Art inspires us to visit the concept of “Unity” and see ourselves as part of a bigger Universe.
- Leni Kae
Significant strength centers on unity. The universe is a perfect example of this strength. As we look out into the cosmos, everything seems to be in its place, doing what everything should be doing, harmony in the sky. As humans, there has always been a fascination with the stars and their steadfast qualities. On earth, we try to find and establish unity and order inspired by the universe. As human culture developed the concept of order/unity, this focus has changed history, art, and much more.
In this exhibit, the Blanden invites visitors to explore the concept of unity in multiple ways: Unity as a principle of art and design, Unity in the context of honoring the combined effort by American women that fought for a voice in Democracy, and unity as the collective creative vision of women artists.
Unity, as a principle of art, refers to how parts of artwork work together, the "Gestalt" – or the whole. Artists accomplish this whole through working and understanding the mechanisms of art. These mechanisms are the elements and principles, how they interact with each other, and the viewer's perception of the interaction. Unity, as it relates to history and creative output, has its roots in this basic understanding of the whole working together for a creative outcome.
This year America unites with celebrating American women that fought for a change and struggled to have a voice and input on US governance. Starting with the Progressive movement in 1890, American women rallied together to reform society and politics. The main objectives of this group were to eliminate problems caused by industry, urban living, immigration, and political corruption. The group's triumph came on August 18, 1920, with the signing of the 19th Constitutional Amendment. Unifying under a single voice is a powerful device used to accomplish great things and provides clear perceptions.
This exhibit showcases women artists whose works have been collected over the years and preserved in the Blanden Permanent Collection. By exclusively featuring women artists spanning centuries, subjects, and mediums, their works display a unified change in perceptions of an art world dominated by male artists. Museums all over the world are focusing on highlighting great women artists to rewrite the narrative, pulling back the years of darkness, and submitting to the world stage great artists.
Unity is accomplished in many ways. Within the setting of history and visual art, The Blanden's presentation offers engaging narratives and discourse which frame an environment of learning and understanding. At the heart of this simple understanding and perception is a connection to a powerful universe and one another.
Works by Women Artists from 1890-Present from the Blanden Permanent Collection
Creating Unity: A Centennial Celebration
Second Floor Gallery
March 21 - Aug 1, 2020
About the Exhibit
Encounters with Nature, is full of quiet solitude and connections to a larger purpose. This exhibit presents a selection from the Harold D. Peterson collection, which highlights prints that have a human/nature component. The Peterson collection provides the Blanden a vast assortment of artistic vision and printmaking that allows the museum to curate a multitude of learning opportunities for the community.
The Blanden’s gratitude to Harold D. Peterson is boundless, generation after generation of local families and visitors will have the opportunity to see works of significant 16th through 20th century European and American artists.
Art has a way to provide a concrete way to connect to the mystical experiences nature can evoke. Art and nature share continuity in the fact that they both exist, but each can only provide a moment of truth, beauty, or wisdom if experienced by someone.
Throughout history, recordings of human interactions and awe of nature represent this continuity. Reflected in the paintings, writings, and drawings of many artists throughout history, nature is on full display the beauty, the danger, and the awe. Nature and man’s interactions with it have been one of control over the unknown and one of a mystical/religious experience. These interactions are reflected in cultures around the world. Made evident by the creations of nature deities and rituals that center on connecting to aspects of nature for guidance and control.
It is interesting to see the different ways cultures connect to nature; in some cultures, one can see an understanding of the power and role of nature in one’s life. Nature as eternal and great in relationship to human temporal and small. In contrast, cultures have an understanding of nature is to be controlled and dominated by man; it is here to serve the advancement of civilization. Whatever side of the coin individuals’ fall on each is amazed by the boundless and sublime beauty presented in nature.
Mr. Peterson of Portland, Oregon, is a native of Fort Dodge with a passion for prints that stem out of being a “pack rat by nature” and collecting stamps, maps, and paintings. He had a desire to acquire examples by the world’s best print makers. Peterson’s collection donated to the museum totaled 219 and represented one of the most substantial single donations received by the Blanden Art Museum.
Selected works from the Harold D. Peterson Collection
Encounters with Nature
April 11 - September 26, 2020
As a visual artist and a woman there are many issues of the feminine persona that are relevant within my compositions. Along with this fact is the opportunity I have had to work in the field of Oncology nursing for 35 years. Together these experiences have greatly affected the content of my work; content that centers upon man's courage and his ability to transcend obstacles towards a higher spiritual consciousness.
My personal artistic process is a hands on manipulation of the media. This type of physical action offers me a method to make visible the true content of my work. My usual icon or vehicle of choice, that I have found relevant for these purposes, is the bird form. For myself as an artist, I have found that the bird image symbolizes a spirituality. One which has been utilized for centuries as a religious icon of hope and enlightenment.
Along with my bird images I also have begun a journey into the world of the pierrot mimes, theatrical actors which were common in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Although these mimes are classified as clowns they appear to possess an unusual entity, one of mystery and spirit, exactly what I seek to demonstrate in my art.
In so many words, I attempt to give to the inanimate object of the canvas a spiritual vitality. There are many issues that celebrate and identify our humanness. We are all assimilation's of our relationships and situations. As with all of us, our lives are journeys of enlightenment. I only hope to present through my art a realism which is honest and can be shared by both the viewer and myself.
“Art is a wound turned into light” – Georges Braque
Due to closing to the public, the museum is exploring alternative ways to connect with the community. The digital arena has become a way for museums to provide educational services to members, students and art enthusiasts.
This exhibit is an attempt to provide a space where creative voices can be seen and shared. The present state of the world seems overwhelming and chaotic, but out of these times, great love and beauty can still be expressed. Art is essential, especially during times that are full of stress and anxiety. Artwork can be medicine for the mind and soul.
Artists have been able to look at situations such as the recent one we all are experiencing, and create profound work that speaks to a collective event, memory, and new reality. Artist’s ability to find inspiration in world events and explore new ways of communicating information can help us all.