A creative clan

Joe and Kara Hendershot’s father-daughter exhibition, “Moments Extended,” makes collaboration look easy.

Andrew Penkalski

 

What: âÄúMoments ExtendedâÄù

When: Now through July 10

Where: Stevens Square Center for the Arts (1905 3rd Ave. S.

Children can have some lofty career ambitions. By the time most kids hit kindergarten, there is a staunch self-assuredness that becoming an astronaut or quarterback is of the utmost feasibility.

Unlike most boys and girls who spend the better half of their first 20 years enduring blow after blow to their idealized occupations, St. Paul painter Kara Hendershot never had to cave. It probably didnâÄôt hurt her odds that, for the Hendershots, art seems to be a family thing.

Hendershot has been crafting mixed media collages with her father, photographer Joe Hendershot, for the past two years. Their new exhibition at Stevens Square Center for the Arts, âÄúMoments Extended,âÄù may lend itself to a new adage âÄî the family that creates together stays together.

âÄúA number of our family members are artists,âÄù Kara said. âÄúNot only was it that people did it themselves, but it was very encouraged as well.âÄù

While this artistic inclination runs strong in the Hendershot bloodlines, the greatest intrigue that rises from this father-daughter collaboration is the simultaneous contrasts and similarities that surface amid their melding of painting and photography. JoeâÄôs black-and-white images âÄî many of which were captured decades ago in Chicago, Detroit and Toronto âÄî act as a scene focal point from which Kara builds her painted surrealist digressions.

 âÄúI like something that I know I can build on,âÄù Kara said. âÄúIf thereâÄôs a scene going on, I know I can add to it and kind of create this world that either coincides with it [or] contrasts with it.âÄù

Whether intended or incidental, every final product carries an undercurrent of reverence for the dual parts. There is notable fluidity between the photography and the brush strokes. The two disciplines occupy somewhat different roles as a result of their juxtaposition.

JoeâÄôs dour urban settings inevitably carry greater notions of realism amid his daughterâÄôs scenic expansions. However, JoeâÄôs knack for capturing the textured shadows of the industrialized world still carries a wholly expressive resonance.

âÄúWhen I look at photos that IâÄôve had for many, many years, I still get something from it just by looking at it,âÄù Joe said. âÄúItâÄôs definitely an expressive thing. Even deciding on the shot and deciding how to crop it.âÄù

The resulting effect is akin to peeking into one of Robert FrankâÄôs dreams. In their solemn piece, âÄúIndecision,âÄù the eye is initially drawn to the stark photographic shadows of a grisly meat window on the first floor of a tenement. However, the narrow piece wanders upward toward KaraâÄôs richly hued expansion. Even amid their dire subject matter, there is true whimsy in each works imaginative sprawl.

âÄúI was tempted to ask him a little bit more about certain photos,âÄù Kara said. âÄúBut I kind of didnâÄôt want to know, because then I could draw from my own imagination and my own interpretation of the photo.âÄù

Even with a restrained level of insight from her father, the two seem to be cognizant of the otherâÄôs intentions âÄî a bit of a necessity for any creative collaboration. While Kara and Joeboth occupy very different roles for each piece, the separate parts achieve a kindred relationship. The works seem to be the result of a singular mind. And thatâÄôs harder than collaboration itself.