Formation Matters takes its name from a simple, but evocative play on words. If taken literally, the phrase suggests the relevant topics or concerns relating to formation. Rhetorically however, the phrase implies the overall importance of formation. In a third turn of the phrase, it also hints at the substance or physicality of the artists’ creations through which viewers engage the initial two turns of the phrase.*
This plurality of meaning allows for the same in the directions of work chosen for the exhibit. While all the artwork in some way deals with memory and tradition, it also embodies a variety of conceptual approaches. Both Donovan Widmer and Patrick Luber investigate the dynamic and formative relationships between religion and culture. Whereas Katelyn Reiter and Mary Kocal explore the power of family narratives within their own lives. My own work, and that of Cherith Lundin, raises questions about the ambiguities and possible loss of traditions. Micah Bloom’s recent work on the 2011 Minot flood haunts the space between these two positions as a metaphor by regarding his childhood formation and the passing of the paper book. Additionally, while all artists work from particular traditions and influences, be it media or school, John Kaericher’s work often makes explicit visual ties to his mentors.
In these ways, the exhibit offers another voice into the conference conversations. Building around the theme of Teaching Theology and Handing on the Faith, the exhibition is rooted in the belief that the visual arts can be remarkable catalysts within these conversations, as well as profound symbols and mediations of the Divine. While the church has historically drawn upon the devotional and didactic potential of art, the engagement and contemplation of contemporary art allows divergent points of affirmation and provocation of its traditions.
*The beginning is a modification of Liz Well's introduction to her wonderful text, Land Matters
Formation Matters - Up and Running
After a very busy day yesterday with a lot of help from my niece Brittany, the exhibition is up and looks great. The conference starts this evening with the first plenary speaker and people have been trickling into campus. I am so thankful to CTS & Creighton for allowing me this little artistic experiment within a theological conference. I am also in debt to the artists who have shared their work with me and made this a great looking exhibition.
I have put together a hastily edited and unedited collection of images from the show into a gallery below. I will update names and piece titles when I have more time.
Formation Matters Exhibit I
Today I am packing the artwork for the Formation Matters exhibition that I have curated for joint meetings of the College Theology Society (CTS) and the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion (NABPR). This exhibitions represents the culmination of years (since CTS's meeting at Regis in Denver in 2006) thinking and discussions on how to include art into the conference discussions. Back in 2006 the theme was on art and beauty (a natural connection to host an exhibition) but alas no actual visual connection was made beyond the standard conference presentators and presentations (of which I was one).
The Arts Media Literature and Religion section does a wonderful job at providing a venue for discussing such matters. My hope with the exhibition is to dovetail this group and offer a first hand, or primary source, kind of opportunity for conference goers to connect their research and thoughts to the work and vice-a-versa. This year's conference theme is Teaching Theology and Handing on the Faith: Challenges and Convergences. For the exhibition, I have chosen for focus the chosen work on ideas of memory, tradition, and formation (I will say more about these areas in the coming days).
As I mentioned, I have talked to CTS folks about this for a few years now and I am so excited to see it come to fruition. I am so thankful for Creighton and CTS for allowing me to experiment with this little venture. Over the course of the week, I will be posting more updates, information on the artists, and images from the gallery.
Occluded Witnesses Opening at IAM
This morning I woke up in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I now sit on my couch in Grand Forks, ND. It is a strange contrast of cultures and views. I love both...I love visiting NYC. I love coming home too.
It was a great trip...good food, the Met, Guggenheim, and lots of walking. But the highlight of course was my own opening at Space 38-39. Given Sandy's destruction on the island the week before, we had no idea what to expect. But I was happy with the turnout and some great questions and conversations about the work.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to show at IAM's gallery and certainly to Meaghan and the staff there for the publicity and work that goes into putting it all together.
When It Rains...
Perhaps it is thoughtless to begin a blog post with such a title in the midst of such a drought across much of the Midwest...but I use it, as most people do, in a metaphorical sense. Life for the past month has been crazy to say the least. And I have said little about it here on the blog. The craziness I mention is of good things...great things actually that far exceeded my expectations.
About a month ago now, I was offered a one year teaching position as a Visiting Instructor of Photography at Minot State University. It was shocking to get the call and the offer. As one who likes to plan everything, this was not the way I would have preferred it to go. However, I am beginning to thing that God rarely acts in those expected ways (and perhaps we can be thankful for that). Not only am I thankful for the opportunity to teach, but to be in a supportive faculty as well that is helping me to acclimate to the department and caring for me in the transition. I am teaching two great courses: Beginning Photo and Advanced Photo..oh and supervising to independent studies.
Prior to this craziness of moving to Minot for the weekdays, I had already planned a trip to Iowa and Northwestern College for an opening (see last post for photos). It was such a great trip. A remarkable turnout from students, family and friends. I have done 2 diferent interviews for the show...something I am not used to. Once again...I am overwhelmed and thankful.
October will be one of the busiest professional months of my life with 3 conference papers. Everytime I submit a paper proposal I am quite sure that it will not be selected and always amazed when they are.
And the most recent develpment...I looks fairly certain that I will be having a solo exhibition in NYC later this fall too. It is simply unbelievable all the things that have come so quickly and seem to be stacked so heavily this fall.
All of it...plus health, a loving wife, good friends and family and mentors...I am overwhelmed with thankfulness these days.
Objective Subjects Opening
Last week Friday, Karina and I made a flying trip down to Orange City, IA to my opening at Northwestern College. It was a great opening...a good turnout, time with family and friends, seeing former professors, and of course seeing ones art in a new space. As I said that night, any solo exhibition is a great event as an artist but the opportunity to do so in a community that has been so formative in my own life is extremely special. I am so thankful for this opportunity, for family and friends who came to the show, and for Emily Stokes wonderful help in hosting.
Objective Subjects Exhibition
I am happy to announce my upcoming opening of Objective Subjects at the TePaske Art Gallery at Northwestern College in Orange City Iowa.
The work includes many pieces that were first shown in my MFA exhibition at the University of North Dakota. The show will also have a number of new pieces.
I am thankful for NWC's hosting of this work, their work to publicize the show and the opening. Below is their press release.
NORTHWESTERN ART EXHIBIT TO FEATURE 8-13-12
WORK BY NORTH DAKOTA ARTIST RYAN STANDER FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ORANGE CITY, Iowa—“Objective Subjects,” an exhibit by North Dakota artist Ryan Stander, will be on display in the Te Paske Gallery of Northwestern College Aug. 21 through Sept. 14, with a public reception scheduled for Friday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m.
Stander’s show reflects his interests in memory and vernacular photography and explores the relationship between the archivist and the objects in an archive. Traditionally viewed as an objective repository of items and information essential to human history, archives now are understood to reflect the cultural and historical biases of the curator—or as Stander puts it, “the inescapable fingerprint of archivist in the formation of the archive, human memory and, ultimately, history itself.”
As part of his exploration of objectivity and subjectivity in the interpretation of texts and objects, Stander has taken thousands of vintage snapshot photographs, most purchased through eBay, and placed them in traditional archive and museum trays and drawers to suggest the modern scientific approach. By modifying them with translucent layers and white-on-white lithograph backgrounds, however, he also suggests the cultural framework— including beliefs, biases and assumptions—that guide human interpretations.
Originally from northwest Iowa, Stander now lives in Grand Forks, N.D., where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in mixed media from the University of North Dakota. He also holds a master’s degree in theology from Sioux Falls Seminary and a bachelor’s degree in art from Northwestern College. His work has been exhibited internationally in China, South Africa, Nicaragua and Grenada, and nationally in New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Kentucky and Texas. More extensive exhibitions across the upper Midwest have included North and South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Northwestern’s Te Paske Gallery is located in the Thea G. Korver Visual Arts Center, on Highway 10 at 214 8th Street SW in Orange City. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to midnight Sunday.
by Anita Cirulis
So this past month 3rd Street Gallery here in Grand Forks had their annual show. Each year invite people to submit ideas for a theme for the show. The person who submitted the chosen theme gets to be on the postcard. This year the theme was Imitation. This is one of the two pieces that I submitted.
As an artist, showing in exhibitions is one of the primary ways to build your CV. My first semester, my photography professor started encouraging me to enter shows at the local, regional, national, and international levels. I am thankful for her push in this direction. Since starting at UND I have had multiple opportunities to show in ND, MN, MT, WI, KY, MO, SD, NJ, and South Africa. 2011 is off to a good start with pieces in 5 different exhibits already this year. Last night was the opening for the UND TournARTment, the annual student show. I had one piece selected by the juror, Brian Frink, painting professor from Mankato State University in Mankato MN. The piece Contested Spaces: Mount Rushmore is proving especially popular at shows as it is in 3 different shows right now (MO, MT, ND).