3 Way Vision

From Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program

Artists: Mary Carroll, Clea Felien and Todd Severson
October 11 – December 1, 2002
Minnesota Artists Gallery

Three-Way Vision featured new and recent work by three artists who share notable technical mastery and an obsessive aesthetic and process.

The exhibition presented a wild assortment of work ranging from Carroll's outrageously decorated ceramic vessels to Felien's familial portraits (drawn with her left hand and painted with her right) and Severson's mammoth “collection” of chain-saw portraits. Three-Way Vision revealed the complex issues that relate to craft, facility, and the documentation of culture.

Mary Carroll has traveled extensively throughout Europe, studied ceramics in London, and researched the decorative applications of French porcelain at Sévres-all experiences that reinforced her own baroque sensibilities. She has perfected a signature style, encrusting the surfaces of her vessels with three-dimensional organic forms such as shells, flowers, and invertebrates. One might read these works as ironic, kitschy, or over-the-top, but Carroll precisely and deliberately pushes the European tradition of excess to an even more sexual and decidedly female expression.

Clea Felien makes her living painting portraits in a classical realist manner. Yet she chooses to explore the limits of her artistic identity in other work-humorous paintings that torque gender-based stereotypes and drawings done with her nondominant hand. Strangely liberated by the act of drawing with an untrained hand, Felien found that the hesitant, Etch-a-sketch-like marks carried with them anxiety, fear, or other unconscious associations. In a new, more nostalgic, body of portraits of her grandparents, the vulnerability of her process suggested the old adage that things are rarely as they appear to be.

When Todd Severson left London to live in Hamburg, he began what would become a hallmark project for his future “portrait collections.” Over six years he created more than a thousand roughly painted portraits of historical German figures. Installed salon-style, without any regard for chronology or hierarchy. Severson's Deutsche Portraits challenged basic conventions of documenting and categorizing culture. Since 1997, Severson has explored American themes in nine different portrait collections, three of which were featured in the exhibition: The Complete American First Ladies Dessert Plate Set, Sixty-nine Southern Black Outsider Artists, and the Alfonso Bedoya TV Cowboy and Western Film Star Collection.

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Related Events

  • Opening Reception: Thursday, October 10 at 7:00 p.m. in the Minnesota Artists Gallery.
  • Artist-led tours: Sunday, October 20, 2002 at 2:00 p.m. (Clea Felien) in the Minnesota Artists Gallery. Sunday, December 1, 2002 at 2:00 p.m. (Mary Carroll) in the Minnesota Artists Gallery.

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