Exhibition brings a new world of color

Published 11:13 am Wednesday, March 22, 2023

A new exhibition at the Freeborn County Arts Initiative featuring the work of a visual arts instructor in northern Iowa will take viewers to a magical world filled with color and movement.

“At the Comet’s Core” showcases the work of painter Alexis Beucler, whose work has been featured in more than 30 domestic exhibitions across the country, including in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and North Carolina. Her work has been at the Harry & Virginia Murray Gallery and Clear Lake Art Center, and will be featured in the MacNider Art Museum later this year and the Blanden Art Museum in 2025.

Beucler, who lives in Mason City, is a mixed media artist who received her undergraduate degree in studio art through Florida State University and her master’s degree in painting and drawing from the University of Iowa. She presently teaches at North Iowa Area Community College, where she is also the gallery coordinator. She is also known for the completion of five large-scale mural projects across Iowa, each spanning over 20 feet.

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“Alexis is a breath of fresh air,” said Elisha Marin, Freeborn County Arts Initiative program director. “She’s created a springlike atmosphere in the gallery, something needed this time of year.”

The solo exhibition opened March 9 and continues through April 29, with a reception planned for 1 to 4 p.m. April 29.

Beucler, in her artist statement with the exhibition, said that over the years her work “has shifted from rectangular paintings hanging on the wall to amorphous shapes with glitter edges, soft sculptural devices and ceramic frames.”

The work explores the themes of identity, sexuality, human futility, anxiety, passion and love, she said.

Susie Crane, founding member of the Freeborn County Arts Initiative, described the exhibition as “completely outside the box.” None of the pieces are rectangular in shape, and they are made with everything from ceramics, wood, paper, watercolor, pen and ink, marker and plaster, among others.

Crane said she, Marin and Arts Initiative Board President Dee Bruns were all familiar with Beucler before the show.

Crane first met Beucler on a committee to judge the sculpture walk in Mason City, and Marin became acquainted with her when he was doing some work through the NACC PappaJohn Entrepreneurial Center.

Bruns had been invited to a get-together at Beucler’s home, and the two became friends. When Bruns joined the board of the Arts Initiative and it came time to brainstorm possible solo exhibitions for the year, she suggested the idea of showcasing Beucler’s work.

“This kind of artwork isn’t something you would usually see in this town, so making this available to people — giving them access to things that are of the essence, contemporary, is part of our mission,” Crane said. “So we feel like this show really helps bring to light what our mission is.”

Bruns, who curated the show, said she hopes everyone enjoys the exhibition.

The Freeborn County Arts Initiative is at 224 S. Broadway in Albert Lea and is open from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays.