Tuesday, March 17, 2009

John Ready “Industrial Arts: Fobs, chains and chatelaines for the jet set and the chevron-let set”

On a chilly night in February, my mother, her younger sister (my dear auntie) and I piled into Mom’s surprisingly roomy Toyota Echo and traveled 60 miles North of Nodine, Minnesota to Rochester. We were headed to the opening of John Ready’s art exhibit at the museum there.

Ready is Associate Professor of Art and Director of the University Gallery at the UW-LaCrosse where my aunt works. His art was part of the Rochester Art Center’s SE Minnesota Artist Exhibition series.

When we arrived, it took us forever to find the entrance to the museum. The sprawling Rochester Art and Civic Center seemed to go on forever. Finally we found our way in and climbed the stairs to the third floor. There were only three art pieces there, but as we began our perusal, we bumped into an old group of friends and did some quick catching up. Small world.

We descended to the second level where we found John’s stuff. John attended graduate school in New York and was in part inspired by beads bought at an Afghani market near his home. Nature, history, value and accumulation seem to be themes of his works, which appear to look like large key chains or really large chandeliers. My aunt said she could picture them hanging from the rafters of barns. They are made of not only found objects, but castings of objects such as Avon bottles cast in cement.

I talked with the artist briefly and found out that he had actually lived in the house next to the creamery in Nodine, where I group up! His father used to work there (the building is now abandoned and both Ready and I expressed a desire to own the place and bring it back to life in some way.) John has exhibited his artwork in solo and group shows across the country. He lives in LaCrescent.

We finally found our way down to the ground floor where again I ran into a friend-an artist who had been a few years ahead of me in school. There was many other exhibits here, such as a video of a group of people moving a sand dune 4 inches, maps of Rochester drawn by students, and a large display of incinerator vs. landfill as ways to dispose of waste.

When we made it to the bar, the industrial music had started (why do all these art exhibits seem to think DJs playing noise are the best accompaniment?) We had a drink and ate some extremely garlicky salsa and some yummy cheese and artichoke dip. A table was set up for people to try their hands at sketching a map of the area (much like the students had done). My mom had a great time drawing a creature asking “Where is I-90?” and under “Legend” she wrote: Once upon a time there was a great and powerful wizard… She’s so funny.

Ready’s exhibit, “Industrial Arts: Fobs, chains and chatelaines for the jet set and the chevron-let set” runs through April 19, 2009.

No comments: