Jes Lee

Oh what a weekend

The first weekend after long weeks of at least one person being sick always seem to feel so good. And with all the art events going on this weekend, it definitely did not disappoint!

Friday, on my way home from work I stopped at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts to meet their new education coordinator, Jennifer Kennedy-Logan, and see their latest art exhibit. Jennifer seems like a great person, and I am glad to see her joining the BLCA community!

The exhibit that is on display is a show of paintings by Linda Deg Lee and Mary Lingen. It is beautiful! Their work pairs so well together, from the use of color and geometric shapes, even down to the beautiful OCD satisfying way one gallery is filled with work by one artist working in angular geometric shapes, and the other is all circular flowing lines and shapes. It is quite appealing just to go look at bright colors in the middle of our grey winter.

Saturday started off as a busy day at work for me, and concluded with a wonderful evening out. We started with dinner at a local wood-fire pizza place, continued with a pretty LNL* at a sort-of hidden gem of a store/coffee shop that is I think relatively new to the neighborhood, and then continued on to art and cocktails. Who doesn’t love that??

First stop: Traffic Zone for the one of two displays of one show. This particular exhibit is a juried show if many alumni from the College of Visual Arts that recently closed. I have many friends that graduated from there, so I definitely wanted to see the show. Aki Shibata (she and I met at MCBA) was doing a collaborative performance piece with another artist. They each had a writing desk, one at each gallery displaying work for this exhibit, and wrote love letters to each other, having gallery visitors that were moving on to the next gallery, deliver and read them to the other person. I delivered a letter from Aki to her collaborator, John Colburn over at Form+Content gallery, and read it to him. It was a simple friendly, love letter, not steamy, or overly mushy. Just beautiful. It was a lovely experience! It also made me think about how I don’t write letters often enough, especially sweet ones to the people I care about. I’d like to change that.

Just around the corner from Form+Content is Cave Paper, run by two women I have also gotten to know through MCBA. They were open for visitors, so we stopped to look at the new things they had hanging up on their walls, and so I could buy some cloud paper seconds! I am in love with that paper, and have collected a couple of sheets each time I go there. Now, to start planning projects to actually use it!

We ended the night with cocktails at a friend’s place (I think Manhattans might be one of my new favorites!) and then walked over to the 801 Gallery to see an amazing show of three photographers and a painter. It was the perfect show to end the night with. So, the 801 Gallery is actually inside a building of lofts in Minneapolis. Many artists live there and have their studio work space there as well. So, along with the artwork hanging in the large, open hall ways of the building, there are many other little shows of artwork going on in people’s individual spaces. We saw so many great pieces! My very favorite, is the work by Sara Belleau. Her staged photography is just amazing and beautiful. She was selling books of the series that night as well, and thankfully I had enough cash with me to buy one. She even signed it for me. I can’t write about her work without sounding like a gushing fan girl…but I’ll just leave it at this. As an artist, once in a while you go out and see an exhibit of someone’s work, and it in many little ways renews your sense of being a creative person, and reminds you once again that there are amazing people out there, and amazing art, and kicks you in to not-giving-up.

Sunday was full of family, and some shopping and many books, as well as more photographs. But I will leave that for another post.

*LNL = Late Night Latte (I am testing my caffeine time limits. Evening coffee doesn’t seem to cause me to not be able to sleep later, so this may become a thing!)

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Passing time

It was a gloriously long weekend for this girl.

Friday night was the opening for the two person show I am in. It was great! I am so very grateful for the people that have taken the time so far to go and see it. I’m really amazed by this show!

Saturday I taught a class at Bloomington Art Center. The students were great! I think this is possibly one of the best groups yet.

The rest of the weekend was spent celebrating being married to Mr. FN for 10 years! (Yes, for those of you wondering, we had two weddings. This is the anniversary of our first wedding!) We spent this wonderful weekend kayaking, biking, watching loads of movies, baking bread and soup, and just enjoying being together.

John in his kayak on Long Lake Saturday afternoon.

Sunday bike ride past the train yards

making soup stock

Now it is back to a regular week of working and catching up before my work schedule changes again. I keep thinking back to this long weekend though, and how wonderfully simple it was. The only thing that mattered was being together. There really should be more times like that.


It is Sunday night, and I feel like I have already started a new week. The past handful of days have been tough-ish to say the least. But tonight, after a very long day at work, I had a date with my husband that included a swimming pool, and Chipotle, and that helped more than anything else has this week.

I am not going to get into the details of this past week. It is over and done. There are a few good points that I will dwell on here…

On Friday, after discovering that the Kathe Kollwitz exhibit was ending this weekend, my mom convinced me (it didn’t take much) to drop the other plans I had for my time between shifts, and we went to the museum. I am so glad we did. First, there are so many museums around here that going to is a meditative, inspiring, calming experience for me. The Weisman is one of them. (It always brings me back to being in college and going there for class or just to escape between classes. I love seeing how they have remodeled. It is cool to see them have more space to display some of their permanent collection pieces.) Kathe Kollowitz was one of those artists I was inexplicably drawn to and came across frequently in my studies. To have the chance to actually see her work in person is quite amazing. There is a huge difference between seeing a piece of art in person and seeing it in a book.

The other completely amazing exhibit that is there now is Tenuous, Though Real and contains artwork from 33 Minnesota artists, including four pieces from my friend and mentor Laura Migliorino, and Gary Hallman, one of my professors from the U, and so many others, some I have met in person, and some I never realized were from Mn. It was amazing! And while I will go to the art museum or an art gallery with anyone who wants to go (and even a few who weren’t really all that willing) it is fun to take my mom – we have some interesting discussions about the pieces.

My mom found a couple of pottery books in the gift shop to bring back to my dad. Talking about pottery with my dad is always fun. We have a couple of art festivals coming up that we are getting ready for, so we spent quite a bit of time this weekend chatting about the logistics of kiln firings and stuff to get ready for the next show. (I am also hoping to have a new online shop open for us soon!)

Saturday I had a chance to hang out with Mr. FN. While not all of our plans happened quite like we wanted, he did have time to take me to see his new office space. I must say I am quite impressed with where he works now! He also took me out for a sandwich from Surdyk’s – his favorite lunch spot. We had a little picnic outside and it was quite lovely!

Today was quite rough at times. But it ended with Mr. FN and I cooling off in my aunt’s swimming pool and our usual Sunday night Chipotle dinner. It was a small “date”, but it was what we both needed. My granny used to say that when you had a lot of things piling up on your mind, and a lot of things bothering your heart, or any baggage you needed to get rid of, that you should drive past the cemetery and bury it. Let it go. I have often heard her in my head saying that, especially when I know I need to let go of something, or just get over an awful week in general. I have tried it in the past, with a mild amount of success. But what I found tonight works better is drowning it. Jumping in a pool, and feeling yourself be weightless again. The water is cool, and for that first bit you can’t concentrate on anything else except breathing. That is where I can get rid of things and just let go. I am so grateful to have had a chance to do that tonight.

In an hour a new week will start, though I feel like it already started a couple of hours ago in that pool.

John diving in. Taken with a Pentax digital underwater camera, that has since died. I only have underwater film cameras now. This is not a hardship, but something I quite look forward to for this summer.