A is for Afton, Z is for Zippel Bay:
An Exploration of Minnesota State Parks
Artworks by Robyn Beth Priestley
May 1 through June 1, 2014
308 Prince Street, St. Paul, Minnesota
Opening Reception: Friday, May 2, 2014; 6:00-9:00 p.m.
The AZ Gallery is pleased to host A is for Afton, Z is for Zippel Bay: An Exploration of Minnesota State Parks, an exhibit by Robyn Beth Priestley that showcases new artwork inspired by Minnesota's state parks.
Selecting 26 of Minnesota's 68 state parks to include in her alphabet of explorations, Priestley highlights parks throughout the state, including the oldest park (Itasca, founded in 1891) and the newest park (Lake Vermilion, established in 2013). "I wasn't after the typical park scene," she explains. "I searched for the essence of each park--how it makes me feel and what strikes me--as well as what is iconic and inspiring about each park. I hope the viewer will come away with a sense of each park and be inspired to visit and experience the glory of all of these parks."
She goes on to say, "I came up with the project, and applied for the Artists Initiative Grant through the Minnesota State Arts Board. I've been inspired artistically and professionally by the wealth of natural areas we are so lucky to have in this state, and I wanted to do a project that highlighted the natural world in some way. Most people have visited a state park at some point, and I thought that this would be a great way to remind people of what state parks have to offer, and to enliven our sense of responsibility for the natural world."
Created in 2014, the mixed media works blend painting and block printing, a technique Priestley developed through years of experimentation. They reflect her love of Japanese and Arts and Crafts woodblock prints, but have a completely modern feel. After visiting, sketching, and researching the parks, she created linoleum block prints, mounted them on birch wood gallery panels, and painted them with acrylic paints.
Robyn Beth Priestley received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in printmaking and textiles. She is a member of Project Art for Nature, and the Women's Environmental Artists Directory. She is also a non-profit administrator, and has worked at the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota, amongst other conservation and arts groups. She recently received her Minnesota Master Naturalist certification.
After AZ Gallery showing, the exhibit will be shown at the Great Lakes Aquarium's Merrill-Lynch Fine Art Gallery in Duluth, Minnesota, from September 13, 2014 through January 11, 2015 and at the Silverwood Park Gallery Annex, St. Anthony, Minnesota, from January 15, 2015 through March 13, 2015.
The AZ Gallery is located in the Northern Warehouse Building on the corner of Fourth and Broadway in downtown St. Paul.
Regular weekly hours are Thursdays and Fridays, 5:00-8:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. The gallery is open other hours by appointment and can be reached at (651) 224-3757 and www.theazgallery.org.
Robyn Beth Priestley is a fiscal year 2013 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to an appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.