Urban vs. rural: Two Twin Cities transplants offer distinct perspectives on place at Mia


Two Minnesota-based artists open exhibitions at the MAEP galleries at the Minneapolis Institute of Art this week.

Catherine Meier’s “Standing Witness, site: Sage Creek” is a large video installation that will fill one wall of the gallery. “It’s really slow animation,” she says. “It’d be better to call it a moving drawing of the land around the Sage Creek Campground in the Badlands National Park.”

The Nebraska native always wanted to be an artist, but her studies took a detour after high school when she married into a ranching and truck-driving family. Her home state and the landscapes she saw during a stint as a truck driver fueled her fascination with the plains. “I’m really drawn to open land,” Meier says. “I’m intrigued by how I, and people, respond to that landscape. All of my work revolves around this question of: How do I describe, artistically, in visual art form, the experience of open landscape?”

Firmly centered in realistic and detailed drawing, Meier, who has an MFA in art and design, was influenced by South African artist William Kentridge’s narrative charcoal animation. In addition to her video installation, Meier will also display a photograph and other works that document an earlier stage of the “Standing Witness” project, a period last summer when she used a solar generator to project the animation onto the South Dakota skyline. “Occasionally, the landscape would line up with the animation,” she explains. “The drawing of the place was projected on the place itself.”

“Standing Witness” also addresses the passage of time on the land. “I find being in that kind of landscape to be a very temporal experience,” she says. “A walk through the land could also be a walk through time. Sometimes, there are places where there’s little trace of human activity and some of it is so ancient.”

Though Meier doesn’t have any expectations of what her art will evoke in audiences while she is making it, she does want viewers to envision the land as extending both beyond and behind them, as well as remind them of how small they are in the grand scheme of nature. “I want to create landscapes that are really calm and meditative,” she says. “I didn’t start out with that as the goal, but that’s what I’m finding. It’s great. [The exhibition] is a place that someone can sit and be in that space for a while.”


Meier, who now lives in Duluth and does contract design work to support her art projects, also hopes to offer a fresh perspective on what some people see as a dull landscape that must be suffered through on road trips. “I think they’re really beautiful,” she says of the plains. “I hope people can see the beauty that I see.”

Meanwhile, Edinburgh-born, Minneapolis-based Jamie Kinroy will open his exhibition “Edgeworlds” this Thursday in the MAEP galleries as well. “Most of my work is about environments,” says the 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota’s MFA drawing and painting program. “The American urban landscape really impresses me.”

“Edgeworlds” includes a combination of drawings, prints, and a large-scale, life-sized piece. He creates fictional environments that sample from photographs he’s taken on his travels throughout the world. Places like Scotland, Japan, Istanbul, and Minneapolis have influenced the predominantly black-and-white art in “Edgeworlds.”

“I’m interested in spaces and environments that you see often in film, video games, graphic novels, and comics… spaces that can be immersive, that you can step into and imagine yourself in them,” he says. “They’re rich environments.”


Catherine Meier, “Standing Witness, site: Sage Creek”

Jamie Kinroy, “Edgeworlds”

October 15 through January 3, 2016

Minneapolis Institute of Art, MAEP Galleries


There will be an opening reception this Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. during the museum's Third Thursday festivities

There will be an artists' talk 7 p.m. Thursday, November 19.

For more info, click here.