3 Works that Wowed at the North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival

This story was originally printed via The Arts Partnership on January 16, 2020. The original story can be found online here. By Ethan Mickelson / The Arts Partnership

Exhibiting on the third floor of Plains Art Museum until Jan. 31

The North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival is a traveling exhibition that welcomes 2D, 3D and live performance artists to explore human rights as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions and additional Protocols and other similar declarations and treaties. This annual juried arts festival features 2D, 3D and live performance artistic works. The exhibition will open on January 9, 2020 at Plains Art Museum in Fargo before traveling to Bismarck, Grand Forks and Minot.

It’s truly impossible to sum up the body of work seen inside Plains Art Museum with just a few words. Even still, a single word has the power to elevate each piece of artwork into a message of humanity. From struggles for basic human rights to deep looks within themselves, the artist statements from each work have the ability to take viewers on a truly enlightened path.

The following artwork is accompanied by statements from the artists;

1. “Pull It Together” by Christina Johnson

“As humans, I fully believe we need to express some level of vulnerability — to take on certain opportunities for failure — in order to deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us, says Johnson. “And regardless of gender, I want to work toward a world where non of us feels like we have to hide ourselves away to feel safe.

Pull It Together is a self portrait about what happens when making simple choices becomes an ever-present exercise in risk assessment. Something I believe many women adjust to as they learn to navigate parts of our current society.”

Johnson serves as project manager with The Arts Partnership.

“Fortune cookie aren’t something most of us take seriously. They’re usually a fun excuse to think about the future or reflect on our current state, but I’ve cast them in a foreboding role in this portrait. Here, they represent all of the simple choices that can so easily stop being simple when other people choose to see you as an object. A target. At some point, you might decide that the potential fun on the inside of that next cookie, just isn’t worth exposing yourself.

“The portrait you see is drawn over the top of one I did several years earlier. This final version is much more polished and presentable, but also significantly more defensive and wary. It is drawn on heavy, durable printmaking paper, but not hidden behind glass. The paper is sealed and allows for safe handling and basic protection, but is still presented in a more vulnerable state than most artistic drawings. This is not by accident.”

2. “One with Nature” by Andrew Stark

“The surface and content of my work is intended to visual express an evolving reinterpretation of the concept of the sublime,” says Stark. “Influenced by the relationship of the human figure with nature and the visual reimagining of memory, I seek to document a fluid and ethereal space that investigates human emotion and experience. Porcelain ceramic material serves as an extension of concepts exploring the fleeting nature of action, layers and internal depth and transience.”

Stark is an Assistant Professor of Practice at North Dakota State University where he teaches Graphic Design, Illustration, Drawing, and Foundations classes in the Department of Visual Arts.

“The work involves multiple recurring thematic references including; creating, nostalgia, loss, meditation, anxiety, calm, transcendence, time, identity and isolation. This visual exploration attempts to capture the wonder, master and awe humans have experience for thousands of years when confronted with the immensity and complexity of nature. I hope to reflect our ongoing search for and fascination with the tangible and intangible components that make up the thing we call human experience.”

3. “Three Letters to Three Crows” by Kimble Bromley 

 

Three Letters to Three Crows represent my calling on the evil crows to come to the light,” says Bromley. “Be transformed and assist in our human transformation towards peace and goodwill.”

 

Bromley teaches painting and drawing at NDSU. He has painted abroad in Cuba, Jamaica, Ecuadaor and Mexico.

“The crow has come to symbolize a variety of concepts. Crows are thought to be evil and ill intentioned, a stealer of souls, light and fire. They are known as tricksters causing confusion and chaos. A group of crows is known as a “Murder of Crows,” yet they are also known for escaping darkness and bringing light to mankind as symbols of prophecy, good luck and leading on not to fear change. Transformation can be difficult. The crow steps in to support one’s efforts towards greater insight.”

The North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival is supported locally by The Arts Partnership and the Fargo Human Relations Commission. The exhibition’s state-wide endeavors will be supported by North Dakota Council on the Arts.

Sponsored by The Human Family

Artist Talk + Reception
Wednesday, January 22, 6 – 8 PM
Free

#NDHRAF20

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