Downtown Art

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April 18, 2005 // UPDATED 1:53 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

'American Sublime'

Find local playwright, producer and actor Terry Hempleman's eyes (along with a second pair of eyes from another dramatist) embedded in the overcast sky in an eerie postcard of Patty Lynch's play, "American Sublime."

A depressed 18th-century landscape oil painting forms the backdrop, overlaid by a mesh of a translucent museum floor plan. The weeds and brush in the painting's foreground have been converted to hypercolor with an unnaturally bright lime tint, further underscoring a fearful moodiness. It could be called "code romantic."

That's the ambiance of "American Sublime," which tiptoes through a gallery where backpack-laden Todd and Constance are planted firmly in front of the ethereal canvas. Todd and Constance's bags were already large enough to perk the security guard's antennae, but their nagging questions about a Middle Eastern visitor cause even more alarm. That triggers a psychological drama that acts as a prologue to such grandiose horrors as 9/11 and other terrorist attacks.

The painting is symbolic of a fate already depicted somberly in the past tense. Besides a thoughtful take on a national neurosis, the play's immediacy is stressed by its intimacy. Not only does the story's setting feature a gallery, but the site-specific show physically takes place in a gallery as well - without the confines of a stage, proscenium arch, theater seats and other trappings of a typical auditorium.

When it begins, some of the sound effects will actually be from viewers. As gallery-goers mill around and view artwork, their noises become part of the play's ambiance.

The action doesn't arise too obviously out of the crowd, but emerges more casually than what you'd usually expect when the curtains lift (hence, no curtains) as the spectacle becomes a live addition to the gallery's collection.

Produced in part by the Fringe Festival, Building Seven and Gallery Atitlan. Directed by Brian Goranson and starring Casey Greig, Terry Hempleman and Amy McDonald. Next door the e.p. atelier, 609 S. 10th St., provides coffee, refreshments and live music.

- F-Su April 15-May 1; F-Sa 8 p.m.; Su 7 p.m.
(plus M April 25, 8 p.m.).
Gallery Atitilan, 609 S. 10th St.
$10-$15. 436-5555, www.fringefestival.com.

Eat it up

Don't tell Jenny Craig, but it's time for an all-you-can-eat binge at Outsiders and Others gallery. Don't worry about your weight. Satisfy your cravings and savor everything in this humongous art sale and auction that features work from over 100 local "who's who" artists in a fund-raiser to launch the Outsider Art Center.

Right now the Outsider Art Center is in the conceptual phase, but there are lots of concrete plans in the works.

The Outsider Art Center will house a permanent collection of outsider, self-taught and visionary artwork from Minnesota artists, not only as a showcase, but also for archival purposes. Additionally, the center will have a library of self-taught work, including DVDs, CDs, videos, periodicals and more.

Since the center is still in the visionary stage itself, they need funding for all of their ambitious projects, including administrative details like space rentals - that sort of thing.

Gallery director Yuri Arajs said with enthusiasm, "Galleries are in the now. The center will take the whole concept and do it on a permanent basis. I hope it'll live 100 years past my lifetime."

Additionally, for this benefit Ms. Paris will provide her DJ services while you binge on donated work from established artists and enjoy high-end appetizers, desserts and martinis in this cocktail affair. Including everything from bidding on an artist to paint a mural in your home to curatorial services offered by big and small businesses and arts organizations/individuals, you'll help make the center happen.

- Sa April 23, 6-10 p.m.
Outsiders and Others, 1010 Park Ave.
$10. 338-3435, www.outsidersandothers.org.