Artist aims for a sense of peace, calm in new Art Center exhibit

Published 5:15 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2023

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A new exhibit opens Thursday at the Albert Lea Art Center featuring work from Albert Lea-based artist Nicole Morrison.

All of her 42 pieces are either acrylic on canvas or mixed media with embroidered hand-stitching with a nature-based theme. Morrison loved exploring as a child, and she remembered going to the shoreline by her family’s cabin, collecting rocks and exploring. She also loved going into the meadows and picking flowers.

“I gravitate towards things in nature,” she said. “I do a lot of floral stuff, I have a few fish and a lot of my abstract pieces are actually inspired by rocks and stones.”

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A lot of times, what she collected she would draw.

Her nature-based theme was also inspired by watching her daughter collect stones outside, just as she previously did.

“I thought it would be a fun thing to play with my art for awhile to kind of explore my own memories as a child mixed with my own daughter’s memories,” she said.

And she hopes audiences will experience that calmness, wonder and peace she finds in nature seeing her untitled exhibit.

Morrison went to school for fine art and fashion design, and has been involved in art since she was little and said she always enjoyed doing anything creative, whether painting, drawing or sewing.

After spending time working in Los Angeles, she decided to move back to Albert Lea.

After returning, she reached out to the Albert Lea Art Center, where she was invited to serve on their art board.

“I also had shared some of my art with some of the members of the Art Center, and they offered to let me do my own show,” she said.

But because she had been away from fine art, she also had to re-discover herself, which involved trial and error and throwing away plenty of canvases.

This will be her first solo show and first fine arts show since college. Most of Morrison’s pieces were created within the last year.

“Nicole has a very unique style of painting,” said Beth Tostenson, artistic director for the center. “She’s a young artist in the community and we would like to showcase her art and people of her age group.”

Morrison’s show opens Thursday and runs through June 24, and her daughter, Nina, will also have six pieces on display. There will be an open house for Morrison from 5:30 to 7 p.m. May 19.