If you’re a subscriber to access+ENGAGE (and if not, you really should be), you likely noticed something different about the look and feel of the issue that hit your inbox this morning. Since the launch of our e-mag nearly seven years ago, so much has changed — in the kind and diversity of offerings available through mnartists.org, but also more generally, in the way everyone receives and engages with online news and information. And as our medium has evolved, mnartists.org’s “content platforms” have proliferated and grown as well, to meet the changing needs and preferences of all of you in the Minnesota arts community.
Currently, you can find our original essays, reviews, vast artist database, calendar and other resources via our flagship website and access+ENGAGE e-mag; but you can also engage with us and each other — here, on our blog on the Walker Art Center’s website, and through a number of social media, particularly via our feeds on Facebook and Twitter.
Offline, too, the reach and audience for mnartists.org’s events and programs have expanded in recent years: from Drawing Club on the Open Field and our Community Supported Art (CSA) program with Springboard for the Arts, to mnartists.org’s annual Field Trip festival with Silverwood Park, Northern Spark festivities with the Walker and Northern Lights.mn, and our print partnership with Rain Taxi Review of Books.
With this growth, and considering the massive website rebuild we’re undergoing (due next year!), we’ve decided it’s time to step back, take stock, and reconsider how we might serve you best. To this end, we’ve redesigned our e-mag to give the artists and arts lovers in our vibrant community a more streamlined and easily navigable entry point into mnartists.org’s riches – editorial offerings, professional artists’ resources, and engaging offline events, opportunities and programs.
You’ll notice the revamped newsletter has a cleaner, more straightforward design; it’s one we hope invites you more readily into our core offerings: the whip-smart, original, local arts journalism that’s updated weekly on the homepage magazine and in the blog; the job listings, calls for art and other creative opportunities for artists around the state drawn from our community bulletin board; and a short-list of must-see events and programs. One thing isn’t changing: At the top of every issue of the newsletter, as always, we’ll feature art work by a different Minnesota artist. Click the banner art in the newsletter, and you’ll be directed to a little profile of that artist here, on the blog.
Speaking of which, for the launch of our new-and-improved newsletter, our banner artist is photographer Mickey Smith. Smith is a Duluth native, with a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Minnesota-Moorhead. She has received awards from the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Photography, the Forecast Public Art Affairs, CEC ArtsLink, and Americans for the Arts. Smith currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand and is represented by INVISIBLE-EXPORTS in New York.
This issue’s banner art comes from a series of photographs, Denudation, which have just been collected in a book by the same name, with text by W. M. Hunt, published this month in collaboration with Hassla Books.
Here’s an eloquent excerpt from an essay by W.M. Hunt, “Prospero’s Shelf,” included in the newly published collection of photographs:
When you move away, you see the place you’re leaving, not the place you’re going to. You look at what you will have left behind, the shell of you, the shadow. It is the photograph’s negative.
Mickey Smith’s Denudation images have a haunted quality. They are somber, depicting empty shelves and a closet, a ladder to nowhere, tied off airless garbage bags, and discarded book spines. The Wil to Win is reconsidered.
Ms. Smith’s earlier Volume and Collocations—ebullient portraits of books, individually or in groups and on shelves—were bold and graphic. What made those pictures so effective was subtext, here made explicit—a deeper, darker unseen melancholy or despair.
It is not that these works have a sense of doom or resignation to them. They act like harbingers of some transcendence. An unseen protagonist has moved on and left this behind. Prospero throws down his book and his magic, and leaves the island. Here he has literally just taken it off the shelf, and departed. The flaying or erosion of layers of life, the denudation, yield opportunity and newness.
“To regret deeply is to live afresh,” Henry David Thoreau wrote in 1839. Ms. Smith captures the plaintive and enigmatic and offers it as possibility.
Smith will be in town for a book-signing at Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art in Minneapolis, October 18, 4 to 6 p.m., 250 Third Avenue North, #308. The signing will be followed by a reception at Bev’s Wine Bar from 6 to 9 p.m., just downstairs from the gallery, in #100.
Mickey Smith will also open a related exhibition of work, her third solo show at INVISIBLE-EXPORTS in New York, late this month; also titled Denudation, the show will be on view from October 26 through December 9, 2012.