New Skins: Press Release

From Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program

New Skins: New Paintings by Andrea Carlson and Jim Denomie
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
April 6–May 27, 2007


Minneapolis, March 26, 2007–Influenced by sacred stories of their Anishinaabe ancestors, Minnesota artists Andrea Carlson and Jim Denomie present powerful paintings, infused with humor and politics, in the new exhibition from Minnesota Artist Exhibition Program (MAEP) at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA). Their provocative paintings tell tales both historical and contemporary and are on view April 6 through May 27, 2007.

Carlson addresses her Anishinaabe ancestry, in combination with her Scandinavian heritage, in her recent “Windigo” series, named after an Anishinaabe winter cannibal that often misidentifies those it consumes. Geometric black-and-white blankets frame fantastic worlds of luminous mountain landscapes in which colorful mythic creatures from ancient Native stories coexist alongside rosemaling, teapots, and other examples from Scandinavia. She tells her own story in witty, hybrid ways, using humor, animals, and innuendo from a rich narrative history while exploring ideas of culture, authenticity, and interpretation.

Carlson expands her “Windigo” series for this exhibition by drawing upon the world cultural heritage on view at the MIA. Her new paintings incorporate images of familiar objects from the museum’s permanent collection. Works such as Jade Mountain and Jean-Léon Gérôme’s The Carpet Merchant are represented and given new life within her worlds. “I’m trying to make them my own, to take them out of the museum even while they are still in it,” Carlson explains.

Carlson received a master of fine arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) in 2005 and has had numerous exhibitions, including a recent solo show at the Soo Visual Arts Center.

Denomie’s most recent body of work includes expressive portraits composed of colorful, quick brushstrokes that not only convey a particular mood for each of the imaginary characters, but also serve as his private journal. These portraits, collectively referred to as “Rugged Indians,” are the result from a commitment to create at least one painting a day for one year. The outcome was 430 small-scale paintings, of which approximately 300 are portraits. In addition to the men and women in the portraits, the series includes landscapes, animals, and symbols to form a powerful community.

Also included are larger works that expand on his series “Renegade.” Denomie uses humor and socio-political commentary to tell contemporary tales based on Anishinaabe history and traditional story-telling. His paintings use realistic imagery, historical iconography, and the surreal. For example, works such as Attack on Fort Snelling Bar and Grill features Indians on horseback attacking Fort Snelling as a White Castle restaurant, or Edward Curtis Paparazzi depicts a photographer on a motorcycle who chases a pair of Indians on horseback. His somewhat absurd situations cleverly comment on the modern world, American history, and political struggles.

Denomie received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Minnesota. He has participated in many exhibitions and his art is in the permanent collection of the Frederick Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis and the Westphalian State Museum of Natural History in Münster Germany.

Related Events

Opening reception: Thursday, April 5, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Artist’s Talk with Andrea Carlson: Thursday, April 12, 7 p.m.

Artist’s slide lecture with Jim Denomie: Thursday, May 10, 7 p.m.

Critic’s Trialogue, Thursday, May 3, 7 p.m.

Family Day, Sunday, April 15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Supported by the Jerome Foundation in celebration of the Jerome Hill Centennial and in recognition of the valuable cultural contributions of artists to society. The Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program is an artist-run curatorial department of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.