“I Shall Be Released,” a 10” x 8” hand-printed woodcut by Betsy Bowen.

Homage to the Home Town at Lanesboro Arts Gallery August 12


Lanesboro Arts will present Homage to the Home Town, a print-making exhibit by Betsy Bowen. The exhibit opens with an artist reception on Saturday, August 12, 2017, from 6-8 p.m., and runs through October 8, 2017. The reception will include wine and hors d’oeuvres, as well as live musi c by Larry Price and Dave O’Mara. Always free and open to the public, the Lanesboro Arts Gallery is open seven days a week through October.

Bowen is an illustrator of both the events of wildlife and domestic life that take place around her longtime home near Grand Marais on Minnesota’s North Shore. The immediate lure of color and line in Bowen’s woodcuts invites viewers to discover the good-humored stories she tells with her images. “Poet Muriel Rukeyser wrote that ‘Scientists tell us that the world is made up of atoms, but we know it is made up of stories.’ Now here is a concept that shaped my view of the world,” stated Bowen. “It is our stories that hold the very form and energy of our existence.”

Homage to the Home Town is a compiled view of the various parts of places Bowen has lived, including Lake Superior, her homestead, the surrounding wilderness, and the various landscapes of Minnesota and Northwestern Ontario.

Bowen began making and selling woodcuts in the mid-80s, due to the availability of wood close to her home. Starting in black and white woodcuts, Bowen learned to print with a range of colors and a printing press. Her work in woodblock print-making has continued the ethic of seeking a straightforward livelihood generated by making goods by hand.

The prints have recently focused on illustrations for picture books, written by herself as well as others. Her topics have evolved from views of her local rural life into the folktales and stories which inform rural lives worldwide. Recent interest in the oral tradition of these folktales has led Bowen toward pageantry, creating puppets, scripts, and staging for community street theater and dance performances.

Bowen has produced prints for many years illustrating her own tales, including “Antler, Bear, Canoe: A Northwoods Alphabet Year,” and stories written by others, such as Nancy Van Laan’s “Shingebiss: An Ojibwe Legend.” She is also involved with designing puppets and staging for local theatrics and is well known for the signature tepee she uses to mark her spot at art fairs.

Bowen operates a studio and gallery in the historic century-old Grand Marais Playhouse in Grand Marais, Minn. Her three sons are her collaborators, printmaker Jeremy, webmaster Eric and wood-crafter Philip. Her work is available in galleries around the Upper Midwest. Their mission is “to express a life of hand-crafted, straightforward livelihood, considerate of the land and her inhabiting communities.”

This exhibit is sponsored by Commonweal Theatre Company and by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

For more information visit www.lanesboroarts.org, call 507-467-2446 or email gallery@lanesboroarts.org. The exhibition gallery is handicapped accessible and is located at 103 Parkway Avenue North in Lanesboro.


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