Art Hounds®

Art Hounds: The scent of art, the poetry of Bly, Gilbert and Sullivan

Art of a purple tree
"A Sudden Outburst" by Cheryl LeClair-Sommer
Courtesy of Cheryl LeClair-Sommer

Michelle Wegler of Duluth recommends seeing the exhibit of fellow plein air painter Cheryl LeClaire-Sommer. Her current show, “Scents to Scenes: A Project Space Exhibition” consists of oil paintings of landscapes inspired by scent. 

LeClaire-Sommer used essential oils to inspire her choice of location for each painting. Balsam or cedar scents, for example, might lead her to paint a cedar grove.

The oil paintings, created from locations across Minnesota specifically for this show, range from 8x10 to larger pieces, which she finished in-studio. Both the studies and larger pieces are on view, along with the essential oils that inspired each project.

Wegler says that you stop and look at a painting in a new way after sniffing the accompanying oil. (Saturday, March 2 is a scent-free day from noon to 4.) 

Her work is on view at the Kohlman & Reeb Gallery in northeast Minneapolis through March 23, with an artist talk on March 7 at 7 p.m.  

LeClaire-Sommer also has an exhibit at the Plein Air Collective at the Bell Museum in Roseville through May 26. 

Singer/songwriter/troubadour Larry Long of Minneapolis recommends “DO NOT FORGET US: Poets, Writers, Musicians Against the War (s) on the Earth.” The event was organized by poet James Lenfestey and is described as “a remembrance in words and music of the victims of wars on the creatures of Mother Earth, and of the activist legacy of Robert and Ruth Bly.”

Participants will include James Armstrong, an award-winning poet and naturalist from Winona; Sarina Partridge, a community song circle leader; and soul singer Robert Robinson, among many others. There will also be a special presentation of poems by Robert Bly.

The event will take place Thursday at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis at 7 p.m. 

Gospel singer Robert Robinson
Singer Robert Robinson.
MPR News file photo

Jeanne Farrar of Minneapolis has seen several shows by The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company in Minneapolis, and she’s looking forward to seeing “Utopia, Limited; or, The Flowers of Progress” this month.

One of Gilbert and Sullivan’s lesser-known works, the operetta is a political satire. A British ship has arrived at the remote island “Utopia,” and its king has earnestly undertaken to emulate all things British.

His Cambridge-educated daughter has just returned and is trying to help her father reform the nation’s government. Meanwhile, the king’s unscrupulous wise men are out to enrich themselves.

As the characters and situation grow increasingly absurd, the show serves up its satirical bite with a dose of sweetness with its loveable — or at least laughable — characters. 

Farrar notes that Gilbert and Sullivan “are really good at making fun of pretentious manners and mores, incompetence in powerful positions and the slavish adherence to a rule or philosophy to the point of absurd.” 

The company has revised “Utopia, Limited” for a modern audience; read more about those efforts here.  

Performances will be at the Conn Theater at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis March 1 – 24. 

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