During his sabbaticals from Kenyon, Professor of Art Barry Gunderson has constructed “peace weapons,” inspired by the armory at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; built aluminum red admiral butterflies while being adopted into a Maori tribe in Porirua, New Zealand; captured the winter darkness in sculpture in Trondheim, Norway; and translated terrace houses into whimsical abodes in Liverpool, England.
But on his current leave from the College, Gunderson has returned to his childhood home of Minneapolis to capture the beauty, history, and fragility of the Mississippi River.
He is living within a block of the river in downtown Minneapolis. “It was in front of my nose; that’s why I picked the Mississippi as my theme,” Gunderson said. “You never know what’s going to influence you.”
Gunderson, who has taught sculpture at Kenyon for 40 years, is at the heart of a new gallery exhibit at the artist-run Vine Arts Center in Minneapolis. The show, “Currents,” features 21 of Gunderson’s wood wall sculptures alongside photographic collages from Minneapolis-based artist Larry Nelson.
Besides the immediate sight of the Mississippi outside his window, Gunderson used NASA photographs and historic maps to inform his work: “It was the colors,” Gunderson said, “it was the plotting of the city, the city blocks and how they merge with the primary arteries, how the river in its natural state flowed through” the city that was so engaging.
The exhibit runs from May 10 to June 7. Gunderson’s work will be on display at the Gund Gallery in January 2015 in a post-sabbatical exhibition.
By Henri Gendreau ’16