Northern Light illustrates the affection both artists and viewers of art hold for our northern landscape. From the woods and lakes of the Boundary Waters, to the rolling hills and waterways flowing into the Mississippi from the Driftless Region, the big skies and prairies along the North and South Dakota border, and the patterned farmlands across the center of the country, artists find an endless source of inspiration here.

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The Plein Air SmackDown returns for its 9th year. On Saturday, August 10th, 25 gallery and guest artists will be painting “en plein air” at Coldwater Spring, a section of the National Park located south of Minnehaha Falls. During the event visitors will have access to the park including the restored prairie and wetland, the trails, and the ruins of the springhouse.

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My Mighty Journey is the story of St. Anthony Falls, the only major waterfall on the Mississippi River, and the changes it witnessed over twelve thousand years. Written by John Coy and illustrated by Gaylord Schanilec, the narrative is written from the perspective of the falls. It recounts the people who lived nearby, the ways they lived, and how the area around the waterfall changed drastically over the past two centuries. Selected illustrations from My Mighty Journey will be on exhibit as well selections from Schanilec’s two most recent artist’s books: A Little Book of Birds and A Little Book of Flowers.

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In this new series of work, Joyce Lyon has created a visual record of Crosby Farm Regional Park, a stretch of public land along the Mississippi River south of Shepherd Road in St. Paul. The park’s name is derived from Thomas Crosby who first homesteaded the land in 1858. Today, Crosby Farm Regional Park is the largest natural park in Saint Paul’s system of parks. Composed mostly floodplain forest, Lyon’s paintings recount her walks through the park in October of 2018, when many of the trails were flooded.

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For over 44 years, Dan and Lee Ross have worked side-by-side creating art from initial designs to finished prints and sculptures. Their home and studio is located in Hovland, Minnesota, a small town on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Living in northern Minnesota and along the lake has had a dramatic impact on their work. Recent adventures to the Atlantic Provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador have also had an influence.

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Justin Terlecki’s colorful depictions of everyday life take the viewer on an intimate tour of the ordinary. Pulling from quiet observation, public spectacle and human relationships, Terlecki’s scenes range from local celebrations and family dynamics to snapshots of the city. As the artist explains, “Travel and my immediate surrounding inspire me to explore the atmosphere and mood of specific places in time. I enjoy the process of building immersive compositions with details of everyday life using the perspective of multiple vantage points and the combination of both the real and the imagined.”  

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Barbara McIlrath’s current body of work is centered on two locations: the village of Old Frontenac which sits along the Mississippi and the rural Hicks Valley which neighbors McIlrath’s studio and home in Pepin. For McIlrath, the artistic process begins when she first becomes aware of a unique feature in the landscape. She then spends time lingering and wrestling with her observations. Ultimately, McIlrath comes full circle by creating the painting and revealing something new.

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The paintings in this exhibition illustrate places and objects that populate Fred Anderson’s everyday life, from still lifes to street corners. Taken as a group, this exhibition acts as a painter’s journal, a record of memorable encounters with light, composition, and landscape. Anderson approaches his subjects, whether interiors, exteriors, or still lifes, in the same manner – painting in place. He begins and finishes his paintings on site, sometimes returning to the same place at the same time over several days.

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For Joshua Cunningham, this new body of work encapsulates a season spent returning with fresh eyes to familiar scenes in search of the unfamiliar. Cunningham is seeking out the landscapes that have been described in stories shared by strangers, neighbors, and friends. He sees this exhibition as a season of circling back. Work for this show began after the artist’s father’s death in 2017. His father had been a fervent supporter of his work, and Cunningham leaned into painting as a way of keeping close to his father’s memory.

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