Local art on campus depicts relationships

by Amber Schadewald

White silhouettes of ladies dance, vacuum and fall against the patterns of swirling lines and thread that lie behind them.

The work of local artist Lisa Loudon provides a glimpse into the more personal and less perfect side of relationships, thoughts and activities that are often hidden from public view.

“It’s the idea of the hidden bit, whether it’s good or bad,” Loudon said.

Three collections of Loudon’s work, “The Gallery of Unreasonable Fears,” “Seasons from a Blissful Domestic Life” and “When No One is Looking,” are currently being shown in the “A Stitch in Time” exhibit at the Larson Art Gallery on the St. Paul campus.

Loudon has been painting and drawing since college, but has only more recently begun working with mixed media.

“I can’t concentrate on just one material,” Loudon said. “I like to bring just about anything into (my art).”

Loudon uses light sensitive chemicals on various types of paper to create the multiple layers of patterns that appear behind the white figures. Then she adds stitching to create shapes not in the printed image.

The female figures in her work represent every woman, not just her.

In one of her pieces from “The Gallery of Unreasonable Fears,” an abstract figure of a woman falls from a ladder, yet “you can understand how she’s moving through space,” she said.

Her works from “Seasons of a Blissful Domestic Life” use a 1950s style to examine what she calls “coupledom” and the different roles the husband and wife play in the home.

She likes the look of the 1950s and its obsession with appearing perfect – the wife always in pearls and the husband wearing his suit and holding a briefcase.

The collection, she said, is a play on those “couples who seem too happy;” the way people put on certain faces in public, versus when they are at home.

“A Stitch in Time” also features the detailed quilt work of Illinois textile artist Bonnie Peterson.

The show is being put on by the Visual Arts Committee of the Minnesota Programs and Activities Council, a group of University students responsible for filling the Larson Art Gallery and the Coffman Union Art Gallery.

Anthropology sophomore Amelia Maciejewski, Visual Arts Committee co-chairwoman, said the group was excited to show Loudon and Peterson’s art because textile art is often not seen in a gallery setting.

“You don’t normally see quilts hanging in a gallery,” she said.

The Visual Arts Committee generally calls for submissions twice a year, receiving art from across the nation.

Tricia Schweitzer, student activities adviser for MPAC, said although they receive student submissions, they would like to see a lot more.

Jeremy Sengly, a graphic design junior, said many students are nervous their work isn’t good enough to be in a gallery show and therefore they don’t submit their work.

Any type of art can be submitted, including glasswork, sculpture, painting and ceramics – from students of any major.

“The University galleries are a great stepping stone into the real world of art,” she said.

Maciejewski said the group tries to put most of the student submissions they receive in the gallery.

The next deadline for submission is in March and Maciejewski encourages student artists of all kinds to send in their work.

“It is (the students’) University, and it’s their gallery,” she said.