Downtown Art

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October 25, 2004 // UPDATED 4:26 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

'TV's Talking Heads: News and Politics'

Fine art photographer Mark Jensen became a rather studious couch potato/watchdog as he composed the sketches that comprise "TV's Talking Heads: News and Politics."

Over 18 months of TV viewing, Jensen created these 50-plus spur-of-the-moment sketches of depicting everything from politically minded words from sitcoms and talk shows to images of talking heads from news specials and political conventions. In the end, he created a unique, visual journal that documents the emergence (and follies) of election-time TV.

In conjunction with the exhibit, Jensen will lead a panel discussion about the political impact of the media with journalism and mass communication faculty member Wendy Barger and history staff member Dr. Tom Mega from the University of St. Thomas, and John Shockley, from Augsberg College's political science department.

Panel discussion: Thursday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m. Exhibit: Thru Nov. 30, Monday-Friday 6 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Terrence Murphy Hall, University of St. Thomas, 1000 LaSalle Ave. Free. 651-962-6412.

Scary, or scared?, outsiders

Artists get gutsy in the newest exhibit/pictorial expos/ at Elliot Park's Outsiders and Others gallery: "Political Guts." Far from your average lawn sign, these works of self-taught painters' and mixed-media makers' reflect the complexity of their political convictions, confessions and/or confusion.

Warehouse District artist Scott Seekins depicts doomed warplanes in quaint pointillist portraits. As with the famous dot-filled Georges Seurat paintings, Seekins' paint-bits coalesce to form recognizable but blurry images. As a result, the sky and planes seem to be covered in the same ashy dust that obscured New York City after the fall of the twin towers.

Michael Maupin brings pop culture into the mix, mixing pop and political icons in his collage depiction of a desert storm: atop a map of the Middle East Macaulay Culkin screams and Bart Simpson looks pissed while key Gulf War decision-makers remain less-affected despite the disembodied heads surrounding them.

On the domestic front, Shawn Holster portrays the ebb and flow of nationalism over the last 20 years in his Polaroids of rural Minnesotans.

These fearless artists also venture into the political-religious realm as well. Artist and self-proclaimed "cult leader" and "preacher of sleepless dreams" Jeffrey Lee Evenmo's portrays the Pope as a wrinkled old man with Mickey Mouse ears and horns for fingers. The pontificate also appears to have a case of lockjaw (his mouth is stitched shut) and to be unable to see (his darkened eyes look like they were gouged out). Evenmo also examines the iconography of Princess Di among other people of influence in his digital manipulations.

Finally, Jessie Thibodeaux's (a.k.a. Dr. Somneblex) turns the magnifying glass back on the individual in an angry digital patchwork that confronts the roles, stress and over-achievement characteristic of American lifestyles.

Discuss these wildly varying statements and more at the gallery's Halloween party, which is especially apropos for this particular venue since it was once a funeral parlor. Attendees should dress as notable political players. Films, music, food and drink provided.

Exhibit: Thru Nov. 27, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday noon-5 p.m; Thursday noon-7 p.m. Halloween party: Saturday Oct. 30, 7 p.m.-midnight, Outsiders and Others Gallery, 1010 Park Ave. S. Exhibit: free. Halloween Party: $5. 338-3435.

Anna Pratt can be reached at annapratt@artlover.com.