MANY WATERS: A MINNESOTA BIENNIAL
July 24 – October 2, 2021
Presented in partnership with NewStudio Gallery in St. Paul, Many Waters will be on view in M’s windows along Robert and 4th Streets, its skyway Ecolab Entrance, and at NewStudio Gallery.
After a year on hold, the M’s water-themed exhibition has been rescheduled for this summer. Many Waters: A Minnesota Biennial is a look into some of the imaginative and dedicated ways that artists and culture bearers from across the state are engaging with water.
Featured creative practices are based in both observation and engagement; some are solitary, while others are collaborative. Many Waters includes art in a wide range of media that, collectively, engage all the senses. A number of artists use found materials drawn from daily walks or other creative rituals. Presley Martin’s sculptural installation, for example, is made up of hundreds of pieces of foam he often first mistakes for natural materials and collects from the Mississippi. Annie Hejny creates her luminous paintings—suggestive of gateways to watery worlds beyond human reach—with respectfully gathered Mississippi water and sediment.
Some works reflect a maker’s deep engagement with a specific place—Aaron Dysart’s sculptural fountains represent the water levels over the course of one year in the history of an observational well operated by the Department of Natural Resources in Savage, Minnesota. Others take a broad, poetic view. Zamara Cuyun’s kaleidoscopic painting Midwife reflects on the relationship between women and water as life givers and sustainers. Karen Goulet’s quilt honors the water journeys of her Ojibwe, Métis, and Sámi ancestors, as well as the longing the sky has to see its reflection in the water in the winter months.
A theme that runs through the exhibition is a concern for the environmental impact of human activity on bodies of water. A selection of projects from Anthropocene Collective—an interdisciplinary group of artists, researchers, and activists spanning the Mississippi River—explore the ongoing devastations of white settler colonialism, as well as indigenous revival along the river, which runs a mere block from the M space in Imni Za Ska, now known as St. Paul.
The work in Many Waters fosters conversation, awareness, a sense of care, as well as new ways of thinking about water and water stories through many different lenses, including ecological, social, political, historical, spiritual, and creative.
Many Waters was juried by a panel that includes Matthew Fluharty, a visual artist, writer, and Executive Director of Art of the Rural; Dakota Hoska, Assistant Curator of Native Arts at the Denver Art Museum; Laura Joseph, Curator of Exhibitions at the M; and Jovan C. Speller, a visual artist, curator, and Program Director at Metro Regional Arts Council. The original request for proposals can be found here.
Anthropocene Collective, David Andree, Alyssa Baguss, Moira Bateman, Barbara Bend, Casey Bennett, Vernal Bogren Swift, Kelsey Bosch, Clifford Morgan, Melissa Cooke Benson, Zamara Cuyun, Emily Donovan, Aaron Dysart, Gregory Euclide, Regina Flanagan, Billy Flynn, Linda Gammell, Tia-Simone Gardner, Ruthann Godollei, Karen Goulet, Ian Hanseworth, Annie Hejny, Joan Bemel Iron Moccasin, Ethan Jones, Curt Lund, Presley Martin, Charles Matson Lume, James Meyer, Ben Moren, Sarah Nassif, Lisa Nebenzahl, Kimber Olsen, Kristin Maija Peterson, Sonja Peterson, Niki Pico, Alison Price, Lindsay Rhyner, Jessica Shimek, Sandra Spieler, Holly Newton Swift, Keith Taylor, Moira Villiard, Megan Vossler, Josh Winkler