The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 7, 2013

Photo exhibit investigates environmental opposites

ST. PETER — A photography exhibit with a “fire and ice” theme is showing at Gustavus Adolphus College.

“The Explorers Club” — named after the New York organization founded in 1904 to promote scientific expeditions and research — brings together the work of Paula McCartney and Lex Thompson. Each photographer investigates environmental opposites, from ice and snow to tropical islands. By utilizing different means of investigation, both artists ask the viewer to reconsider the way in which they perceive the photographic image in relation to the subjects it portrays.

McCartney’s images illustrate her interpretation of the idea of winter. After the photographer moved from San Francisco to Minneapolis, she began a field guide of snow and ice in which winter is categorized by pattern, shape and line rather than merely by substance. This guide includes images of snowfalls and wildflowers, frozen waterfalls and stalagmites, snowdrifts and piles of gypsum sand as well as other explorations and reinterpretations of natural structures.

Thompson’s series of color prints, “Mahalo,” is titled after the Hawaiian word for “gratitude” which — in the photographer’s opinion — has been much overused by tourists. His series explores the collisions that occur within the modest perimeter of five socially, ethnically, religiously, and environmentally diverse islands.

The exhibit features images Thompson made from television and film depictions of Hawaii, photographs of collected artifacts and two line drawings. The images create a portrait of Hawaii that both reinforces and subverts the prevalent image of the islands perpetuated by the Elvis Presley movie “Blue Hawaii” and the TV series “Magnum P.I.” and “Fantasy Island.”

Showing in the Schaefer Fine Arts Center — one of two gallery spaces on campus — the photography exhibit was funded with support from the Johnson Endowment for the Arts and the Gustavus Artist Series.

Also showing at GAC are three concurrent exhibits in the Hillstrom Museum of Art in the lower level of C. Charles Jackson campus center. “Associated American Artists: Art by Subscription,” “Recent Acquisitions and Debuts” and paintings by Lucinda Mason on displayed through Sunday.

Edie Schmierbach

If You Go What "The Explorers Club" Exhibit On display through Dec. 8 in Schaefer Gallery, located in Gustavus' Schaefer Fine Arts Building Notes No admission fee. Visitor parking available in lots near Linnaeus Arboretum adjacent to Bjorling Recital Hall. Parking permits not necessary for other GAC lots on weekends.

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