Tweed Museum of Art

University of Minnesota Duluth

Duluth, MN



Gerald Guthrie and Brian Paulsen: Mind and Matter

February 27 - April 5, 2001


The Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota Duluth, is pleased to announce the opening of an exhibition featuring twenty works each by two artists from the Midwest, who present individualized versions of "metaphysical realism."

Brian Paulsen is from Grand Forks, North Dakota, where he has taught at the University of North Dakota since 1973. Producing small-scale, tightly rendered watercolors and engravings, Paulsen cites a wide range of influences and inspirations for his current work, including cartoons, toys, mystery novels, historical and contemporary fine art and illustration, and his background as a sign painter. He says: "Each painting idea starts out as if I could develop a new replacement for the wheel and failing to accomplish this, I reuse old ideas. Old ideas are those that repeat an awareness of historical and contemporary art. Old ideas are also finding a variation on previous images, motifs, patterns, colors, space, and compositions that seem comforting."

Paintings by Brian Paulsen from left to right: Wrestling with Space, March, 1994, watercolor, 13 1/4 x 9 inches; Untitled Flyover Too, May, 1993, watercolor, 13 1/4 x 9 inches

Gerald Guthrie lives in Urbana, Illinois, where he teaches at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His work consists of highly detailed drawings, prints and kinetic constructions of interiors inhabited by solitary figures, seemingly engaged in mysterious activities. Guthrie's "peephole boxes" are constructed and painted interiors, completely encased within white cubes, through which the viewer must look through a small hole to view these mysterious scenes. In addition, his recent work includes digital ink-jet computer prints of similar compositions.

Guthrie says of his art: "My principal artistic endeavors have stemmed from the Dada and Surrealism movements of the 1920's and 1930's. The perception that this age of science and industry would unite to produce a utopian society has been an important influence on my work. During this period the average person was capable of being both inventor and scientist. Now out of reach for the common man, science and industry have become the new western religion and to be effective on this level must remain mysterious and magical.

Paintings by Gerald Guthrie from left to right: A Difference of Opinion, 1996, ink jet print, 18 x 24 inches; A Turn of Events, detail, 1993, mixed media; More Than Meets the Eye, 1985, mixed media, 15 x 15 x 15 inches

"I ask the viewer to ponder such issues as the presence of absurdity in intellect and belief. it is my intention to elicit contemplation about the many important yet enigmatic issues associated with everyday life, By creating images with unusual metaphoric twists playing against familiar, more comfortable backgrounds, the sensation of the dream-state is closely recalled. I believe this feeling is present in all people and allows a common pathway for communication. Though there is also an element of humor in the work, it is the humor of nervous laughter, intriguing yet slightly discomforting."

Both artists will present slide lectures about their work, followed by "Meet the Artist" receptions. Guthrie will speak on February 27th at 6:00pm, and Paulsen at 6:00pm on April 5th. These programs are free and open to the public.

Read more about the Tweed Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 5/23/11

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