Tia Keobounpheng Receives the M’s 2022 State Fair Award
One afternoon before the State Fair opened, two M staff and two M Collections Committee members made their way to the Fine Arts Building to view the annual juried Fine Arts Exhibition and choose a piece to receive the Minnesota Museum of American Art Award. This award, now in its 12th year, identifies a worthy Minnesota artist to add to the M’s permanent collection, which you can learn more about here. The M is committed to building a collection that embraces and celebrates new voices.
The Fine Arts building is large and open, bright with daylight and chock-full of paintings, sculptures, drawings, and textiles. As the group from the M dispersed for an initial look around the exhibition, the building hummed with groups of representatives from the various other organizations that award artworks with their own accolades, huddling in deliberation or marching from one piece to another, wondering aloud which one to choose.
The Fine Arts Building at the Minnesota State Fair
A section of the Fine Arts Exhibition
“Geometry symbolizes the emergence of new energy—a paradigm shift in my world view.”
After reconvening and reviewing which artworks stood out to the group, walking to look at the handful that everyone agreed could be worthy choices, the four representatives from the M ended up in front of Tia Keobounpheng’s Threads no. 4.
This piece is bright and interesting; the closer you get, the more engaging it becomes. With seemingly infinite strands of colored thread creating layered complex patterns, Threads no. 4 is geometric and almost hypnotizing.
Tia Keobuonpheng’s work is meant to go deep. In her artist statement, she says, “My work emerges from an evolving process of self-reckoning. I place myself and my ancestry in the context of history—considering epigenetics, colonization, and assimilation to Whiteness. I break apart the methods of traditional women’s work in order to see fiber/craft as Abstract Art. Geometry symbolizes the emergence of new energy—a paradigm shift in my world view.”
Threads no. 4 is one in a series of artworks that are all built on the same base layer of geometry: 35 concentric circles that intertwine with each other. The series, which is ongoing, is meant to show the vibrancy and value of patterns existing with and against one another. What does it look like to hold differences together?
Tia says, “The variation between each of the works reflects the endless diversity that can be pulled from the very same foundation. Complexity and diversity.” Learn more about Tia and her artwork atwww.tiakeobounpheng.com/
Tia Keobounpheng’s Threads series. Left to right, Threads no. 4, Threads no. 5, Threads no. 6, Threads no. 7.
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