(Minneapolis) -- The Department of Art at the University of Minnesota presents, Ties We Keep, the Regis Center for Art Emerging Artist Program exhibition featuring the work of three emerging artists: Sarah Kusa (St. Paul, MN), Dustin Steuck (Minneapolis, MN), and Tom Wixo (Lewisburg, PA). Each artist deals with the vulnerabilities of being human in distinct and intimate ways, reflecting on connections and boundaries that either enable, threaten or protect identity.
The Regis Center for Art (RCA) Emerging Artist Program is a new opportunity for Minnesota emerging artists to participate in solo or group exhibitions at the Quarter Gallery located in the Regis Center for Art at the University of Minnesota. The purpose of the exhibition series is to provide artists with opportunities to exhibit their work, broaden connections with other artists, and gain wider exposure to the arts community in the Twin Cities. The exhibition series seeks to support a diverse range of artistic practices within the visual arts. Participants are selected by a panel comprised of University of Minnesota Department of Art faculty.
Sarah Kusa, Chambers, 2018, Used bed sheets, black walnut, thread, 144 in W. x 48 in. D x 96 in. H, Photo Credit: Rik Sferra
Sarah Kusa is a Minnesota-based artist who creates sculptures and installations dealing with themes of vulnerability and power. Her mixed-media forms are rooted in abstraction and investigate ideas of connection, protection and survival. Kusa has exhibited her work throughout the United States and is a 2017/2018 recipient of the Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists. She has participated in residencies at Ragdale (Illinois) and MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art). Kusa currently lives and works in Saint Paul.
Sarah Kusa creates sculptures and installations that explore tensions between vulnerability and power, searching out intersections where the two coexist, however precariously. Ephemeral in nature, her work takes forms ranging from abstract bodies to delineations of space where bodies may or may not belong. Kusa’s core visual vocabulary is one of membranes, strands and partitions, grounded in materials that offer tactile intimacy and an inherent vulnerability of their own. Recently, Kusa has been working with a stripped-down palette of thread and torn fabric to create what she considers to be three-dimensional drawings.
Dustin Steuck is a performance-based video installation artist currently living in Minneapolis, MN. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture and drawing at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 2017. Steuck has been selected as a semi-finalist for Manifest Gallery’s One 8, the 8th Annual Manifest Prize, honorable mention in the International Sculpture Center’s 2017 Outstanding Student Achievement Award program, and awarded a Student Research Grant funded by the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Steuck recently exhibited at the Bradbury Art Museum (Jonesboro, AR), Soo Visual Arts Center (Minneapolis, MN), and participated in a residency at the Vermont Studio Center.
My work explores themes of queer identity while engaging the function of social media platforms, and personas fabricated through digital realities. Whether the outcome of a piece is physical, performance/video, or two-dimensional, my work is based on the need to document. Through physical space on a grand scale, video satisfies my conceptual concerns, while the projector fulfills my spatial objectives. Material associations through sculpture have provided access to communicate personal narratives, while performance and video allow authentic interactions between the subject and viewer. Influenced by queer and mass media imagery, my work recontextualizes perceptions of narcissism and queer identity through iconography.
Tom Wixo (b.1991) resides in Lewisburg, PA, he earned an MFA in Painting & Drawing from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville in May 2018. He received his BFA in Studio Art from Saint Cloud State University and attended the Yale Norfolk Summer School of Music and Art in 2014. He is the recipient of an Ellen Battell Stoeckell Fellowship, a full fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center, a Joseph Delany Fellowship, and an artist residency at The Soap Factory. Solo and group exhibitions include The Soap Factory (Minneapolis), Vox Populi (Philadelphia), Mild Climate (Nashville), Crosstown Arts (Memphis), and Fluorescent Gallery (Knoxville).
Artist Statement These paintings act as both metaphor and distraction from one's own struggle for meaning in an age of…distraction. As motifs emerge and repeat they become fluid on the surface of each painting. Ironic cynicism masks as practiced vulnerability before evolving into earnest plurality in meaning. Following a performative, circular narrative, painting offers multiple outcomes necessary to reconcile meaning for the painter, while maintaining connection with the viewer. In this effort the work remains quixotic, destroying its own order of meaning, remaining known yet mysterious, descriptive yet elusive, masculine yet fragile.
Exhibitions in the Quarter Gallery are sponsored by the Department of Art and the Katherine E. Nash Gallery at the University of Minnesota.