Solo Exhibit: Children of Nature

Solo Exhibit: Children of Nature

POST-MODERN ECOLOGICAL VISUAL ARTIST’S DEBUT SOLO EXHIBITION AIMS TO RE-CONNECT US WITH NATURE, SHARES POSITIVE ACTION FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

DEBUT solo exhibition re-connects us with our eight-year-old selves, the miraculous and reciprocity in nature, and offers curiosity, action, and hope for our changing climate. 

Globally, artists have expressed dire climate consequences. A new artist solo exhibition “Children of Nature: Find Your Wonderland” opens June 5 and runs through June 30, 2022, at the Owatonna Arts Center, Owatonna, Minnesota, offering an educational and healing perspective on the environment and climate change. 

Educated in the Fine Arts and Art History at the University of Minnesota–Morris, self-proclaimed post-modern ecological and visual artist Kristin Maija Peterson approaches nature-inspired art with a mission.  Peterson focuses on the valuable services wild and messy ecosystems provide that our aesthetics want to control with tuff and fertilizers. 

A life-long artist, Peterson ran her own graphic design and branding company, Grand Ciel Design Co. for 25 years. Working with environmental-based clients (MN DNR, Metro Blooms, and Blue Thumb — Planting for Clean Water®)  has influenced her new work. Ever curious, Peterson routinely researched topics beyond clients’ projects, blending creative solutions to explain science visually; it gave these projects authenticity. “I could openly advocate for the environment by sharing what I learned in a positive way,” Kristin says. “I want to continue that advocacy through my artwork.”

“Art and science are kindred spirits. Many artists throughout time were naturalists, discovering new species of plants, fungi, and insects, painting and sketching them, and recording the changes in life cycles known as phenology. With our changing climate, we’ve been witnessing more changes in life cycles, too. We are becoming citizen phenologists whether we realize it or not.” 

In Peterson’s debut solo exhibit, she asks viewers to remember and re-connect with their eight-year-old selves –  innately curious, feeling a sense of belonging and connection in nature. Her works are accompanied by short stories by the artist and quotes that expand on each piece, providing a deeper meaning for viewers. 

“Our disconnect from nature is killing us. When we are out in nature, our bodies remember and respond by lowing blood pressure and stress levels, increasing our ability to focus and aid in our bodies’ healing process….If we take care of the natural world, the natural world will take care of us.”

Peterson’s graphite drawings are highly detailed, often representing small natural findings up to 300% of their actual size, taking on a miraculous effect. Many of her works take upwards of 80 hours. For her watercolors, Peterson works in layers of color until the pieces appear to glow. “The practice of making art becomes meditative…that slowing down we feel when we are out in nature,” says Kristin.

To encourage the community to get closer to nature, Peterson will be holding a drawing, and raffling off a hand full of native plants and two small original prints of her work after her artist talk which starts at 2:30 pm on Sunday, June 5, 2022. “It’s important to encourage people to create green spaces and know how it important it is to our health and well-being.” She will also provide a list of reading recommendations, the approachable books on nature and the environment that have inspired Peterson’s work.


IF YOU GO: EXHIBIT DETAILS

EXHIBIT DETAILS:
Children of Nature: Find Your Wonderland

Works on Paper by Kristin Maija Peterson
Held at the Owatonna Arts Center
435 Garden View Lane, Owatonna, MN 55060, (507) 451-0533

Opening Artist’s Reception: Sunday, June 5, 2022, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm
with an Artist’s Talk at 2:30 pm followed by a raffle drawing

Owatonna Arts Center Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00 pm

Refreshments will be served. Artwork is available for sale. 10% of all sales will be donated to Minnesota environmental non-profit organizations and 20% of all sales go in support of the Owatonna Arts Center.

Kristin Maija Peterson is a practicing professional visual artist currently based in Lakeville, Minnesota. Since 2016, she has frequently shown her work regionally, in and around the Twin Cities in both juried and group exhibits. Web: https://terrakindstudio.com  Studio: (651) 318-7100. Email: hello@terrakindstudio.com

Mississippi River Stories

Mississippi River Stories

Shortly after Christmas and before the New Year, I received an announcement congratulating me that I am selected to participate in the upcoming Mississippi River Stories Exhibition to show at the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) in NE Minneapolis.

It will be a unique exhibition blending audio-recorded stories with art. Artists will be presented with a Mississippi River story as told by members of the Twin Cities community collected by the St. Thomas students through a research partnership with the St. Thomas Sustainable Communities Partnership, The Natural Heritage Project, and Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO).

Elm Tree Story Booth
Elm Tree Booth © Jessica Turtle / Natural Heritage Project

The stories were collected and recorded in the Elm Tree Booth, a marvelous design created by The Natural Heritage Project. I can tell you first hand the craftsmanship that went into building the Elm Tree Booth is stunning.

Each of the stories varies in length, complexity, detail, and perspective. It is up to each of us artists to create original artwork illustrating the diverse interrelationships of people and the river. Exhibit requirements are that the work must be two-dimensional and sized at 18 x 24 inches unframed. Other than that, artists are free to visually translate the story they receive as best they can in the medium of choice.

In anticipation for my story to arrive, I have been working with watercolors and diversifying my color palette. I am not one to paint landscapes, rather landscapes within a landscape. The story could instantly bring images to mind or leave me utterly struggling with the challenge.

Along with samples of my current artwork, I needed to respond to two questions. Why would I like to participate in this exhibition; what is my connection to the Mississippi River? The answers I hope are as inspiring as the story I will be receiving.

Mississippi River Bluffs
Mississippi River Bluffs Near Weaver Bottoms / Paul Vincent

WHY WOULD YOU LIKE TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS EXHIBITION?

Stories are the stuff that unites us where we have a chance to share knowledge and experiences and create connection and empathy. I weave stories alongside my artwork to give it meaning and to make it more relatable to others. What I find intriguing about this exhibition is the challenge. Can I, with care and respect, translate the words of another’s story into a visual representation that is clear and true? Translations often miss the nuances of meaning in the spoken word. As an artist, I believe there is a language between stories and art that everyone can feel.

WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION TO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER?

Throughout my life, I viewed the Mississippi River as a character found in books, poems, songs, and film. I have learned of its power, its perilous polluted conditions, and how organizations and individuals strive to preserve and restore a healthy river ecosystem. For a long time, it’s been an acknowledgment, yet a detached relationship with the river.

Not until my stepson and his young wife introduced me firsthand to the Mississippi River did I fall in love. They took me on long hikes along the area known as Crosby Farms and Fort Snelling. We all expressed how we love to hear the water lap at the shoreline, watching the water flow between its banks. The experience brings a sense of peace and groundedness. It’s like being ”away-away” without having gone anywhere.

The meandering Mississippi River illustrated in a historic topographical map.

Someone recently told me about a “Mississippi Meander,” something of an art crawl between studios dotted along the Mississippi River. I tried to find a write-up about such an event online. I didn’t find a thing about an art crawl. What I discovered were these most beautiful full-color maps illustrating how the Mississippi River meanders. I had never seen a topographic like it.

The song may call the river “Old Man River,” but I see her as a woman – with all the complexities and power to shape a nation. She has done that well. It’s our turn to treat her right.

Like all events in this COVID era, the showing dates for the Mississippi River Stories Exhibition remain flexible. It’s expected to run in the fall of 2021 or if fate has it, in early spring 2022. Watch this space for updates!

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