Growing pains

The Vine Arts Center’s “You are not a Dinosaur” exhibition aims to explore the imaginative concessions of growing up.

Andrew Penkalski

What: You are not a Dinosaur

When: Now through March 17

Where: Vine Arts Center (2637 27 Ave. S.)

Growing up is a drag. This doesnâÄôt wholly pertain to the inevitable reality of matured obligations. People donâÄôt long for their youth solely because they are sick of working nine to five, paying bills or filing taxes. It has to do with personal perception.

There is a whimsy through the world that slowly gets dulled at every punctuated moment of disillusionment. Cardboard boxes slowly fail to double as racecars, and living roomsâÄô sofas are no longer floating rafts on a carpet of lava. MinneapolisâÄô Vine Arts CenterâÄôs current exhibition âÄúYou Are Not a DinosaurâÄù finds a collective of local photographers exploring this notion of adulthoodâÄôs disparaging attachment to realism.

Based on the short story âÄúDinosaurâÄù by Bruce Holland Rodgers, from which the exhibition derives its name, the collection varies stylistically as well as thematically. Regardless, all the works still allow the reality of maturation to resonate.

âÄúIt gave them a really nice point of departure where they could keep their individuality but really explore something that dealt with how the life cycle starts with childhood but kind of goes back to that,âÄù Larry Nelson, president of the Board for the Vine Arts Center, said.

Paula WarnâÄôs neo-Rockwellian black and white photographs, largely absent of subjects, blends hints of modern aesthetics with the dated interiors of her parents home.

âÄúThere is a frustration with contemporary trends, the digital and clinical,âÄù contributing photographer and project organizer Tim White said.

White, who recently began work as a photographer two years ago after leaving painting, offers a collection of imagery that progresses in intimacy. His work moves from a surveillant photograph of a child wandering from his parent on a sidewalk to the shots of his female subjects with superimposed scribble.

âÄúI like to manipulate it, muddy it, take out some of the antiseptic qualities of digital and bring back something that I hope is a little more narrative,âÄù he said.

The month-long show has also been incorporating supplemental events as a means of fleshing out this discourse of age. This weekend, MinneapolisâÄô Vaudevillian absurdists Dreamland Faces will fill the space with a supplemental soundtrack.

âÄúThey are kind of a beautiful throwback,âÄù White said, âÄúall beautiful saw and accordion.âÄù

Osama EsidâÄôs woodland photographs also stand in confrontation to contemporary photographic technique. His Van Dyke printing methods show manual strokes on the outskirts of the large sheets. The scenes, which depict the artist and his daughters in some otherworldly woodland, are viewed as some universal family heirloom.

âÄúThe work theyâÄôre doing is antiquated, but itâÄôs still relevant in an artistic landscape,âÄù White said.

It is this pastiche of photographic methodology, from the surreal work of Esid to the empirical realism of Steve OzoneâÄôs aging portrait series, that allows these themes of creatively stifling maturity to resonate. There is a sense of that lost magic in the vibrant and diverse approaches undertaken by the collective. Clearly, imagination isnâÄôt entirely dead amidst the comprises of maturity.