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‘Beatniks’ exhibition opens at the Grand

Josh Schutz, left, and Hanna Newman, right, stand between two sculptures in their show “Beatniks.” On the left is Schutz’s “Die, Cry, Hate” and on the right is Newman’s “Dive.” (Photo by Connor Cummiskey)

NEW ULM — The first art show of the year opens tonight in the Grand Center for Arts and Culture.

The opening reception for “Beatniks” runs 7-9 p.m. in the Four Pillars Gallery Art Gallery. The show runs until Feb. 2.

“Beatniks is kind of a misfit or someone marginalized from convention, which we really consider our work to fall in that category,” Artist Hannah Newman said.

Newman and Artist Josh Schutz are both second-year Master’s students at the University of Minnesota, Mankato (MSU) who focus in sculpture and ceramics.

“We are really close friends as well as colleagues,” Newman said. “There are a lot of similar areas between our work, in that we both work with the figure and that we both work with abstracting the figure.”

Newman’s art is made up largely by fragments of the human body: independent hands, legs or fingers are some examples.

Schutz on the other hand likes to mold everyday objects into a shape of a human body part. One example is “Die, Cry, Hate” which is an armless body with a lampshade replacing the head.

Newman first began her interest in art during high school in Rochester. She earned her Bachelor’s in Ceramics from MSU.

Her process is inspired partially by her episodic sleep paralysis — when a person falling asleep or waking up finds themselves aware but unable to move.

In some cases people can move or open their eyes and often there is a hallucination of a malevolent presence in the room with them, according to the website of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS).

“There are definitely times where I would wake up and there is someone in my doorway and that was like my earliest memory and I was so f–ing afraid,” Newman said. “My sister used to share the room with me and I could see her in my peripheral vision but I could not say anything to her.”

Cases can vary from a one-off experience to lifelong experiences like Newman’s. Her symptoms seem to be linked to her location, often happening in her parents’ house, she said.

“I still experience that and that has inspired me to look at real people and real objects in an elusive or surrealistic way,” Newman said.

Schutz grew up in La Crescent and earned his bachelor’s in art history also at MSU. There he discovered his love for ceramics and began sculpting.

He merges the body and decorative arts, such as wallpaper prints, to mock the hollow expressions of mass produced decoration.

“It has to do with the idea of American values and this idea of attaining something that everyone should be able to attain even though there are these societal norms and standards that are not attainable for everyone,” Schutz said. “That is how I felt upon reflection, looking back at these things and how they used to make me feel.”

His expression is rooted in his experience being marginalized for his sexuality.

“I came out in high school and I was surrounded by all these different phrases like ‘live, laugh, love,’ and ‘dreams do come true,'” Schutz said. “There are all these things within the decorative arts that are reflective of our culture and a culture that I was apart of that was not very accepting.”

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

More information on Newman can be found at hannahnewman.net. Schutz’s website is jushuaschutz.com.

ccummiskey@nujournal.com

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