The Gustavian Weekly

Hillstrom features potential largest exhibit yet

By Mackenzie McCann Staff Writer | September 13, 2013 | variety

The Hillstrom Museum of Art opened up on Monday Sept. 9, 2013 for another year of showcasing various artists with varying types of work. The three current exhibitions, Recent Acquisitions and Debuts of the Hillstrom Museum of Art, String Theory and the Superconducting Super Collider Series: Paintings by Lucinda Mason, and Associated American Artists; Art by Subscription, will run through November 10, 2013. The opening reception will be held during the Nobel Conference on Tuesday, October 1, 2013, from 6-8p.m.

Recent Acquisitions and Debuts of the Hillstrom Museum of Art is a collection that includes paintings, drawings, prints, and photography with landscapes and seascapes, figures and scenes. It is comprised of fifteen works that have not yet been shown or have been recently acquired by the Hillstrom Museum of Art. Donors of these pieces include Gustavus Adolphus College art faculty members Pricilla Briggs and Betsy R. Byers, as well as Peter Poor—son of prominent American artist Henry Varum Poor, and several alumni.

Briggs donated a photograph taken in China back in 2010. She was working on a project with malls in China, dealing with the economic boom of the time. Her intent was to show ideas of what success means with consumer goods and status symbols. Her photograph is a documentary- style image contrasting a young rich child who is dressed up  and hair done with an older shabby man walking by.

Betsy Byers is showcasing a 36”x 36” oil on canvas painting entitled Beckon 2. This painting tries to capture the sensory experiences Byers had when she received a grant from Gustavus and traveled to the North Shore on Lake Superior. It is, in essence, a walk up to the lake in the evening. She found inspiration from translating how we experience the natural world.

“[The shapes] slip and slide into one another, there is a sense of unity towards the horizon,” Byers said.

The Associated American Artists; Art by Subscription exhibit features seventy five prints from the Springfield Museum of Art in Springfield, Ohio; as well as eight prints from the Hillstrom collection. These prints date from the depression era of the 1930s and 1940s and were sold in many department stores as a way to bring affordable art to middle-class Americans. Many of the artists who made the prints are already represented in the Hillstrom collection. This exhibit is “about our own collection without actually being drawn from our own collection,” Museum Director Don Myers said.

String Theory and the Superconducting Super Collider Series: Paintings by Lucinda Mason feature large scale oil paintings that use abstract patterns and bright contrasting colors. Myers described Mason’s work as “very visually exciting.” Mason sought to explore both the micro and the macro elements of this world and the paintings in her series suggest the cosmos and its motion and energy. Her work is also related to the Nobel Conference this fall.

There are 103 pieces of artwork in this series of exhibits. “Maybe a record on view at one time?” Myers said, chuckling. He hopes that this exhibit, along with others in the Hillstrom, has the chance to enrich people’s lives. “Art has that ability,” said Meyers, “I want people to have that experience and look and say that is so cool!”

Both Byers and Briggs hope exhibits at the Hillstrom challenge visitors to look and see the world in a different way. They want not only students, but everyone to see and understand the value art has in life. “We need creative solutions to make the world a better place. [In order to do this] we need to think creatively,” Briggs said.