A Curation of Midwest Culture
Story by Alyssa Nishek and Tessa Beck
Photography by Dan Francis Photography
Mark Weiler and Tessa Beck spent the last two and half years curating the eclectic art collection found throughout Jasper Hotel. The pair's goal was to “showcase world class work that came from within 300 miles of Fargo,” explained Weiler, owner of Ecce Gallery in Fargo, North Dakota.
As they sought to create familiar experiences while also pushing boundaries, Weiler and Beck built a collection full of diverse imagery. Great thought was put into incorporating pieces that would showcase the authentic history of our region, including its Native American origins, early settlers, and the dramatic backdrop the landscape offers to its evolution. The collection includes notes of symbolism, realism, landscape, abstraction and thought-provoking nudity, produced by artists of various demographics.
Dan Jones was born and raised in Fargo, ND. After viewing the Picasso retrospective at the Walker Art Center in 1980, he was compelled to consider a career in art, and enrolled at North Dakota State University. His educational journey took him to the University of Minnesota, and finally back to NDSU where he studied art history, researched Old Masters painting techniques, and met his future wife, Julia. Dan and Julia traveled the western and southwestern United States before settling down in Minneapolis, where he was involved in the wholesale and retail art business.
After the birth of his fourth child, Jones and his family returned to Fargo in 1992. He continued in the retail arts business and was involved in the local arts community – eventually devoting his time exclusively to his craft. Jones is best known for panoramic oil paintings with bold and sweeping brushstrokes, accented by rhythmic patterns of color to create highly atmospheric and expressive visual statements.
Many collectors find that his regional subject matter evokes emotions of places remembered; the pristine and quiet atmosphere of the northern plains. Works by Jones are found in corporate, museum and private collections throughout the United States and Europe.
Aaron Spangler (b. 1971, Minneapolis, Minnesota) lives and works in Park Rapids, Minnesota. He received a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, MN.He is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the McKnight Foundation for Visual Artists, Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Jerome Foundation. He has been featured in recent exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Ackland Art Museum, Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Van Abbemuseum, Smart Museum of Art, and the Rubell Collection. His work has been reviewed in Time Out New York, Artforum, The New York Times, and Flash Art, among others.
A self-taught artist, Lauren Roche fully embraced her talents at the encouragement of her peers, Tynan Kerr and Andrew Mazorol. Having worked the autumn sugar beet harvests together in North Dakota, the three spent their free hours in a heated trailer drawing to no end. In 2012, she exhibited her first full body of work alongside theirs at Modern Times Cafe in Minneapolis, and shortly after was awarded the Jerome Emerging Artist Fellowship (2012-13). Roche was then included in a number of group shows leading to her first solo show, Silent Partner, at Bockley Gallery (2016). She has shown at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, the Delphian Gallery in London, and the Material Fair (2020), Mexico City among other venues. She was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant (2018) and today her works are in the collections of the North Dakota Museum of Art and the Minneapolis Institute of Art along with numerous private collections.
Roche currently lives and works in St Louis MO, and maintains a cabin in rural Minnesota, to which she and her partner return often. Roche is represented by Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis.
Blue Wall Space Photo I Uploaded
Sara Woster studied painting at the University of Minnesota before getting a degree in Creative Writing at The New School. She was granted the Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship, a Franconia Sculpture Park residency, and a Brooklyn Arts Council SU-CASA residency. Her book, Painting Can Save Your Life, will be released by TarcherPerigee / Penguin Random House
in spring 2022.
She has exhibited her paintings and animations at various galleries around the world including Freight and Volume Gallery, NY, NY, Alt Esc, NY, NY, 90sqm Gallery, Amsterdam, Lachaise Gallery and the Center for Visual Research, Cedar Crest College, Allentown, PA, Hendershot Gallery, NY, NY, South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings, SD, The Soap Factory, Minneapolis, MN, Porch Gallery, Ojai, CA, and Washington Pavilion, Sioux Falls, SD. Her multimedia, collaborative performances have been performed at various venues including The Hammer Museum, UCLA and Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis, MN.
Pirjo Berg was born in Helsinki, Finland. She received a Master’s degree in Regional Planning at
the University of Tampere, Finland, before moving to the USA in 1991. In 1996, Berg moved back to Finland to attend the School of Art and Media in Tampere. There, she concentrated in painting,
but also enjoyed making installations in collaboration with other students. The years at the art school meant considerable traveling, not only between Tampere and Seattle, but also painting trips to Norway, Estonia, Italy, and Nepal.
Berg moved back to Seattle in 2000, and established a studio in Ballard. In 2005, she graduated from the Artists Trust EDGE-Program (a Seattle-based organization for artists). She then moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota in 2008 and established a studio practice and life. Over the years, Berg has traveled with her geologist husband all over the world including: Nepal, Greenland, Arctic Spitsbergen, Baja California, Alaska, US South West Canyon Lands, Sierra Nevada, etc. as his field assistant. The landscape, especially the sedimentary rocks, and layers (or beds as geologists call them) are elements which have become familiar visual references found in her paintings.
Kimberly Benson currently works in a studio in Minneapolis and as an adjunct professor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She received her BFA from the College of Visual Arts, and received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Her paintings have been exhibited widely in both solo and group shows across the Midwest, including at MANA Contemporary in Chicago, Illinois; Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, Wisconsin; Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota; and Bockley Gallery and HAIR+NAILS in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has participated in residencies at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado; McCanna House through the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks; Jentel Foundation in Banner, Wyoming; and Soap Factory Emerging Artist Program in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Benson has an upcoming residency at La Macina di San Cresci in Tuscany, Italy.
Jim Denomie was born in Hayward, Wisconsin on July 6, 1955 and is a member of the Lac Court Oreilles Band of Ojibwe. He grew up in Minneapolis, MN since the age of 5 and currently lives and works in Franconia, MN. In 1995 he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in visual arts from the University of Minnesota and since has shown in over 130 exhibitions throughout the U.S. and internationally. Primarily a painter, he also works in printmaking, photography, ink drawings and found object sculpture. His narrative paintings focus mainly on political, social, cultural and personal events (both current and historical) pertaining to Native American issues and his personal identity.
His most recent body of political work (2018-19) documented the North Dakota Access Pipeline protests at the Standing Rock Reservation in 2016. The nine paintings debuted at Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis, MN in 2019 and a number of then have since or will be exhibited in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mexico City and Vienna, Austria. His intelligent and courageous work has garnered him numerous prestigious fellowships (a Bush Fellowship, McKnight Fellowships (2) a Joan Mitchell Fellowship, and most recently, a McKnight Distinguished Artist Award (2019) among others. His work is also in the permanent collections of numerous museums including the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Walker Art Center, the Westphalien Museum of History and Life, the Denver Art Museum, Eiteljorg Museum of Western and American Art as well as many other public and private collections.
Casey Deming (b. 1983) is an artist working across the disciplines of printmaking, bookmaking, design, and sound art. He has exhibited work at The White Page Gallery, Chicago Artists Coalition, Art of This, Madame of the Arts, The Minnesota Center for Book Arts, the Chicago Art Book Fair, and the Printed Matter Art Book Fairs in New York and Los Angeles.
Casey curated the Tuesday Series for Experimental Music in collaboration with John Marks (2008-2017), and was a featured musician and curator at The Soap Factory’s 2013 Minnesota Biennial. He has received grants from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, The Jerome Foundation, and The Minnesota State Arts Board. In collaboration with Leslie Grant, he was a Coffee House Press: In the Stacks artist-in-residence at Carleton College in Northfield, MN (2018-19).
CASEY DEMING, Stripe Study (ed. of 50), 2015, 4-color CMYK screenprint, Three Views (ed. of 50), 2016, 4-color CMYK screenprint
Linda Whitney was born in Minnesota and raised in North Dakota. She began her art career early, earning a first place for one of her woodcuts in sixth grade. As an adult she earned her MFA (University of North Dakota) in art with an emphasis in printmaking. There she developed a reputation throughout the U.S. for her full color intaglio prints and won several awards in juried exhibitions. She was also awarded national grants for her work with abused children, the subject matter of her intaglio prints.
In 1994 she was hired as an assistant professor of art and chair of the art department at Valley City State University where she taught a variety of art courses including history, printmaking, theory, painting, drawing and design. She retired as professor emeritus in 2014 and now her focus is on mezzotint printmaking.
LINDA WHITNEY, Butterfly Dancer – Grand Entry, 2018, Mezzotint
Amber Fletschock has become regionally known for her intricate collage work that she makes in direct response to “living in a material-oriented world inundated with information overload and excess.” According to Fletschock, the process of selecting and collecting images serves as a subject filter through which she is able to “meticulously assemble the pieces manufacturing new content organically.” The artist considers her work a pause amongst chaos on the brink of transforming.
Amber Fletschock is a mixed-media collage artist. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in painting from Moorhead State University and has exhibited her work throughout the Midwest. Fletschock’s work can be found in both private and museum collections including the permanent collection at Plains Art Museum. Amber is represented by ecce gallery in Fargo, ND.
AMBER FLETSCHOCK, Untitled, 2021, Papercuttings on paper with nori paste
The Jasper Hotel collection was created through a highly collaborative process between Weiler, Beck and the Jasper Hotel Committee. In his previous experience as an art curator, Weiler had created numerous proposals showcasing the works of artists such as Fischer and Spangler. However, due to certain previous restrictions, he was never able to bring those proposals to fruition. Through the Jasper Hotel Collection, Weiler is at last able to showcase these world-renowned artists, whose works can also be found in places such as New York City's Park Avenue and the Walker Art Museum.
"This was a terrific opportunity for the artists, not only to be featured in a groundbreaking new building but a cosmopolitan world class collection," Weiler said.
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