Be sure to see the fourth annual River Arts Alliance Members’ Exhibition of artworks at Winona’s Blue Heron Coffeehouse on 162 W. Second St., opening Saturday, June 15, with a reception for the artists that evening from 6 to 8 p.m. You will certainly find art that speaks to you among this generous sampling of more than 40 regional artists’ work. The show runs through Sept. 2, so you can enjoy it repeatedly this summer, while sipping hot or refreshing cold beverages, and savoring the fresh, local and largely organic menu at the Blue Heron Coffeehouse. (If you haven’t yet tasted their house-baked goods, you are in for a treat!) Most of the artwork is for sale by contacting the artists directly — contact information and prices are provided. Some of the work can also be previewed online at http://riverartsalliance.org/2019-raa-member-exhibit/
In addition to other aesthetic approaches, the show celebrates our local scenic environment and wildlife, through oil and acrylic painting, watercolor, pastel, collage, printmaking and photography. Joy Davis Ripley’s stunning photograph of an alert blue heron in quiet backwaters is an apt image for our region, and graces the exhibition’s poster. Peet Fetsch’s inventive screen print of a canoe paddle evokes a quiet float on the river, illuminated by sun sparkling through foliage. The exquisite structure of a flower is magnified in Anna VanDemark’s photograph “Poppy.” Mary Forney’s collage “Reflections on the Driftless” emphasizes the deep rhythms and patterns of our local landscape. The drama of a summer storm on the river animates Patsy King’s acrylic painting of pelicans negotiating wind and waves amidst thunder and lightning.
Emotions are also elicited through depictions of humanity. Robert Long’s accomplished oil “Time Traveler” portrays a romantic, introspective woman in a surreal landscape, transporting the viewer, like the model, to another place and time. “Holzinger Trail,” a recent watercolor by Linda Arneson, brings us back to Winona, following a solitary hiker ahead of us on the path. Mary Farrell’s photographic portrait of Eileen Moeller, a Winona City Council member and Great River Shakespeare Festival marketing director, calls attention to her exquisitely intricate sleeve tattoo and thoughtful demeaner. Kathy Kovala’s “Brellas and Boots” highlights the camaraderie between a woman and girl as they splash through puddles and rain.
In addition to many compelling two-dimensional images of nature (including humankind), a variety of other subject matter and content is presented, and artists work with a range of materials. Ray Kiihne’s acrylic relief tondo (round painting) is commanding in scale. Nationally-known performance and conceptual artist Billy X (Curmano) presents work that is sure to conjure more questions than answers. Jewelry by Jovy Rockey, fibers by both Lorraine Kilmartin and Mary Lee Eischen, a knotted rope piece by Tom Dukish, stoneware pottery by Jack Rumpel as well as Teresa Schumacher, and wood sculpture by Gary Flynn ensure that the artwork in this exhibition is richly varied in form and material, reflecting the diverse perspectives of the artists who created it.