Posted at 8:25 AM on February 11, 2010
by Chris Roberts
Filed under: Art Hounds
This week's Art Hounds celebrate ghoulish portraits with religious overtones, a Northfield poet with an acute geo-political awareness and a new Ibsen interpretation from an up-and-coming director.
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Gregory Scott writes about art for Vita.mn and the Downtown Journal in Minneapolis. Gregory was mesmerized by the misshapenly ugly yet luminously beautiful paintings of Chris Mars at the Phipps Center for the Arts in Hudson, Wisconsin. Mars' work springs from his feelings for his brother, who, as a teenager was diagnosed with schizophrenia. "The Relinquishing" is Mars' first regional exhibition in five years and is up through Feb. 21.
Juliet Patterson is a Minneapolis poet and writer. Juliet wants to shed light on the award-winning yet under-noticed verse of poet Joanna Rawson of Northfield. Rawson's second collection of poems, Unrest, is up for a Minnesota Book Award this year. Juliet says the collection is challenging and stimulating, in this case linking the narrator's garden to a series of sociopolitical subjects, "giving us a side of humanity pushed to the limits." (You can read a poem by Rawson here, featured earlier this week by Marianne Combs).
Aditi Kapil is an actor, director and playwright in Minneapolis. Aditi says get yourself down to the Southern Theater this weekend and see Henrik Ibsen's masterpiece Hedda Gabler. The one-weekend-only production is being staged by the promising young director Genevieve Bennett, and stars critically-praised actor Annie Henneking as Hedda.
It's Valentine's Day Sunday, for those of you who have somehow missed the onslaught of V-Day sales pitches coming from all directions. Here are a couple of possibilities of the arts lovin' kind which may help your weekend.
At the 318 Cafe in Excelsior poets Todd Boss and Terri Ford will join Mother Banjo and and Chad Elliot for an evening of words and music, accompanied by a three course Valentine's meal. Boss has become one of local poetry's most outspoken advocates, and has developed "Motionpoems," animated versions of the work of several renowned poets, (including the example of his own work above.) There are two shows at 6 and 8.15 pm. Reservations are strongly recommended as last years events sold out.
At the Guthrie in Minneapolis, you can catch the new theatrical adaptation of Noel Coward's "Brief Encounter." The show, about the illicit affair is based on a one act play Coward wrote in the 1930s, and then adapted to an award winning movie in the waning days of World War II.
Director Emma Rice of the British Kneehigh Theatre company, says it's a show everyone can relate to, as she believes there's hardly anyone out there who hasn't fallen in love with someone they shouldn't, or been in love with someone who has fallen for someone else. She's also developed a huge appreciation for Coward and the depth of his work.
"This was a gay man in the 1930s," she says. "He knew what it was like to feel love that he wasn't allowed to feel. And yet the generosity of putting those words into two heterosexual people's mouths and genuinely charting the pain, the simple pain, of what was impossible. I mean, I've got goosebumps even thinking about it."
"Brief Encounter" is now in previews and opens Saturday.
And finally, you can't help but feel the love at the new retrospective of Wing Young Huie's work which is now open at the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Gallery at Macalester College. Huie has documented the people around him in the Twin Cities for three decades, creating an impressive body of work, usually displayed in series such as "Frogtown" and "Lake Street USA." The Mac show is a sampler, taking selections from Huie's work over the years, including the University Avenue Project which will be displayed along its namesake street later this summer.
A quick Foot in the Door Update: If you are wondering about what's happening with all those Foot in the Door artworks at the MIA you can follow the action on Twitter through the #fitd4 hashtag.
Reports from this afternoon suggest that after filling two galleries, there may be need for another. Originally there had been a plan just to spill out into the atrium.
You can also see pictures of the progress, such as this one which also gives you access to a plethora of images gathered during the submission process and during the hanging.
Dawn Upshaw says she's excited to be invited back.
Given the acclaim which has surrounded the world famous soprano, there seems to have been little double that the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra would be very keen to retain her services, but Upshaw says she is looking forward to working more with the SPCO.
"These musicians really respond to text and to singers," she said. "I think if you were to speak with them they would tell you they especially love working with singers."
Upshaw was speaking shortly after the SPCO announced it had extended Upshaw's contract through the 2012-2013 season. She says she has enjoyed working regularly with the SPCO over the first three years of her tenure.
"My musical world is kind of built around my collaborations and so this is just one which happens to be with a whole group rather than one individual, and is as inspiring to me," she said.
As in the first three seasons Upshaw will continue to commission a new work each year to perform with the SPCO as a world premiere. The next piece will be with composer Gabriela Frank, to be performed in 2011.
"There is something very much of the earth about her music," Upshaw said. She worked with Frank at the Weill Music Institute composer-singer workshop in 2004. "And I hear life stories in her music."
Upshaw says she knows what Frank is working on for the commission, but says as it may well change before the performance she's reluctant to share details at present. Upshaw has presented a broad variety of works during her tenure so far, including the commissions by Osvaldo Golijov, Maria Schneider, and Alberto Iglesias.
"I think of music sometimes like food," she laughed. "Food for my soul. But you know we all love different kinds of food, and I am also interested in trying new foods. So I like to discover, either on my own, but usually through someone else's suggestion, new musical voices and ideas that are expressing new things in a different way."
Along with Upshaw the SPCO's 2010-2011 roster of Artistic Partners includes Roberto Abbado, Edo de Waart, Christian Zacharias and Thomas Zehetmair, each who bring their own international acclaim to St Paul.