David Hamlow: Mirror Stage

May 25 through July 30, 2017

Minnesota Museum of American Art (The M) kicks off the summer arts season with a thought-provoking, occasionally whimsical exhibition of work by Good Thunder, Minnesota-based artist David Hamlow.

Hamlow’s Mirror Stage is a massive installation that includes watercolors, drawings, found-object sculptures, and geodesic structures made of upcycled paper and plastics, some of which have been donated by residents of Lowertown St. Paul’s Pioneer Endicott building. This is an ongoing body of work, which scrutinizes our collective impact on the environment by illustrating in elegant form the vast amounts of waste we produce each day.

The title of the exhibition refers to what Hamlow sees as a key sticking point in dealing with the connection between consumption and climate change. His work aims to make those connections both personal and visible. Hamlow says, “We acknowledge the problem, but we have difficulty in changing it because we fail to identify ourselves within the cause.”

The exhibition offers a rich visitor experience with work on varying scales: two large geodesic structures, one of which is nearly seven feet tall; A Day of Water, a series of watercolor milk jugs making visible daily household water use; a massive installation of upcycled “bricks,” which will meander through the gallery space, growing along with various public art-making projects led by the artist at the museum. A wall installation, Breath of the Compassionate, will make use of both found-object sculptures and negative space to create patterning and designs informed by Islamic architecture.

In conjunction with the Twin Cities’ annual all-night arts festival, Northern Spark 2017 (June 10 – 11), the M will offer interac­tive, public art-making, led by Hamlow, around this site-specific project.

Exhibition-related programs:

(Unless otherwise stated, all programs are free and held at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, 141 E. 4th, St., St. Paul, MN 55101.)

Opening Reception
Thursday, May 25, 7 – 9 p.m.
Both the artist and curator Christopher Atkins will be on hand to make remarks and celebrate the opening of the exhibit in this public reception. Admission is free and open to all (a cash bar will be available).

Northern Spark at the M
Saturday, June 10, 8:59 p.m. – 5:26 a.m.
Visitors will be invited to build some of Hamlow’s structures, led by the artist himself, in public art-making projects throughout the night at the museum.

Artist Talk: Jetsonorama
Friday, June 23, 6 – 8 p.m.
Chip Thomas (a.k.a. Jetsonorama) is a photographer, public artist, activist and physician who coordinates the Painted Desert Project, a community building exchange which manifests as a constellation of murals across the Navajo Nation, painted by artists across the Rez and from around the world. In an event copresented by Springboard for the Arts and the M, with support from the McKnight Foundation, Jetsonarama will talk about his work and public practice.

All Are Welcome Here, the M, and PRIDE
Sunday, June 25, 12  – 4 p.m.
Lakes and Legends Brewing Company
1368 LaSalle Avenue | Minneapolis, MN
In partnership with the crew of All Are Welcome Here (AAWH), the M will bring art-making with an upcycle twist to PRIDE as part of the AAWH family lounge at Lakes and Legend’s Brewery. Design and make your own yard sign with upcycled materials that reflects PRIDE’s mission to honor and bring together the greater GLBTQIA community. Additional activities and partners forthcoming.

The M After Hours
Thursday, July 6, 6 – 9 p.m.
Artist David Hamlow will help visitors to create sculptural pieces like his own, in art-making activities using recycled consumer packaging. The mother-daughter team behind the sustainable marketing organization Relan will also be on hand to talk about their work. The evening will feature live musical performances and a cash bar.

Tickets available here.

Materials Lab: Creative Reuse
Who needs oil paint when you have oil-based take-out containers? Artist David Hamlow invites you to create something new with something old with this art-making activity in the gallery’s Material Lab that encourages reusing materials that typically are tossed out after a single use. Take recycling into your own hands!

Response Wall: Love Letters to Earth
What’s your wish for Mother Earth? For her waters, grasses, critters, and future? Write the earth a letter, and post it for others to see and consider.

David Hamlow: Mirror Stage is curated by Christopher Atkins, Curator of Exhibitions and Public Programs at the M. The exhibit and all related programs are free and open to the public.

David Hamlow holds an MFA in painting and drawing from the University of Minnesota (2005). He has received Individual Artist Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board in 2003, 2009 and 2016, and a Prairie Lakes Regional Art Council/McKnight Fellowship Award in 2013. Hamlow has shown his work regionally, nationally and internationally, including Above Is Below at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Cashing Out at the Kala Institute, Berkeley CA, Preservationist, in the Dodd Galleries, U of GA, Athens, and 9 x 12 at Ferencvarosi-Pince Gallery, Budapest, Hungary. Recent solo installations include When You Put It That Way, Centennial Galleries, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Speculative Equivalent, Hutchinson Center for Visual Art, and A Book of Hours, in the Eaton-Buchan Gallery, Coe College, Cedar Rapids Iowa. Hamlow is the professor of Visual Culture at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and lives and maintains a studio in Good Thunder, Minnesota.

David Hamlow. Photo: Rik Sferra