Art Hounds: Art from the missed photograph

Three books overlap each other on display
Pieces from the “One That Got Away” exhibition by Rebecca Pavlenko. The show focuses on lost images or photographs that failed to come into being through mechanical failures or that were never taken at all.
Courtesy of Rebecca Pavlenko

Darren Tesar of FOGSTAND Gallery in St. Paul recommends a visit to the current exhibition by visual artist Charles Matson Lume, which also celebrates light this December. The site-specific, light-based exhibition, “what opens — like a blaze of fire” is at the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery at St. Catherine's University in St. Paul. It runs through Dec. 12, with an artist talk Thursday on campus.

Lume uses humble materials such as reflective paper, hologram tape, and even dirt to manipulate and reflect light throughout the two symmetrical rooms of the exhibit.

A display of lights
Art by Charles Matson Lume entitled "what opens — like a blaze of fire."
Photo by Charles Matson Lume

Tesar says that Lume uses poetry as his jumping-off point for creation. In this exhibit, Lume collaborated with Minnesota’s second poet laureate Joyce Sutphen of Chaska and Minneapolis-based interdisciplinary artist Galilee Peaches.

The show is accompanied by a book created by the three artists, which allows the poems and the exhibition to continue to reverberate after the show closes.


Writer Tracy Harris is enthralled by photographer Rebecca Pavlenko’s exhibit “One that Got Away.” The show focuses on lost images or photographs that failed to come into being through mechanical failures or that were never taken at all.

To create the show, Pavlenko asked more than 30 photographers to describe one image that escaped them. These handwritten texts, written by the artists on photographic paper, become the visual representation of each image that got away.

The show includes stories from some of Minnesota's most well-known photographers, such as JoAnn Verburg, Alec Soth, Steve Ozone, and Wing Young Huie.

“What I love about this show is that in a world where we are bombarded with visual input, Rebecca gives us a chance to reflect on the relation between words and pictures and what it takes to create a memory,” Harris said.

See “One That Got Away” at Traffic Zone Gallery in Minneapolis through Dec. 31, or online.


Country and western singer/songwriter Trevor McSpadden of St. Paul is a big fan of Nick Hensley’s MN Songwriter Showcase. The long-standing event returned to performances this fall after an 18-month pandemic hiatus, and now it’s going strong with performances twice a week: Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. at the Aster Cafe in Minneapolis and Sundays at Plums Neighborhood Grill and Bar in St. Paul, starting at 8:45 p.m.

McSpadden says he’s impressed by the range of musical styles that assemble, hosted by grace and enthusiasm by Hensley, who also performs.

“It's always a really nice assortment of talented folks from first time singer songwriters to veterans,” says McSpadden, “but everyone is treated with equal levels of enthusiasm. And I've seen the room be silenced because somebody's singing so well. And that may be somebody that has never had a chance to sing in public or somebody that's singing, you know, a song they've been doing for 50 years.” 

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