Ridgewater welcomes artists’ exhibits in its college galleries
September 22, 2022
Ridgewater College is proud to host visual art displays by two Twin Cities artists in the Hutchinson and Willmar art galleries. The exhibits, which include Jamaican and black multicultural influences, are free and open to the public.
“Version,” by textile artist Alexandra Beaumont, is on exhibit in the Hutchinson campus art gallery until September 28. “Sankofa,” by Lela Pierce, is a drawing exhibit in the Willmar campus art gallery until September 28. Hutchinson art instructor Lisa Bergh will host an artist gallery talk and small reception with Beaumont at 1 p.m., Fri., September 23.
The two exhibits will switch campuses from October 3 until November 2.
Beaumont studied fashion design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, and worked as a menswear designer before turning to fine art. She considers the visual, kinetic, and metaphoric elements of “parades of self”. She said she strives to feature intimate stories and totems of personal history; the pieces themselves becoming acts of reclamation, documentation, and myth creation. Abstraction is central to this exhibit, in the sense of “drawing from”, in which one takes visual elements or cues from personal iconography, architecture, or other stimuli.
“As I explore the universality of these thoughts, I am also delving into questions of my own identity, how I see myself and my community, particularly as it relates to my Jamaican heritage,” said Beaumont. “While my Jamaican lineage is a fact, my relationship to the island and my ancestry has felt very distant at times. In my evolving body of work called “Version” (a reference to the original moniker for Dub music), I confront these feelings of loss by exploring material permeability, unraveling, and negative space. Simultaneously, I anchor myself in my own Jamaican story by using motifs and materials that evoke a strong sense of memory – foods (sorrel/hibiscus blossom that I’ve used for painting and dying cloth, tamarind seeds left over from candies), traditional Jamaican madras fabric (its pattern referenced throughout), and the decorative ironwork swirls from my family’s home in Mandeville.”
To learn more about the artist, go to www.alexandrabeaumont.com.
African and European Influence
Pierce draws on iconography from her African and European ancestry to explore notions of rebirth and transformation. She evokes the concept of the African Sankofa bird, which often manifests as a bird looking over one’s shoulder. This reference was originally found in the Akan art of Ghana. The bird’s feet are pointed forward, but its head is turned back, suggesting that one must look to the past to build a future. Pierce’s work creates a spiritual, de-colonialized space.
“The persistent practice of imagining transformation is vital for seekers of freedom,” Pierce explained. “My work imagines an existence beyond the corporeal. Beginning with the body and the memories it holds, I search for an interconnected existence within and beyond materiality. I am interested in letting condensed places of in-betweenness hold more space in pursuit of freedom. Diving deep into ancestral specificity, displacement, and genealogical shapes of estrangement, my process seeks to transform and transition to vast futures of possibility.”
To learn more about the artist, go to www.lelapierce.com.
Ridgewater’s galleries are open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. The Hutchinson gallery is located in the Commons; the Willmar gallery is in the Fine Arts and Athletics building, near the theatre entrance.
For more information, contact gallery curator and Ridgewater art instructor Andrew Nordin at [email protected]. Follow Ridgewater art happenings on social media at www.instagram.com/ridgewater_art_galleries/?hl=en and www.facebook.com/RidgewaterCollegeArtGallery.