The work of Frank Big Bear, George Morrison and Norval Morrisseau
at the Fredrick R. Weisman Art Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota
September 9th - December 31st, 2000
This exhibition presents the work of three contemporary artists who share an approach to their work. Todd Bockley, a Minneapolis artist and independent curator, organized the exhibition and Glen Hanson, a Minneapolis writer, expressed the exhibition in text. You are invited to experience these works of art by "listening with the heart," because that approach is what unites the artists. You are urged to forgo words of explanation about the art and instead enter into a conversation with the work.
Excerpt from exhibition text -
"The experience of listening with the heart cannot be captured in words. The heart has it's own way of knowing. It must experience something to know it. The heart cannot be convinced by words alone; the heart must understand. Words can explain the work, but explanation can tell us only how the work is similar to, different from, typical of..... Explanation leaves the work itself mute. Understanding, gained through listening with the heart, allows the art to speak to us."
The exhibition is housed in the Franklin R. Weisman Art Museum on the campus of the University Of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Museum is nestled on the banks of the Mississippi river in an extraordinary building designed by architect Frank Gehry.
333 East River Road,
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Tel: (612) 625-9494
tuesday, wednesday, and friday 10am - 5pm
thursday 10am - 8pm
saturday and sunday 11am - 5pm
closed mondays and holidays
Some thoughts, stories and experiences from our trip to the opening of the exhibition
by Bryant Ross - director of Coghlan Art
It was my honor to be invited by my friend and mentor, Norval Morrisseau, to accompany him on his journey to the opening reception of the exhibition "Listening With the Heart." Norval is facing the challenge of life with Parkinson's disease and does not travel as much as he used to, but because of the effort of the shows curator, Todd Bockley, to include him in the planning for the show while still in the conceptual phase he felt he had to make the extra effort himself to attend.
This story was related to me by Norval as we were flying into Minneapolis...
Norval said, "Along time ago, maybe two or three hundred years ago, before white men were around, some people were worried about what was going to happen....so they went to talk to a shaman. They asked him if he could find out. The shaman went to a sacred place and started singing and drumming. He beat on his drum harder and harder until he jumped right out of his body and began to rise up in his consciousness. He went up to the third astral plane where he could fly through time. He flew through time until he reached the year 2000 and then came down to look around. Below him he could see hundreds, thousands...more than he could count...millions of ants travelling down well traveled trails...and mountains sticking out of the plains like giant ice crystals, reflecting the sun back into his face. When he returned to his own time he told the people about what he had seen. He told them that what ever these creatures were, there was lots of them and they were coming."
I couldn't resist to ask, "Did the shaman see any further into the future?"
"Maybe" he replied.
The Show consists of work by three artists that have managed to break down the barriers of ethnic and cultural labels. Their work has roots in native traditions, but speaks to everyone in a very contemporary way that when listened to with openness can certainly reach the heart.
The pieces included in the show by Norval Morrisseau are strong and vibrant and are perhaps some of his finest. To see the six panel "Shaman Transforms into Thunderbird" was a highlight for me. It is a painting that seems to lift me from my earthly bonds, opening up my imagination and leaves me with a need to create. It is inspirational.
The opening was attended by many people. Some were familiar with Norval's work and to some it was new. There were young people that were moved to laugh and older people that were moved to cry, children, in their innocence, that could not resist touching the textured canvas and other artists that were there to pay homage to the man and his creations.
Towards the end of the evening a man entered the room where Norval's paintings are hung. He had obviously been in an accident as both his legs were in casts and he had a neck brace on. He was laying on a wheelchair that was like a bed on wheels that he could maneuver on his own. He traveled around the room looking at the paintings and as he left a young boy, perhaps ten or eleven years old came into the room on a motorized wheelchair and approached Norval. They talked for awhile and the boy left. "I wonder what that means" said Norval.
Later that evening back in our hotel room Norval told me a story. "Years ago I was walking down the street in Winnipeg feeling sorry for myself. A man was walking towards me, He had long hair and a leather jacket, and as we meet he said,"Things are not as bad as we think". I looked away for a second and when I looked back he was gone. I never saw that man again."
Norval in front of Shaman Transforms into Thunderbird
Norval with the curator, Todd Bockley
Norval with the museum director, Lyndel King
This text is the intellectual property of Coghlan Art and the artist.
Use of this text is prohibited under Canadian copyright except by permission.
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