Betsy Byers, assistant professor of art/art history at Gustavus, has had a work selected by the Minnesota Museum of American Art for inclusion in its 2014 MN Biennial Exhibition at the Museum Project Space (Pioneer Endicott Building, 141 E. 4th Street St. Paul). The painting, “Omission,” is an acrylic on canvus work completed in 2013. The opening reception for the artists is set for Thursday, June 12 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. for the general public, with the 2014 MN Biennial Exhibition open for viewing from June 12 – August 3. The MMAA hours are Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Admission to the museum is free to the public.
Ms. Byers is one of 36 Minnesota artists who have had works selected for inclusion in the exhibition. Through a blind jury process, a panel of three jurors selected the finalists from a total of 377 applications. The selection of the finalists were made based on the artists’ resumes, statements and images of their existing work. In its announcement, the MMAA described the 2014 Biennial Exhibition as a “remarkable mixture of paintings, photography, sculpture, installations, and ceramics” and includes artists from around the state. It is “a showcase of the many different and unique forms that artistic ingenuity takes in Minnesota.”
A cornerstone of the Minnesota Museum of American Art’s history has been its commitment to local artists. To that end, the MMAA revived its Minnesota Biennial series and plans to schedule it every other year. The competition, which was opened up to all Minnesota artists, will offer the public a snapshot of, quite simply, the best art and craft being made throughout the state today, and to celebrate the many different and unique forms that artistic ingenuity takes in Minnesota. MMAA reached out to regional arts councils and centers to help spread the word throughout their respective communities. With the help of these networks, the biennial exhibition will reflect the diversity of artistic practice in Minnesota, honoring artists young and old, emerging and established, urban and rural, and those who work in traditional and unconventional media.
Betsy Ruth Byers joined the Gustavus faculty in the fall of 2011, coming to Gustavus with degrees from St. Olaf College and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her areas of interest, in addition to painting, are printmaking, phenomenology and ecology. The work selected for the MMAA’s exhibition is “Omission.” In her artist statement, Byers wrote, ” I paint to discover and imagine our relationship with the environment in an abstract form. My paintings are an intersection of bodily senses, memory and process.” In 2013, she was awarded a Presidential Grant from the Kendall Center at Gustavus to work collaboratively with one of her students, Cameron Jarvis. That collaboration culminated in a joint exhibition at the Art Center of St. Peter in the fall of 2013 titled Departures. “Omission” is one of the works created as part of the project and was included in the Arts Center exhibition.
The 2014 MN Biennial Exhibition, which includes “Omission,” a work by Professor Betsy Byers, will run from June 12 – August 3 at the Museum Project Space in the Pioneer Endicott Building at 141 E. 4th Street (the intersection of 4th and Robert) in St. Paul. The museum is open to the pubic on Thursday from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and on the weekends from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Admission is free.