Downtown Art

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June 13, 2005 // UPDATED 1:55 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

A pizza history

Artist/collector Kate Pabst and Inside Out Gallery Director Jennifer Schultz turned their Pizza Luc conversation into this retrospective glimpse of Pabst's acquisitions over the past 20 years.

Pabst and Schultz, who attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design together years ago, talked about collections and collectors. The two stewed over questions about why people collect stuff and how they select certain pieces and what lures them in to collecting. They observed that TV programs like PBS's "Antiques Roadshow" indicate that collectors are no longer an invisible elite. Almost anyone can be a collector and accumulate all kinds of wares by various means.

Pabst is a good example. Besides her extensive collection that houses everything from outsider to modern art, she's gathered over 200 lunchboxes that decorate her Warehouse District office at Velvetpeel, Inc.

She gravitates to artwork based on its quality and originality, but what really intrigues her is the story that comes with it, such as the artist's working conditions. Sometimes the story is about her experience of purchasing the work.

She doesn't always remember every artist's name, but she can recall each transaction. Pabst likes to develop a relationship with the artists and finds that their testimony shines through their work, which she values perhaps even more than the pieces themselves.

"What resonates is the creator or seller. It gets transferred," she said.

Pabst is widely traveled and is always sure to seek out local artists, both known and unknown. The common thread between the eclectic mix is a sense of authenticity and truth, she said.

Years of collecting means that Pabst has outgrown some of her work. Her collection has actually gotten too big and so she needs to downsize. The show/sale is an effort to move these extra 40 pieces. There are photos, illustrations, paintings on found objects and carvings - "gems" she said she couldn't bear to part with, without making sure the stories of each continued to thrive within the hearts of new owners. Pabst will also tell her stories of each acquisition.

Some of the proceeds from the show will benefit Inside Out. "The more we can do for her, the more we can do for us," said Schultz.

• M-F thru June 30, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Inside Out Gallery, 212 3rd Ave. N. Ste. 140. Free. 339-5145, www.interactcenter.com.

Basic instincts

The art exhibit "Animal Instincts" mines the similarities between people and animals, sometimes drawing fictional comparisons. But even considering the fantasized resemblances, the show proves that some aspects of the human condition are naturally animalistic, not just in movement or in reflexes but also in relationships and behaviors.

Although this visual story takes a contemporary view of such shared characteristics, it underscores the point that, historically, animals have served as metaphors for power, stamina, desire or elements of daily life. One artist, Elliot Park resident Allison Stout candidly portrays animal body language, rendered in chalk and paint.

Her intricate sketches and paintings of dogs, horses and wolves show empathy for the subtle ways that these creatures expose themselves. Kind of a dog whisperer, she carefully shows how their posture reveals emotional or physical needs.

Although Stout's work is "hyper-realistic," her pieces are also endearing without being too syrupy. Her portraits uniquely envelop her life's ambitions as it combines her longtime yearning to be a veterinarian with her predilection toward art.

Her dad always wanted her to be a medical illustrator (he was a doctor). Instead, she attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in drawing (no medical affiliation). Now she pens lots of portraits, evident by the graceful lines that simply sum up animal personalities.

Obviously, she didn't give up her affinity for pets or the academic style that she inherited from her dad. Although she herself just owns two dogs, there's plenty of fodder for her in the snapshots that she takes on vacations and studies of friends' pets as well as other research. Most recently, Stout has been captivated by horses, though she isn't sure why.

Others' works present mystical birds, people with funny animal traits, whimsical portraits of fish eyes, squirrels, giraffes and pet-lovers with their beloved pets.

• W-Sa June 11-July 9; W, F-Sa noon-5 p.m., Th noon-7 p.m. Outsiders and Others, 1010 Park Ave. Free. 338-3435, www.outsidersandothers.org.