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
Once in a while I am reminded that I am a bit of an anomaly among my fellow artists in that I love writing and presenting papers at conferences. I certainly don't have the empty space in my calendar to take papers on, but I do anyway. They are another form of creative challenge to me.
I've just completed a proposal for a conference at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa called, The Christian Evasion of Popular Culture. The deadline is May 1st so if you are interested, you better get going.
Also, this morning I received an email from the Transposition blog about a conference at Trinity Western University in Langely BC on Art and Ethics. The deadline for this one is June 15th so you've got a little more time with that one.
Happy Easter Monday. This past weekend my wife and I trekked down to see my family in NW Iowa. On Friday we had the priviledge of meeting up with my undergraduate printmaking professor from Northwester College, John Kaericher and his wife.
We also had the opportunity on Saturday afternoon hit a few of the antique shops around the Spirit Lake, IA region and I picked up two little photographs.
They are not all that unique or rare, but both made me chuckle. Both do display a few typical motifs, if you want to call them that. In the first image, a partially seen mother holds the child head upright. Often in pictures of children at such a young age you may find an arm or emerging from the side to help balance the wobbly child or even see the form of the mother having been draped with a cloth in the background. This one however makes no attempt to disguise the mother's presence. In the other image, a child contemplates another photograph...a motif I've mentioned before here. I doubt that this image is a mourning photograph, but it does make for an adorable image of the little girl in what looks like a velvet dress.
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For the most part, I have held my tongue on issues related to the University of North Dakota's nickname (at least on here). But recently I have become increasingly agitated by the continued arguments about the Fighting Sioux nickname. When we moved here 4 years ago from Sioux Falls, SD I knew that it was a controversial issue, but I had no idea how divisive it really was...and has been for some time. Recently, the state legislature overturned a November law that erased the nickname. So with the nickname now in effect once again, the NCAA has come with sanctions, UND risks not being fully accepted by their new conference, and has taken a further kick in the teeth by my home state's university. University of Iowa has uninvited UND to its April track meet. I applaud their decision. I hope to see more of the same from other schools siding with the NCAA as pressure mounts risking UND's precious hockey teams perhaps public opinion will shift as well. I do lament the cost this takes upon the student athlete. As a former athlete I know the amount of hours and commitment one puts into a sport and to have that taken away seems unfair. But until this issue of the nickname is settled, with the nickname being done away with, expect more sanctions and more invitations revoked. I for one am thankful for U of Iowa and their determined stance. It's not hard to do, but it makes me proud to be an Iowan.
Stephen Bloom's recent article in the Atlantic explores his now home of 20 years: Iowa. Apparently his characterizations have caused a lot of controversy in Iowa that he is now "hiding" elsewhere after his wife received an anti-Semitic comment. While several of Blooms comments are blatantly over the top generalizations, they still hit close to home. To close at times to my own home in Northwest Iowa.
I grew up in Iowa...the first 22 years of my life. Following college I too left the state like so many others my age. I left for South Dakota...not much of a change. Now, I live in North Dakota the other worst state for keeping their educated young folks around.
As I said, some of Blooms comments are satire and are just over the top exaggerations. But that said, one does not need to scrape too far to find resonances of with his words and experiences. There no doubt was a culture shock for Bloom when we moved there. But in spite of this Bloom's long time commitment to the U of I and Iowa is remarkable. He has travelled the state widely. He has observed them and knows them well. Perhaps this is why it hurts me even as I have not lived in Iowa for nearly 15 years. It is my home. I know the sky and the dirt. I know the people and their strengths and foibles. There is much that he has correct and I suspect that there are many who would agree were it not for an arrogance and judgment in its delivery.
What is frustrating, is that you might say the same things about every state in the Union. Every state has its "things" they are proud of and those they would rather hide. Bloom has used those less savory aspects to imply that Iowa is undeserving of its political prominence.
Mr Bloom, while I agree with you on many of your points, I still think you are a dick for saying it as you did.
As a rejoinder, enjoy this video.
One of the most striking things to me about this space was the ancient debris littering the surface. It would likely be surprising for North Americans, let alone Iowan's like myself, to find a single piece of an ancient amphora handle in their field. So the sheer volume of pottery shards scattered over the surface was astounding to me. On one of my first trips out to site, my head still floating somewhere over the Atlantic, I sat down in the heat of the afternoon and just began to collect the pieces within an arms reach of where I sat and photographed them. I did this several times finding both fine and coarse ware that had worked itself up to the surface from time, erosion and with the farmers help. I surprised by the density objects on the surface, their diversity, and the very fact that I could pick up these ancient pieces of pottery.
The image above is one of two composites like this that were a part of the show. My hope with these images was to record my first engagements with the ubiquitous debris at this site in a non-scientific or archaeological sense. Instead to suggest the wonder in a Iowa farmers son at the geographic and temporal distance between the hands that made these objects and my own now holding them.