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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

Art exhibit ‘Periphery of Power’ celebrates existing in the margins

Gamut Gallery’s 2023 open-call exhibition features art that pays homage to those who are often excluded from traditional narratives.
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Image by Photo by Sarah Horner
The gallery takes on themes of analyzing those on the margins.

Gamut Gallery’s new exhibition, “The Periphery of Power,” features artwork celebrating diversity as well as challenges conventional notions of beauty, power and art itself.

Though the gallery has seven exhibitions per year, this will be the only one in 2023 with unsolicited artwork. After receiving over 1,000 art pieces in their call for submissions, Guest Curator Esther Callahan selected 45 exceptional works, which went on display on July 15. 

“The open call is awesome. This was our biggest open call to date,” Gamut Gallery Director Cassie Garner said.

There were no concrete parameters for submitting artists to follow. Instead, Callahan allowed the theme to naturally reveal itself as she searched for common ground between submissions.

From the work they received came “The Periphery of Power,” a theme that pays homage to people who exist in the margins and are often excluded from traditional narratives. 

“Whether it’s their gender, their sexuality, their education, their ethnicity, their size, their abilities … all of these things are part of this conversation,” Callahan said.

Each individual piece is intentionally arranged in the gallery space to create a cohesive narrative from one artwork to the next. On one wall, black-and-white work takes center stage. Turn to the other wall and viewers will be met with an explosion of vibrant colors and patterns. These differences convey the wide range of emotions making up the human experience.

“We also have to show you the joy and the power of life”, Callahan said. “The color is really important to us being able to just have a little bit of movement and softness in the way that we embrace ourselves and each other.”

As suggested by the exhibition’s variety of work, featured artists come from all walks of life. There is artwork from individuals in their 70s, those who are just starting out their career and everyone in between.

Kathryn Blommel, a studio art major at the University of Minnesota, has shown her work before, but never at Gamut Gallery. Her featured piece depicts a partial figure reaching out, representing the search for a sense of belonging. 

“It’s great to showcase my work outside of the University setting,” Blommel said. “I also think it’s just a great opportunity for students like me to get real-world experience with showcasing their work. It’s nice to get in touch with curators and local artists to build connections and a sense of community.”

An open-call exhibition also means a greater quantity of work. “The Periphery of Power” makes good use of the space — no matter where you’re standing in the gallery, you’ll have dozens of pieces to admire and interpret. 

“In a lot of other exhibits, you’re not going to have this many pieces. You’re gonna have a lot more space between them. This is a little bit more like a salon-style thing where you’re having the joy of showcasing a number of pieces at once,” Callahan said.

Gamut Gallery’s “The Periphery of Power” is on display until Aug. 18. For more information and gallery hours, visit their website.

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