Press Release: 3 Way Vision

From Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program


Posted on August 27, 2002

For Immediate Release: August 28, 2002

THREE-WAY VISION October 11-December 1, 2002 The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Minneapolis, MINNESOTA-The radical differences between contemporary artists Mary Carroll, Clea Felien, and Todd Severson are tempered by a variety of coincidences. All three studied or worked at length abroad, lived in London the early 1990s, married Europeans, and are parents to young children. Notably, all three are masterful technicians, maintaining what might be called an obsessive aesthetic and process. Their new and recent bodies of work are on view in the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program's (MAEP) new exhibition titled Three-Way Vision opening Friday, October 11, and running through December 1, 2002.

The exhibition features 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 chainsaw portraits. Three-Way Vision reveals the complex scope of issues that, for many artists living today, surround ideas about craft, facility, and cultural documentation.

Mary Carroll has traveled extensively throughout Europe, studied ceramics in London and researched the decorative applications of French porcelain at Sèvres-all experiences that reinforced her own baroque sensibilities. She, in turn, has perfected a signature style, encrusting the "reserve" areas 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 a sexual and decidedly female expression. For Carroll, they create a lush, fantasy world-the only place where she has total control.

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 non-dominant 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, and other unconscious associations. In a new, more nostalgic, body of portraits of her grandparents, her process suggests familial undercurrents and the thought 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." During six years he created more than a thousand roughly painted portraits of historical German figures. Installed salon-style, without regard for chronology or hierarchy, Severson's Deutsche Portraits challenged the conventions of documenting and categorizing culture. Since 1997, Severson has concentrated on American themes, three of which are featured in the exhibition: The Complete American First Ladies Desert Place Set (42 cast ceramic plate portraits); Sixty Nine Southern Black Outsider Artists (69 chainsaw portraits) and the TV Cowboy and Western Film Star Collection.

Three-Way Vision runs October 11-December 1, 2002 at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. An opening reception will be held Thursday, October 10, at 7 p.m.-9 p.m. and artist-led tours will be on Sunday, October 20 at 2 p.m. with Clea Felien and on Sunday, December 1 at 2 p.m. with Mary Carroll. This exhibition is presented by the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP) and made possible by generous support from the Jerome foundation. This exhibition is free.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is open Sunday, Noon-5PM; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, 10AM-5PM; Thursday-Friday, 10AM-9PM; closed Monday.