The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 11, 2013

Happening at Hillstrom: Ann Martin gallery talk, art-inspired dance

ST PETER — The Hillstrom Museum of Art is hosting Irish painter Ann Martin for a gallery talk at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.

Martin attended Gustavus Adolphus College in the 1960s before freelancing as a courtroom sketch artist for some of the biggest trials in the country. Martin’s paintings are on display at Gustavus’ Hillstrom Museum of Art in an exhibit titled “How Things Are.” Her work is being shown concurrently with an exhibit of works by the so-called Ashcan School artists and The Eight, artists to whom Martin draws a direct link.

The Gustavus dance department is also hosting a pair of interpretive dance performances, “How Things Move,” on Thursday and Saturday that are based on Martin’s work.

Gustavus dance instructor Melissa Rolnick tasked 10 students with creating a series of duets in response to the works on display.

Though Rolnick remarked that all of the students chose to respond to Martin’s paintings, the dances will take place throughout the museum with some likely occurring simultaneously.

“I want people to have to feel their way through it,” she said, “so they’re not sure where to look.”

This year marks the third in which Gustavus’ dance department has held such art-inspired performances at Hillstrom. Rolnick said this year’s edition has been richly inspired by Martin’s vibrant, bustling paintings.

“Her paintings are so alive,” Rolnick said. “It’s really good seed material for students.”

Martin’s work, as well as that created by the so-called Ashcan School artists and The Eight — two groups of early 20th-century artists who based their works on scenes of real people and real lives rather than classical and romantic subjects — remain on display through April 21.

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