For Vicki Kessler and Donna Kjonaas, the long voyage is almost over.
Their collaborative art exhibition “Land, Sky, Water” comes to North Dakota State’s Memorial Union Gallery after a year of traveling North Dakota from Bismarck to Ellendale, Minot to Mayville. Through the North Dakota Council on the Arts, the two artists present a show prompting viewers to examine their own surroundings -- their own land, sky and water.
“This category is big enough to encompass all of the markers of nature, no matter where you live,” Kjonaas said of the show.
Two retired, ordained ministers, Kessler and Kjonaas met in the seminary and had their beginnings in visual art with liturgical pieces. As “collaborative, contemporary fiber artists,” Kjonaas said, the pair utilizes the touchables all around them -- fabrics, textiles and other raw materials.
Over 50 pieces comprise the artists’ show, arranged from layering to collages to other techniques. The exhibition covers aspects of the state from farming to oil to solar energy to nature.
And the collaboration has not gone unnoticed.
“It’s been really gratifying to talk to some of the directors, be at openings and talk to people who come,” Kessler said. “People who come are very interested in the collaboration -- ‘Tell me for sure who did that one!’”
“People come back and see it again,” Kjonaas said. “I think that’s complimentary.”
Up until two years ago, Kessler and Kjonaas could not collaborate face-to-face. With Kessler in Iowa and Kjonaas in South Dakota, the pair kept in touch via phone, mail, journaling and workshops.
Now their time together in the same town has blossomed into an exhibition spanning the state of North Dakota. Ending in Fargo, pieces of the show will go up for sale. Others have already sold, traveling with the exhibition as it circled the state.
“It’s just amazing to see the interactions,” Kessler said. “There’s all these pieces of abilities to be entertained by it, and this gallery is unbelievable.”
“I just really hope that people take time to say, ‘How do I know this in my life, where land, sky, water touches me?’” Kjonaas added. “Ask people to claim their experience with an ordinary theme.”
“Land, Sky, Water”
June 4-July 2
NDSU: Memorial Union Gallery 701-231-7900
September 18th 2023
August 22nd 2023
April 20th 2023
November 17th 2022
September 14th 2022
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