Paired exhibition showcases work of two artists using different mediums

Published 4:47 pm Thursday, September 21, 2023

The work of Albert Lea acrylic painter Susanne Crane intertwines with that of Northfield quilter Kathy Weed in the Freeborn County Arts Initiative’s new exhibition that opened last week.

The show, called “A Crane in the Weeds,” is a paired exhibition that centers around the work of both artists on 12 different themes, ranging from birds, fish and flowers, to music, rain, geometry and others.

This is the first time for a joint exhibition between the two women, though both have previously had solo shows at the Arts Initiative.

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Crane is an internationally-acclaimed painter and author, one of the founders of the Arts Initiative and a current Minnesota State Arts Board grant recipient. Weed is a textile artist experiencing a rise in popularity who is currently exhibiting in collections across the country.

“I’m really excited because I saw her artwork a couple years ago, and the minute I set my eyes on her artwork, I was completely excited and impressed because this woman paints with fabric,” Crane said. She described Weed as an upbeat person whose personality shines through to her artwork.

She said she and Weed had planned the show for a few years now, and each came up with half of the themes. They didn’t know or see what the other artist was creating until it was time to start hanging the pieces.

Crane, who also acted as curator for the show, said she was pleased to see how complementary their work was to each other, whether that was through color, repeated shapes or subject matter.

“My goal and her goal was to offer something to people that was uplifting and inspiring,” Crane said.

Even the music playing in the gallery for this show is intended to be along that same theme.

“I really think this show is something you can feel joy and relaxation in,” she said.

Both women incorporate vivid colors into their work, and Crane encouraged people to come in and see the show in-person, as viewers can gain more from seeing the textures and designs from Weed’s quilts firsthand. They can also compare how the two artists approached the same themes, as well as their similarities and differences.

“I’m honored to be showing with Kathy,” Crane said.

The Arts Initiative said in a press release, “This one-of-a-kind approach allows for an integrated exploration of texture, medium and message.”

The show is free to view and is open through Oct. 28 in the Arts Initiative gallery at 224 S. Broadway.

The exhibition is made possible through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council. It comes as the Freeborn County Arts Initiative is in the middle of its 10th anniversary year as an arts organization.