Art Center show has more artists, more medium variety

Published 11:03 pm Friday, January 12, 2018

The Albert Lea Art Center gallery manager can’t list on one hand the number of mediums present in its upcoming show, which opens Sunday.

Gallery manager Tom Mullen said the show has more artists featured in this show than he has seen in two or three years, and these artists are working in acrylic, watercolor, oil paint, photography, sculpture, metalwork, jewelry and wood sculpting.

“I think it’s a little more diverse this time than some of the others that we’ve had because we have more sculpture and we have some techniques,” Mullen said.

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One such sculpture is a short man in disproportionately large white shoes, holding a racket. His limbs are bright yellow — most likely because they’re made from tennis balls.

“People are coming in and just loving it,” Mullen said.

The show displays work from over 15 artists and more than 50 pieces of art. Most of these pieces have not been displayed at the Art Center before.

“With the regular people, we like to keep them continually … working each year so that they come fresh … so that the artist is always working,” Mullen said.

One of the repeat works on display is there as part of a tribute to a former member, who died in October. Harlan Bang has three pieces on display in the member show. He primarily worked in acrylic, Mullen said.

“A month or two before the show, I had talked to his wife and indicated we would like to have him part of the show because he’s been part of our show for so long that we’d like to honor him,” Mullen said.

Bang’s daughters chose the three paintings.

“People enjoy his work because it’s always done very well and technically done very well,” Mullen said.

Artist Beth Tostenson submitted three works to the member show. She describes her style as semi-abstract.

“I love color and I love experimenting with washes,” Tostenson said.

She has a painting of a flower painted last fall that she moved from above her fireplace to the gallery.

“I like paintings to be entertaining and not so much realistic, but more entertaining for people to interpret their own views on what they see,” she said.

Mullen said the member show means artists get the chance to display even if they aren’t at a place where they are able to headline a show.

“We want the artists that have made new work have the opportunity, can have a show that they can put in one or two pieces, but they don’t have to set up a one-man show sort of thing,” Mullen said. “Because if an artist wants to have only their work, you know, they have to have 15, 20 pieces — at least usually — and that’s a big effort to get all of that compiled and worked out and framed.”

The member show open house runs from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday and will be on display during Art Center hours through Feb. 24.

“It’s just fun to get all the artists together,” Tostenson said.

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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