Howard Quednau: Venturing into a Third Dimension

Posted on April 11th, 2018 by

Howard Quednau always saw himself as a 2D artist. Not only did he work with photographs and paint, but he also focused mainly on printmaking, which he describes as “the kind of art for people where even paper isn’t flat enough.” But the last few years, his work has been anything but two-dimensional.

“Howard Quednau: Dioramas” opens April 15 in the Schaefer Art Gallery at Gustavus Adolphus College. The exhibit features dioramas created by Quednau over the last eight years, depicting scenes from simple human interactions to political satire. Quednau will be on campus April 19 for an artist talk at 4 p.m. and an opening reception from 5–6:30 p.m. in the gallery.

The beauty of dioramas, as Quednau describes it, is the ability to suspend disbelief and peek into another world. As a kid, he loved building things like doll-houses. However, as an undergraduate Quednau turned more toward printmaking and remembers taking one 3D art class only because he had to. He continued working as primarily in printmaking as professor and chair of fine arts at Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD).

But, as chance would have it, Quednau broke his leg just as he started a sabbatical year at MCAD. Unable to climb the stairs to reach the art that he had been working on, he had to reinvent himself. “As a teacher, I always tell students to take risks and put themselves out there. Then, I was all of a sudden at a point where I had to do the same,” he says. For the last eight years he has been creating dioramas and hasn’t looked back.

“Howard Quednau: Dioramas” provides the viewer with a survey the kinds of dioramas Quednau has created and runs through May 19 at the Schaefer Art Gallery. The gallery is open every day of the week from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. The exhibit is made possible through the Johnson Funds which support the fine arts at Gustavus.


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