NAC rolling out pair of exhibits

Textile art by Fargo collaborative artists Vicki Kessler and Donna Kjonaas and ceramics from the Minot State University ceramics studio will be on display for spring visitors to the Northwest Art Center galleries at MSU.

Ceramics students, instructor Linda Olson, and “open studio” community ceramists will present “Out of the Fire,” May 12 through June 4 in the Gordon B. Olson Library Gallery. “Land, Sky, Water,” by Kessler and Kjonaas opens May 15 in the Hartnett Hall Gallery and runs through June 13.

The Northwest Art Center will host a public reception for Kessler and Kjonaas Thursday, May 15, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Hartnett Hall Gallery.

The ceramics exhibit features a variety of processes explored during the school term by Olson and 15 of her ceramics students, as well as work by several community members. Community members, though not enrolled in university classes, may work in the MSU facilities for a small fee under the university’s “open studio” program.

Processes represented include Raku, pit fire, and various types of oxidation and reduction firings that result in different colors and surfaces on the pottery. Though some ceramic sculptures will be exhibited, most of the work has a “more utilitarian bent,” said Olson. Pieces to be displayed are “mostly things you would use around the home.” Many of the works will be for sale.

Collaborative, contemporary fiber artists Kjonaas and Kessler reclaim historic, vintage and practical fiber through a variety of processes including discharge, painting, monoprinting and dyeing. Materials such as linens, clothing, sweaters and quilts are transformed into abstract compositions inspired by the natural world. Embellishment with stitch, beads, buttons or felting completes each piece.

Kjonaas and Kessler began their work as collaborative artists in the mid-1980s with liturgical installation art. Kessler is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and Kjonaas is a retired United Methodist minister. In the last three years, their combined efforts have produced a significant body of work which has been featured in five collaborative solo exhibits and in group shows across the country. Their work is in public and private collections.

The exhibits and reception are free and open to the public. Parking on the MSU campus is unrestricted after 5 p.m.

This project is funded in part by a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.