WHITTIER — The Jerome Foundation’s fellowships for emerging artists are meant to give a boost to early career artists who haven’t yet gotten the recognition they deserve.
This year’s group of five, whose work is featured in the annual fellowship exhibition at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, are — possibly to a greater degree than some of the fellows before them — emerging fully formed, or close to it. Take the singular Lindsay Rhyner, who has chosen an unusual artistic path — recycling fabric scraps into elaborate junk-tapestries — and marched steadfastly through a series of impressive shows at Bockley Gallery, the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and elsewhere.
Rhyner’s “Cinder Cone” is a fantasy landscape of a double volcano that — particularly in the sinuous clouds swirling at the mountains’ bases — seems inspired by the flatness and bold compositions found in ukiyo-e, the Japanese printmaking tradition in which landscape was a popular genre. Rhyner’s genius for transforming found materials is a constant source of delight, and the lava streaming from the cinder cones — actually lipstick-red faux alligator leather cut into strips — is just one of the countless ways her work rewards close attention.
Emmett Ramstad’s installation piece is split into two platforms located on opposite sides of the gallery, each constructed from wood panels and parts from a public restroom stall. There are landline phones, and phone numbers written in marker on the wall nearby.
Maybe it’s best not to say here what happens when one dials those numbers, because the piece seems to hinge on evoking the quasi-private, public spaces like phone booths or public bathrooms, where the number scrawled on the wall holds the promise of lurid mystery. That doesn’t seem to be the case here, where Ramstad seems more intent on piercing our technological bubbles to make some kind of real, person-to-person connection.
For her video, “Spectral Response,” filmed in the vacant interior of the 1894 Hill House on the campus of Carleton College in Northfield, a former college president’s residence that was later converted into student housing, Holly Streekstra collaborated with performer Adrienne Gaylord, who pushes her body around the space, leaning on walls, dragging her body across the floor and contorting herself into narrow cubbyhole. With an ambient soundtrack composed by Reid Kruger, Streekstra’s video records the intimate meeting of an individual human body and a place that has housed many human bodies, and in her captivating performance Gaylord explores the space like a child explores her room, making its nooks and closets her private domain.
Star Wallowing Bull is a Pop artist who professes to be a fan of the logos and commercial art he appropriates into bold and vibrantly colored drawings and paintings, playing against expectations that Pop will take an ironic pose. In one painting, “Black Hole,” an abstracted figure’s split-open skull vacuums up both intricately patterned butterfly wings and the symbol of the “Transformers” toy-and-movie franchise, suggesting Wallowing Bull is an omnivorous consumer of his visual environment.
The “Troutorobouros,” the invented fish-eating-its-tail symbol that plays a role in Samual Weinberg’s perplexing, sprawling narrative — which plays out across a suite of paintings, multiple objects and a bizarre parody of a soap opera — could symbolize the artist’s entire project here: each recurring symbol points to the next until you’re right back at the beginning of Weinberg’s obscure storyline. There’s a soap opera character’s bulbous red hand, developed after “the event”; the many knives; a queasy-looking cartoon face; and the two-dimensional Pink Man with an eyeball tattooed on his hand, who seems to be the main subject of Weinberg’s paintings, which shift prismatically between styles that range from cartoonish to realistic.
It is loopy and vastly entertaining, and Weinberg hints at a whole world that may not have fully emerged, yet, from his head.
2015/2016 Jerome Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition
When: Through Nov. 8
Where: Minneapolis College of Art and Design, 2501 Stevens Ave. S.
Info: mcad.edu, 874-3700