Art Hounds: Works about love, the magic of the woods and life journeys

A painting scene with flowers
Romanian Flower Market in Cluj, 1998 by Anita White.
Courtesy image

Mina Leierwood is a Minneapolis art teacher who creates art and puppets of recycled materials. Recently, she saw a retrospective of Anita White’s work entitled “Journeys” at Vine Arts Center in Minneapolis, and was fascinated by White’s documentary art style and the stories told.

White has a daily practice of capturing the people and images she sees with marker and watercolor. The exhibit includes White’s world travels, her spiritual journey and her navigation of the medical system.

The artist learned as an adult that her grandmother was Jewish, a fact hidden in order to avoid Nazi persecution in Europe. One series of drawings explores her Jewish identity and family history, incorporating old family photos and her travels to her ancestral home in Romania, as well as sparks of the divine.

Leierwood was also struck by White’s drawings of her medical journeys as she documented her husband’s illness and death. “Her way of dealing with a crisis was to draw your way through,” said Leierwood. White’s journal images from this period show medical workers, ambulance interiors, and ticking clocks of a waiting room, often with notes in the margins. White later returned to HCMC to create a series documenting a day in the life of the hospital.

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The Vine Arts Center is open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as by appointment. White will be present during portions of both Saturdays, as well as at the closing celebration, which takes place Feb. 18 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

A sketching of a woman in hospital scrubs
Maratu Gerbi Front Line Worker Hennepin Healthcare during the pandemic, 2020 by Anita White.
Courtesy image

Keila McCracken, a weaver in Turtle River and owner of sustainable design business, Bare Cloth, looks forward to the art show of a fellow Bemidji-area creator, Diamond Knispel. Knispel combines intricately painted animals with whimsical backgrounds in art that McCracken says captures the energy and magic of the Northwoods.

The paintings in the exhibit are arranged to represent the course of a day, beginning with vivid colors and ending in richer tones.

Diamond Knispel’s show “Wild Whimsy of the Northwoods” opens at the Watermark Art Center in Bemidji on Friday with an artist reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The show runs through April 28.

Actor David Beukema of Minneapolis is a huge fan of the Twin Cities theater group, Transatlantic Love Affair. He loves their simple staging and the way the actors use their bodies to suggest props, setting, and character details. He recalls being deeply moved by the theater group’s play “These Old Shoes” during the 2013 Fringe Festival, and he can’t wait to see it again during its current February run.

Beukema calls the play “a beautiful show about aging, lost love, and refinding love.” Transatlantic Love Affair’s players created the play, inspired by their family stories. It’s directed by Diogo Lopes with original songs by the Minneapolis-based duo The Champagne Drops.

“These Old Shoes” runs through Feb. 19 at the Illusion Theater in Minneapolis.

This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.