Michon Weeks: Airplane, Boombox, Car
Opening Reception: Friday, September 13, 6 – 8pm RSVP HERE
On view September 13 – November 2, 2019
Airplane, Boombox, Car
By Jane Becker Nelson, Director of Flaten Art Museum, St. Olaf College
Inspired by a desire to become better acquainted with her choirmates at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Northfield, Minnesota, Michon Weeks invited each choir member into a one-on-one conversation. She asked questions like, “What is important to you? How do you spend your time? What are your prized possessions?” Their answers often included reflections about personal objects of significance. In Weeks’ subsequent paintings and sculptures of those objects, there is a vibrant tension between recognition and abstraction. Hand-drawn grids enforce an imperfect structure that leads to peculiar forms and intriguing distortions. Some objects hover within comprehension. Others — stretched, distorted, flattened, splayed — can be interpreted in multiple ways. Others still elude recognition altogether.
Of this body of work, Weeks says, “I work to see as concretely as possible what my mind can think and imagine.” The inevitable distance between the knowable and unknowable expresses both the longings and limitations of human connection. At a time when members of communities are too easily siloed into homogenous groups, efforts like Michon’s are much-needed. Humans yearn to understand one another and to be deeply understood, but even in the most intimate relationships, there are worlds inside each one of us that can never be fully understood. In the gap that remains, clarity can give way to wonder, the everyday becomes deeply symbolic, and the ordinary becomes sacred.
From the Artist:
As a painter, I work to see as concretely as possible what my mind can think and imagine. Inspiration can come from anything and anywhere: things, thoughts, memories, sensations, etc. My collection of subjects for this group of paintings comes from direct conversations with my choir mates at St. Peter’s in Northfield, MN. I asked my fellow singers questions about themselves. What is important to you? How do you spend your time? What are your prized possessions? Often, their answers yield specific objects–a sewing machine, a stocking cap, an airplane, a ring, etc. I paint to see a materialized view of each object distilled through my paints, tools, hands, brain, senses, heart, and gut. Blocky-shaped objects in disagreeable colors, along with my mistakes, edits, and dabs of unpolished doubt are unconcealed in the paintings.
Special thanks to my choir mates at St. Peter’s Lutheran in Northfield for sharing their stories with me—Julia Daly, Kris Hayes, Diane Boyum, Faith Bergemann, Claire Hill, Sandy Bremer, Marilyn Finneseth, Bob Baker, Steve Hill, Mark Shaw, Pete Pedersen, Jim Anderson, Neale Thompson, David Weeks, Mary Kay Bougie, Richard Collman.
Michon Weeks is a fiscal year 2019 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
This activity is made possible through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council in cooperation with a private foundation.
About the ROOTED Exhibition Program
Rochester Art Center has initiated a regional art exhibition series in which artists who are awarded Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC) emerging artist and advancing artist grants may exhibit their work at RAC in the third floor galleries. Five artists were successful in receiving the first series of grants in this new venture and began exhibiting starting in October 2018: Katya Roberts, Alessandra Sulpy, Debra D’Souza, Jon Allen and Simon Huelsbeck.