Art Hounds recommend works that celebrate our connection with water

A work of art
Water SunSet Memories, 2022, Acrylic on Tyvek with wooden frame and wire by Anne Labovitz
Photo by Bailey Tillman

Megan Arney Johnston, an independent curator and contemporary art enthusiast based in Stillwater, recommends a trip to Winona to see Water Stories: New Work by Anne Labovitz at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. Johnston says Labovitz, who is based in St. Paul, goes to the “next level,” involving large-scale paintings and an even larger scale installation that evoke the essence and the importance of water.

At the entrance, visitors see Labovitz’s large scrolls responding to the Winona area and landscape. Subsequent rooms reveal a series of large abstract paintings, each a different hue,  and using layers of paint to create landscapes Johnston calls “atmospheric” and “sublime.”

In the next room, there is a room-sized installation of painted Tyvek house wrap. You walk inside and listen to the sounds of Lake Superior at sunset. Capping off the exhibition is a chance for visitors to write their own water stories in little watercolor books and hang them as part of the display.

Labovitz “really has it all in the art in this exhibition: installation, painting, site-specific work and social engagement,” Johnston said.

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The exhibit runs through Jan. 22.

The Minnesota Marine Art Museum’s focus on our relationship to water means that it also has a connection to our next Art Hound’s recommendation, as a sponsor of a Winona-based podcast.

Visual artist Anne George of Winona has been listening to the podcast “Back Channel Radio.” The first season dives into the oral history of the boathouse community of Wolf Spider Island, also known as Lower Latsch Island, which is moored in a backwater of the Mississippi River.

The podcast is narrated by Gina Favano, who lives in a Wolf Spider Island boathouse. As she delves into local history, past media coverage, and personal interviews, she offers an insider look into this unique community. George says the podcast is “compelling” and “fills in the blanks” even for people who are familiar with the boathouses.

The season has six episodes, available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Minneapolis-based art enthusiast Robert Borman recommends the musical comedy “Church Basement Ladies: Plowin’ Through.” The long-running show features the same four ladies, working at a church in a small Minnesota town as weddings, funerals and the stuff of life pass through. The ninth installment brings us to the year 1975, with its polyester pantsuits, music and (the church basement ladies’) slapstick humor.

“It’s hilarious. It’s witty. It has a heart. It’s just a great show,” Borman said.

“Church Basement Ladies: Plowin’ Through” runs through Feb. 15 at the Black Box Theater inside Burnsville’s Ames Center. 

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