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SMC Alum featured in art gallery

Rebecca O'Neil | Monday, September 9, 2013

Moreau Art Galleries is featuring Saint Mary’s alum Kristin Stransky alongside Marilyn Minter, an artist recently featured in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Though the two exhibits, which opened Friday, Aug. 30 are wildly different in medium, their themes overlap.

Tiffany Bidler, assistant professor of art and director of the galleries, said her aim is to provide students with professional and educational pieces that are challenging and innovative in both content and media.

“My first consideration is whether or not I feel the work will inspire students,” Bidler said.

Secondly, she seeks works that engage the various missions of the college.

“We educate women at Saint Mary’s College and so I try to bring in the work of women artists whose work touches on issues of gender,” she said.

The Galleries’ director believes the Stransky and Minter’s exhibits, located in the Sister Rosaire and the Hammes Gallery, respectively accomplish that mission.
“The Marilyn Minter exhibition that I curated considers makeup’s materiality and its role in gendered performances that elicit desire and construct femininity,” Bidler said. “My favorite work by Stransky is “Landing Strip.” It’s a brilliant piece about sexuality and boundaries.”

Technology plays an integral role in both the conception and process of Stransky’s pieces, Stransky said.

“Ultimately, I saw art as a vehicle to explore both ideas and creation, both intellectual and hands on,” she said.

The Little Theater and Sister Rosaire galleries also previously featured Kristen Stransky’s pieces.

The Saint Mary’s alumna is currently pursuing a master of fine arts in Emergent Digital Practices at the University of Denver.

“Coding and other technical formats often require adherence to strict processes and syntax to create a working unit, and I like to think that I bend those rules through meaning and the application of technology to craft and sculptural mediums,” Stransky said.

Bidler, an art historian, said she likes to spend time comparing works of art, especially in her classes.

“Marilyn Minter is an internationally renowned contemporary artist. I first saw Green, Pink, Caviar while it was on view at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The video is very sensuous, colorful, and hypnotic – it draws you in,” Bidler said of Minter’s piece.

Bidler said she loves the hypnotic quality of the Minter video, which sucks the viewer into a world of color and pleasure.

“I love that the context Minter provides about the photograph of her mother is at odds with some of the assumptions we might make about her mother based on a cursory glance at the photograph. I enjoy having my assumptions challenged by other artists,” she said.

Bidler said the exhibition is a comparison of early work by Marilyn Minter and a late work by Marilyn Minter, at a basic level.

“It seeks to draw out themes that persist over time in her work,” she said.

As for the connection between Stransky and Minter, Bidler encourages students to make their own conclusions.

“I have some ideas about the thematic ties between the Kristin Stransky and Marilyn Minter exhibitions, but I’d love for viewers to come in and make these connections for themselves,” Bidler said.

Moreau Center for the Arts will feature the free exhibits until Sept. 20.