a lot to do."