Northeast spotlight: A collaborative effort

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September 28, 2009 // UPDATED 9:38 am - September 28, 2009
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie
// Tara Costello, Jennifer Davis and Amy Rice are celebrating friendship and camaraderie in their exhibit ‘Contagious’ //

Artists Tara Costello, Jennifer Davis and Amy Rice are showing new work in a Northeast studio at an upcoming show called “Contagious.”

Don’t worry. It has nothing to do with the flu.

The theme for the exhibit is a tribute to their friendship and support for one another’s work.

“It’s how we feed off of each other — not just as friends, but as inspiration,” Davis said during a recent interview at Amy Rice’s studio tucked above the
I Like You gift shop and Fox Tax at 503 1st Ave. NE. “We all make tons of art and are always bouncing things off of each other. We love each other’s work. We support it.”

“Contagious” will be held at a studio at 1121 Jackson St. NE on Oct. 3.

The artists got the idea for the show last spring.

“We’ve all shown artwork together for years,” Rice said. “We were all members of Rosalux. We just wanted to do a show — the three of us together — it was kind of spontaneous.”

The artists have put few constraints on themselves for this show. It’s an opportunity for them to try out new techniques and have the freedom to go in any direction they want.

“We have no rules,” Davis said. “We’re really loose about what we’re doing. My stuff is all over the place.”

Costello studied printmaking while a student at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. After school she got into  painting. She also has experience working on mural and wall treatment projects.

She uses a variety of ingredients in her paintings, including plaster, wax, raw pigments, ink and oil.  

Costello said she’ll be trying out new techniques for “Contagious.”

“I’m doing some drawing — playing around a lot more instead of focusing on one specific style,” she said. “This is kind of a more fun, free-for-all [show].”

Amy Rice, a self-taught artist, creates artwork on all kinds of medium with non-traditional printmaking tools (hand-cut stencils and a Japanese Gocco printmaking toy). She’s created pieces on weathered wood panels, old envelopes and love letters, among other things.

“Rice draws inspiration from her work from childhood memories, both real and imagined (or just slightly exaggerated with time), the urban community in which she lives, vintage botanical prints, her dog Ella, bicycles, street art, random found objects, collective endeavors that challenge hierarchy, acts of compassion, downright silliness and things with wings,” reads a promo of the “Contagious show.”

She said she’s eager to get some feedback on her new work. Lately a lot of her projects have been inspired by her fascination with bees.

“I’m excited for people in Minneapolis to see work that I have that is new in real life,” she said. “I haven’t had an opportunity to show work in the city outside of my studio. … I’m doing stuff that’s really different.”

Davis, an artist who started out making tiny collages and has since moved into painting and drawing, said she’s also excited to see reactions to their new work.

A piece in the Boston Globe noted the contradictions inherent in her work.

“Davis’s works on paper have the welcoming fine lines, warm tones, and odd characters of children’s book illustrations, but her scenes are mournful, fey, and darkly surrealistic,” wrote Cate McQuaid.

“I enjoy the feedback even if it’s subtle,” Davis said. “We’re trying to communicate and we’re putting it out there.”

The artists are also thrilled about the opportunity to celebrate their strong connections and their appreciation for the supportive arts community in Minneapolis.

Compared to many other cities, artists in Minneapolis tend to look out for one another, they noted.

“Since we’re friends, we support one another with our work, but we also support one another personally,” Costello said.

Contagious: New Works By Tara Costello, Jennifer Davis & Amy Rice
Where: 1121 Jackson St. NE
When: Oct. 3, 3–10 p.m.