Carolyn Kallenborn at the Gordon Parks Gallery

Many local galleries had exhibits to coincide with the Surface Design Association conference that was held in Minneapolis the first half of June. One of these exhibits was Esperanza, by Carolyn Kallenborn, held at the Gordon Parks Gallery at the St. Paul campus of Metropolitan State University.

From the show information: “The work in this exhibition has been inspired by the improvisational and interactive altars that I have seen during my time in Oaxaca, Mexico. Ofrendas (altars) are found in homes, in cemeteries, in little nooks in the wall or sidewok on the streets. Milagros are small charms that are left on statues in the curches as prayers for healing the heart, the mind, or the body. These physical objects become conscious visual reminders of a person, a wish, or a hope.

The hand-dyed cloth pieces in this show are infused with my own contemplations. The cloths and threads are my reverent spaces to hold my most intense thoughts and wishes. Each of the small bits of glass, beads or metal sewn onto these clothes are chosen and placed to reflect the specific emotion or desire expressed within the piece. The time and the attention in deliberately attaching each individual object is in itself a meditative process. The finished pieces become the physical visual reminders of my intentions.”

The gallery is small; the photograph below is the view when you step into the room, an interior room with windows.

Cascada is the title of the installation piece. On the pedestal behind and to the right of the waterfall of blue is a bowl full of rose petals. On the wall above it are the instructions “Think of a person you have admired who has passed on… On a rose petal, write down a characteristic that person had, that you would like to emulate… Place your rose petal in the cascade, choose a rock from the cascade to take home with you.”

This exhibition started April 22nd, so as time as passed, more rocks have been replaced with petals.

The remaining pieces were mostly long and narrow; my camera is not well-suited to photographing them well. You can see the full dimensions of one at the far left of the top picture. Here are portions of Baile (Dance), Movimiento (Movement), and Una Tras Otra (One After Another):

Materials used are Oaxacan handwoven cloth, natural dyes (moss, indigo), beads, steel, rust, dyed silk metallic organza, found objects, abalone.

Where Do We Go From Here?:

Materials are Oaxacan handwoven cloth, discharge, natural dye (indigo), silk petals, broken mirror, beads, fabric flowers.

Here are details from Soledad:

Materials are Oaxacan handwoven cloth, dyed silk and metallic organza, natural and mx dyes, nails, beads, steel.

One last detail; this is from Repara:

Materials are Oaxacan handwoven cloth, discharge, natural dyes (indigo), silk petals, beads, steel.

I really enjoyed this small gem of an exhibit, and liked Kallenborn’s work. She is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has led study trips to Oaxaca, and done teaching collaborations with Zapotec weavers and the Museo Textil de Oaxaca. This exhibit is on display until July 28th.


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