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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
In April, I will be presenting my MFA exhibit here at UND. It is the culmination of 3 years of work and research narrowed down into a cohesive show and theme, defended to ones chosen committee, and then (assuming you pass your final review) opened to the public. Well, I have taken a route I do not recommend. As of days a week before Thanksgiving last year, I changed my topic anddirection for the show from large cyanotype landscapes to considerations of the archive and vernacular photography. While I still love the large scale landscapes, I was unmotivated by the work and I wanted to push on something more conceptual...and it ended up on the idea of the archive. Essentially it will explore the way we think about objects...any historical object really, but I am using the vernacular photograph as an expression of this. The show will illustrate...exhibit...suggest (not finding the right word right now) the different approaches towards said objects between modernity and postmodernity. Over the past few months I have built an archive of vernacular photos with the help of Ebay...2 venders in particular have been of immense help selling their wares to me at decent prices.
For the past week and half I have been making frames...21 to be exact. These function as frames, but are meant to recall less framing and more specimen trays. Inside, I will mount a singular photographic object on a white back ground with a lithographed archive label that will be filled out by hand in pencil. These pieces will be one aspect of the "modern" direction of the show to suggests modernity's drive for isolating objects for objective readings.