Downtown Art

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June 21, 2004 // UPDATED 2:11 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

'Transformation: Burn This Show'

"Transformation: Burn This Show" is the product of a group brainstorming session, with dynamic results. Many of the artists themselves were transformed in the process of putting together this Inside Out Gallery show -- working with media they'd never used before, they contemplated dark moments and challenges that they spiritually and emotionally overcame.

Marie McCarthy's sculptural installation (a new format for McCarthy) describes her struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. Next to a casting of her feet in a pile of sand, she placed a support bar, like those you'd find in an accessible restroom. The casting reflects the leaden feel of her feet after countless surgeries to fuse and straighten them. Although she was frustrated, text from scripture inscribed in the piece also reflects the power of Collins' faith to sustain her, even when circumstances seem unbearable.

Mary Collins' video installation "Nine Weeks" is no less powerful. About Collins' battle to lose weight (she starts off the video testimony at 300 pounds), she talks about the emotional abuse, conflict with diabetes and depression that thwart her progress -- including the dark side of weight loss "support groups," who aren't necessarily compassionate.

According to Jennifer Schultz, a spokesperson with the Inside Out Gallery, Collins "scratches at the holy veneer of the supportive environment. It's an ugly business." There are many compelling components of this story -- including one of the artist's journal entries printed on an "XXL"-sized pair of pants. There are other pieces, too, like prizes given for weight loss. In a transformative piece about transformation, Collins' work asserts that there's no one place to find a solution.

Matthew Zimdars' art shows a completely different kind of transformation. Zimdars is a weatherman with a mixed-media approach to meteorology, presenting a series of tornadoes that depicts the way the disasters swoop down on earthlings. He catches buzzwords from weather broadcasts, but his pieces aren't realistic. Abstractly, they capture the evolution of storms.

Thru Saturday, July 24; Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Saturday, noon-4 p.m.

Inside Out Gallery at Interact, 212 3rd Ave. N. Ste. 140.

Free. 339-5145.

Loft drive-thru

In a society lacquered with the cholesterol grease of fast-food places, here's a speedy one-stop shop that'll fill your calorie count for the day, but won't compromise your health: the literary Loft drive-thru. Every month, the Loft Literary Center hosts "Local Motion," with plenty of value meals for hungry, hopeful artists/writers in a hurry.

Loft instructors Kate Hallett Dayton, Marie Olofsdotter and Mary Rose Remington's meditations -- on everything from travel (I could use some help trying to record some nervy European escapades), picture books (what makes a "silent" book compelling?) occupation, spirituality, parenting and wellness -- are inspiring. Order some literary advice or inspiration "to-go" when they share their lessons and learning.

The following meals will be available at the "Local Motion" reading, Thursday, June 24.

Value Meal 1: Travel writer/photographer/poet tackles foreign-ness. Kate Hallett Dayton has written/photographed adventures in the Southwest United States, Caribbean, Apostle Islands and other sites for "Minnesota Monthly" and the Star Tribune. She's penned her experiences not only journalistically, but in poetry as well -- now collected into chapbooks and literary journals.

Value Meal 2: Swedish interdisciplinary artist Marie Olofsdotter is the award-winning author and illustrator of several picture books, including "Sofia" and "Heartmender."

Value Meal 3: (This one might be a little spicy.) Spiritual help is here, with freelance writer, syndicated columnist and career expert Mary Rose Remington. Author of "Career Quest: A Practical Guide to Finding Your Life's Passion," Remington also contributes her "Common-day Spirituality" column to "Catholic Spirit" and more than 20 out-of-state publications. She's published hundreds of articles locally and internationally, about job/lifestyle balance, spirituality, family and wellness.

Indulge in all three Value Meals in one night, guilt-free.

Thursday, June 24, 7 p.m.

Loft Literary Center, 1011 Washington Ave. S.

Free. 215-2575.

Anna Pratt can be reached at