Art Gallery Past Exhibits

The MSUM Art gallery exhibits for the past academic year 2021-2022.

Five McKnight Artists

The Five McKnight Artists exhibition features the works of two 2020 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Ceramic Artists recipients Andrea Leila Denecke (Scandia, Minnesota) and Brad Menninga (St. Paul, Minnesota), and three 2019 McKnight Artist Residency for Ceramic Artists recipients Pattie Chalmers (Illinois), Rebecca Chappell (Pennsylvania), and Marcelino Puig-Pastrana (Puerto Rico). This exhibition is supported by the McKnight Foundation and showcases the success of each artist’s fellowship or residency. The work is on loan and available for purchase from Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

August 23-September 16
Thursday, September 2: Reception 5:00-7:00 pm


Andrea Leila Denecke
Five McKnight Artists

Andrea Leila Denecke received her BA in Art and German from Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa in 1972, Diploma with honors from Tekisui Museum of Art Ceramic Art Research Institute, Ashiya, Japan in 1986, MFA in studio art from Louisiana State University, Baton Rougein 1989, and certification from the Institute for Public Art and Design from Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minnesota in 1998. Denecke’s work is reminiscent of historical tools and structures, and powerful in its simplicity. Her work presents the viewer with an island of tranquility for contemplation. Denecke has been recognized with myriad awards and honors including the Jerome Residency Fellowship at Franconia Sculpture Park in 2003, Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant in 2008 and 2013, McKnight Artist Fellowship for Ceramic Artists in 2004 and 2008, and a 1991 commission through the Minneapolis Arts Commission to create and construct the installation Stele Mississippi for the Ibaraki City Municipal Library, Japan.

Brad Menninga
Five McKnight Artists

Brad Menninga received his BA in Politics from Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH) in 1992 and his MFA from California College of the Arts (San Francisco) in 2010. Menninga explores continuity and disruptions between past and present through his work by referencing and reimagining neoclassical forms of the Enlightenment era while simultaneously employing techniques of various periods in ceramic history. He has published with Ceramic Arts Daily and Pottery Making Illustrated, and facilitated activist art making workshops through the Portland, Oregon chapters of Jobs with Justice and Art & Revolution. Menninga has been included in collective installations at the Walters Cultural Art Center, Hillsboro, Oregon, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California, and created solo installations at the Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota and at the 2019 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Conference (St. Paul, Minnesota). He currently resides within his 2020 Minnesota Artist Initiative Grant supported period room installation: The Life and Legacy of Gijsbert van Engelenhoven.

Pattie Chalmers
Five McKnight Artists

Pattie Chalmers utilizes a variety of approaches during the making process to create tableaux as an expression of a two-dimensional narrative space made three-dimensional. With fabrications depicting a shrinking of the distance between fact and fiction, her works visualize accounts from varying experiences that are amalgamated to reflect the flux of how things are remembered. Chalmers received her BFA in printmaking from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada in 1993 and her MFA in ceramics from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis in 2001. Transitioning from the role of student to teacher, she began work as an instructor shortly after completing her MFA. Having taught at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and Ohio University in Athens, she has been an associate professor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois since 2006. In addition to these sustained posts, Chalmers has led myriad lectures and workshops at art centers, universities, and institutions spanning the United States and additionally in both Canada and Hungary.

Rebecca Chappell
Five McKnight Artists

Rebecca Chappell received her MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2008 and her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2003. Her work embraces directness in its use of earthenware and bold, unapologetic colors. The combination of the two is an appropriate complement to her forms, which are highly evolved yet retain a delicious primitiveness. Chappell has participated in solo and group exhibitions across the US. She was awarded the Evelyn Shapiro Foundation Fellowship in 2010 and her work is part of the renowned Rosenfield Collection. She currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she was a resident artist from 2010 – 2015 at The Clay Studio. She currently teaches a community class at The Clay Studio and at Maryland Institute College of Art for eight years.

Marcelino Puig-Pastrana
Five McKnight Artists

Marcelino Puig-Pastrana utilizes clay to explore cyclical themes of growth, decay, and transformation and ideas of both regeneration and an object’s tactile memory. Seeking to make an unequivocal affirmation of life in its interconnectedness and its endless possibility for renewal, he continues in his pursuit to resolve myriad questions and emotions that surged to the forefront of his work following Hurricane Maria’s impact on his community. Puig-Pastrana received his BFA and BA in art history in 2000 from Fordham University in New York, and has additionally trained in the areas of dance, drawing, painting, and printmaking, as well as both lighting and graphic design. In 1992, he was a recipient of a young artist grant in choreography from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2017 he was a finalist with honorary mention in the 39th International Competition of Ceramic Art, Gualdo Tadino, Italy. Currently, Puig-Pastrana is developing new bodies of work in drawing, painting, printmaking, and ceramics at the Universidad de Puerto Rico and Casa Candina Ceramics Atelier, where he also serves as an Atelier Assistant and Drawing Instructor.


Fall 2021 BFA Exhibition #1

Fall 2021 BFA Exhibition #1

Featuring the artworks of: Christina Barstad, Nicole Bentley, Kelsey Bingham, Rachel Herzog, Kylie Kanwischer, Ashley Lopez, Maggie Peterson, Lauren P Ritchie, and Emily Worm.

September 20 - October 14
Thursday, September 23: Reception 5:00-7:00 pm


Maggie Peterson
Artist Statement

Many people find comfort in the familiar. We are so used to seeing a slice of bread or a traffic cone that we rarely marvel at them. The thought of crawling into a costume of one of these objects seems silly but also cozy.

I created a series of works that transports the viewer into a different world. The pieces are large screen prints that combine use of digital photos and hand drawn line art. These digital collages play with depth and flatness. This symbolizes the simplicity and complexity of the human mind.

This series features figures dressed in playful costumes. The costumes range from animals to traffic cones. I use food in my works because it is something that everyone relies on and enjoys. I imagine the figure feels the same pure bliss wearing the costume as they do consuming the food. The animal costumes represent our relationships with other living beings as food and friends. Each figure inhabits fantastical landscapes. They escape into a world that is different from the one we live in. A world where the rules of nature do not apply. The pieces use minimal broken lines in order to unify the myriad of textures. I layer bright primary colors to make secondary colors. This draws inspiration from traditional CMYK printmaking. I use these colors to show humor in the pieces. I want the viewer to empathize with the figure, so they can transport themselves into the landscape. This is furthered by the prints’ large scale which invites the viewer in.

I want these pieces to feel lively and comical. Each piece holds a special message. An invitation to a picnic. A declaration of love between two different flavors. All of these pieces are visual puns. I see these pieces as my escape from reality.

Kylie Kanwischer
Artist Statement

In my journey as a designer and artist, I have always been drawn to earthy styles. The details, colors, texture and simple expression of life that we can see in nature shows in my work. For this series of creations, I conducted significant market research to see how nature and community can improve everyday life. And thus, the concept of Easy Tiger was born. A place to unwind and relax when your world gets busy, Easy Tiger combines my love of branding, the earth, and community. The space would feature plants of all varieties, house made kombucha on tap, a yoga studio, and an event space. Community is a pillar focus for Easy Tiger, which why the space would hold weekly events where local specialists can hold colloquiums, workshops, or just casual meet and greets. Hosts would range from integrative health practitioners to local artists sharing their craft. As a holistic wellness powerhouse, Easy Tiger is meant to be a place where you can walk in and gain the tools to grow into your highest self, surrounded by nature, a beautiful environment, and incredible people.

Rachel Herzog
Artist Statement

I produce my desired images by repeatedly layering dots of ink with a technique called stippling. In these given works, I explore the abstraction and decontextualization of natural objects and textures, leaning into the realm of abstraction with my observations. The stippling method helps me achieve this goal by giving the illustrations an atomized, airy effect as if the image is floating above the paper. The process is time-consuming, methodical, and highly detail-oriented, demanding lots of patience, giving me the time to observe and document with care and precision. The deliberate small size of works intends to make the viewer lean in close to catch all the small details.

Primarily inspired by my studies in art history, this work is prompted by my discovery of the surrealist photographer Brassaï and his work titled Involuntary Sculpture (1933). This work is a series of otherworldly close-ups of ordinary objects, in which he completely transforms their context through his composition and use of stark contrast. Once I learned of this series, I wanted to achieve a similar effect in my work using illustration rather than photography - to bring forth an image rather than seek it out and capture it.

Emily Worm
Artist Statement

For Side Street Way:
I created this painting using oil paint and mineral spirits. I created the forms and buildings in the painting using expressive and gestural brush strokes using a large bristle brush for many of the forms and a smaller one for the more detailed shapes. The colors made are mainly tints and shades of primary and secondary colors. I created this cityscape to challenge my observational skills focusing more on the forms as shapes and strokes instead of intense detail. I chose this side street because I feel that this is a street that often goes unnoticed but yet has so many beautiful features.

For Study of Male Pheasant:
I drew this male pheasant using watercolor and colored pencil. Using a taxidermized male pheasant as a physical observation object. I used watercolor to fill in the main-colored areas and went in with colored pencil to intensify the details and texture. I chose to draw a male pheasant to capture some unique colors that most meadow animals in the Midwest do not have. I loved the brilliant vibrant colors that a male pheasant had, and I wanted to capture the beauty through my own drawing. I am an observational artist because I like to appreciate the little things in life, even down to the smallest detail.

For Cross-sectional Study of Crappie Fish: This is a cross-sectional observational drawing. I chose to draw a crappie fish because of the different patterns and colors that a living creature has. I worked from a reference photo taken from when my father fillet fish, he caught while ice fishing. I wanted to use white light to capture the colors along with the reflection of the flesh and scales. I used watercolor to get a base color and then used colored pencil to intensify the saturation in the details. This drawing is an observational drawing of one fish with other reference photos to piece together other details. I chose to draw a crappie fish because I have always admired the beauty of their scales, so I wanted to represent their physical internal beauty as well. I am an observational artist because I like to appreciate the little things in life, even down to the smallest detail.

For Societal Standards:
I created this figure drawing using colored pencil on charcoal paper. I started by covering the entire figure in a peach skin tone color and then I layered other skin tone colors in different areas of the figure to create depth and texture. I wanted to focus on the values and folds of the figure to make it more realistic. This figure drawing is a self-figure drawing using a photo reference. To get the reference photo that has different shades, tints and hues I set up a small studio with different colored lights. The process in taking this photo was all about self-love and hate. Not only did the process give me conflicting feelings of confidence and shame. The entire theme was constriction. The drawing is a symbol for how I feel societal standards of beauty make me feel. This drawing is very personal yet can also be relatable to many in our society. I am an observational artist because I like to appreciate the little things in life, even down to the smallest detail.

Ashley Lopez
Artist Statement

Most of these ingredients are nourishing or, at the very least, filling, but when they are combined, they make a repulsive concoction. I mixed blood, milk, bile, food coloring, and oil with proteins and various fruits. These bright colors contradict the nature of its content. The odor emitted and imaginable taste does not bring any desire for consumption. And so, it’s conflicting seeing something that is highly aestheticized, yet knowing that this once comestible food has become lethal.

In the past couple of years, I have grown an interest in human consumption and waste, and it has led me to create artwork that breaches and threatens our sense of cleanliness. Now more than ever, I have become increasingly aware of the detrimental effects that food can have on ourselves and other people. Artists such as Maisie Cousins and Andres Serrano have also influenced my work immensely in the visual sense.

Kelsey Bingham
Artist Statement

Through lines and a variety of values I developed an artwork portfolio that was a self-expression of the relationship I built with my child due to the relationship I had with my own mother and childhood. It reaches into the hard topics of what I felt rather than the expected journey a mother is typically shown to have through social media. It faces the harsh truth of the disconnect you have with your changing body and changed perceptions of life after having had a child. It also faces the fading memories of which you face as you grow into an adult and your childhood fades out of your memories. It’s the raw truthful emotions that I faced during my own experiences.

Nicole Bentley
Artist Statement

As an artist, I enjoy using a variety of media to create because I thrive on the challenge posed by each media process. Although the media choices may be different, there are common qualities throughout my artwork including my focus on process, mark making, and organic forms and colors. When I begin creating, my inspiration often comes from mental health, nature, and my life experiences. Mental health awareness has become an important aspect of my life, and I often use it as a theme within my artwork. Sometimes it reflects my own mental health, or it can be interpretation of what someone else is going through. My goal is to spread awareness. I also enjoy incorporating organic qualities within my work through subject matter, color choices, and mark making. I use creating as a form of therapy to better understand what I am going through. I see my artwork as reflection of my life experiences.

Lauren Ritchie
Artist Statement

The brand I have created was based on my history of struggling with digestive issues and being vegan. Many people with gastrointestinal diseases need to take probiotics to help them, but these probiotics contain ingredients such as dairy, that we cannot have.

I started designing with the intent to fix all the frustrations I’ve had with probiotics. This includes complicated and confusing packaging, harmful ingredients, non-filling options, and lack of options. To design, I view other probiotic and juice brands, think of the designs that are lacking within the product, and make something new and different.

My glass bottles and drink carriers are recyclable, and the business cards are made from recycled t-shirts. It was important for me to create a design that consisted of eco-friendly products and reflected my minimalist lifestyle.

My brand reflects the values that I have and gives people like me a safe option of probiotics that offers help, advice, information, and avoids confusing marketing.

Christina Barstad
Artist Statement

My work explores the opportunity to bring a trendy and unique experience to the Fargo-Moorhead area. FM Posed is a “Selfie Museum” that allows the opportunity for people of many interests to have fun and be creative.

When presented with the idea of “what to do” for my senior project I began to research popular areas and things to do there. I stumbled upon a few selfie museums in populated areas, and realized it is something that is becoming popular, very quick. I thought to myself that this activity could really attract many people within our community.

As a designer, I wanted to create my company as if it were to open tomorrow. With the popularity of social media, FM Posed is advertised on Instagram for the company to brand themselves, and for the users to participate in the posts. A website, to catalog the company and give more information out to the public. A selfie wall, to utilize and express your creative side. Posters to inform and teach how to use the exhibit, as well as being mindful of the pandemic. And an atmosphere to simply enjoy and have fun.


Fall 2021 BFA Exhibition #2

Featuring the artwork of: Albertina Blanche, Macy Cascade Mack, Leandra Nelson, Carol M. Rumen, Joshua Scilex, Hannah Stelter, Natalie Wieberdink, and Kendra Wold.

October 18 - November 11
Thursday, October 21: Reception 5:00-7:00 pm



Fall 2021 BFA Exhibition #3

Featuring the artwork of: Courtney Donahue Eric Evenson, Mikaela Justen, Megan Kucera, Hannah Moller, Lindsay Olsen, Steven Ranweiler, Tayla Sessing, and Victoria Tinjum.

November 15 - December 16
Thursday, November 18: Reception 5:00-7:00 pm



Spring 2022 BFA Exhibition #1

Featuring the artworks of: Alison Bugner, Paige Busby, Annika Gunderson, Ryan Knutsen, Nicholas Loock, Rebecca Marten, Emmilee Muehler, Jacob Posey, Sage Tremaine and Mysha Wenzel.

March 7 - April 8
Thursday, March 10: Reception 5:00-7:00 pm



Spring 2022 BFA Exhibition #2

Featuring the artwork of: Alissa Rae , Samantha Durnin, Josephine Farai Tanis, Cara Hovelson, Bethany LaForce, Hannah Nelson, Issac Riihiluoma, Jordyn Seivert, Madeson Smith, Sailesh Thapa Magar and Tobias Zikmund.

April 11 - May 13
Thursday, April 14: Reception 5:00-7:00 pm