When Jeff Millikan focuses on nature the results are surreal, eloquent, and more than a bit subversive. His solo exhibition Collecting Memory inaugurated the Bell Museum's gallery in its brand new building in Falcon Heights.
For the past six months, as the Bell Museum has moved to its new home in St Paul, Jeff Millikan has been investigating the galleries and collection rooms, exploring the museum’s vast reservoir of objects, artifacts and scientific specimens. As the museum has worked to preserve, move and re-interpret its dioramas and other displays, Millikan has discovered and captured unexpected views and connections. A polar bear and snow geese peer out from their translucent wrappings. Small dioramas are freed from their confining windows and float as if in space. As an artist-in-residence, Millikan has also explored the museum’s scientific collections. Expect to see preserved snakes, fish, insects and birds in contexts that will make us question our relationship to nature.
As a participant in the Bell’s Resident Artist Research Program, Millikan has worked with both the public and research collections of the Bell. He has taught photography at the University of Minnesota for the last 35 years and is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Art Department.
Here's a small collection of views of Jeff's images and installations from the show, which was up from July 14 to September 2.
Last month the McKnight Foundation named Wing Young Huie as its Distinguished Artist Award recipient for 2018. The honor is bestowed annually upon one artist. Here's how the foundation describes the award on their website:
[It] recognizes artists who have chosen to make their lives and careers in Minnesota, thereby making our state a more culturally rich place. Although they have the talent and the opportunity to pursue their work elsewhere, these artists have chosen to stay—and by staying, they have made a difference. They have founded and strengthened arts organizations, inspired younger artists, and attracted audiences and patrons. Best of all, they have made wonderful, thought-provoking art.
Minnesota is a tremendously vibrant and fertile ecosystem for artists. Wing, a Duluth native and long-time Twin Citizen, is the twenty-first Distinguished Artist Awardee and the program's first photographic artist.
There's an old joke in which a visitor to a small town encounters a fellow sitting in front of a store on Main Street and asks "Have you lived here your whole life?" to which the gentleman responds, "Not yet." Wing is only 63; we hope to benefit from his presence hereabouts for another couple of decades.
Alicia Eler wrote a story about Wing and the award that appeared in the Star Tribune on Monday, August 20.
It's Labor Day weekend, which signals the last days of summer and the Great Minnesota Get-Together. Congratulations are due to the prize-winning photographers in the 2018 Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Competition:
First Place: Andrew Chow, Hugo
Second Place: Peter E. Russell, St. Paul
Third Place: Buck Holzemer, Minneapolis
Merit Award: Roger Brooks, St. Paul
Honorable Mentions: John M. Stottlemyer, Arden Hills; Siarrah K. Tribbett, Grand Rapids; Sarah Leschinsky, Maple Grove; Jon K. Wilbrecht, Minneapolis; Shawn Uglum, Eden Prairie.
The following special commendation awards were made to photographers:
Allen and Carrie Clark Award for Excellence in Content and Form: Daniel E. MacKenzie
Anoka-Ramsey Community College Award: Cynthia Fleury
Jennifer and William Oliver Award: Alec C. Johnson
North Hennepin Community College Award of Excellence in Memory of Joseph Gazzuolo: Michael Robert Borg
The Glen Lake Optimist Club Award: Gary Jacobson
The Gordon Parks Gallery Photography Award: Steve H. Ozone
Tweed Museum of Art Award: Benjamin H. Muedeking
Last but not least, two thumbs up to R. J. Kern, who received both the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts Great State of Minnesota Award and the Minnesota State Fair Foundation First Glance Award for his photograph “Kenzie and Hootie, Anoka County Fair, Minnesota, 2016”