Tag Archives: art

Exploring Siouxland in Winter, downtown Sioux City

13 Feb

After being snowbound and wanting to avoid below freezing temperatures, I finally exited my home to explore a bit of Siouxland via downtown Sioux City. Previously I had been out for a walk when temperatures were milder and the temps in a reasonable 30 degree range. And it was nice to look at some sculpted art pieces that sit next to the Sioux City Art Center.

Two sculpted art pieces sit outside the Sioux City Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A sculpted piece of art sits outside the Sioux City Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

But this last walk downtown was after a 12 inch snowfall and temperatures that again reached into the teens with overnights near or below zero. A blue, sunny sky added to the Art Center’s sculptures that sit on its grounds. On the overcast day which I later chose to walk about downtown enhanced these less colorful pieces of art that adorn the downtown streets. And in a way the colorless sky and overcast added to the effect of these pieces by helping declutter the background for the most part and let the pieces stand alone to be admired.

jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Art sculpture displayed in downtown Sioux City, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Art sculpture displayed in downtown Sioux City, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Art sculpture displayed in downtown Sioux City, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Art sculpture displayed in downtown Sioux City, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Art sculpture displayed in downtown Sioux City, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Being Inspired in Siouxland, Oaxacan Wood Carvings, Sioux City

23 Jan

Recently I saw an exhibit at the Sioux City Art Center of Oaxacan wood carvings from Mexico, commissioned by the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

An exhibit of Oaxacan wood carvings brought an unique perspective and stylized art works to the Sioux City Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

It’s nice to be able sometimes to be inspired by art and not have to travel too far within Siouxland, Information provided says wood animal and figurative sculptures have been made for more than 2,000 years from clay and stone. This folk art is attributed to people with no formal artistic education and previously was anonymous and made by indigenous folk and crafts people from small towns and villages. It was in the 1950’s and ’60’s that the creation of wood sculptures was for pure artistic pleasure rather than as objects for the Catholic Church or for religious celebrations.

Rabbit Nahual, 2005 by artist Manuel Jimenez and sons Angelico and Isaias of Oaxaca, Arrazola, Mexico is an example of the exhibit of Oaxacan wood carvings at the Sioux City Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

An artist responsible for popularizing these wood sculptures is Manuel Juan Jimenez Ramierez. He was from the small town of Arrazola in the foothills near Monte Alban. After the popularity took off and other villagers and people from neighboring communities saw the potential from buying tourists and art collectors, more people began creating these fantastical wood sculptures. Sometimes created by one individual and sometimes by groups of people, to the point where it became a family affair. All members doing their part in either making the sculpture or painting them. Information provide states that 80 families along in Arrazola create alebrijes. The sculptors use wood mostly from the copalillo tree, carving while the wood remains wet, then left to dry, which can take weeks or months and finally adding a base coat of paint before applying the final painting scheme.

An example from the exhibit of Oaxacan wood carvings at the Sioux City Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

It’s amazing to see the different creations up close and personal, and to enjoy these creations without traveling very far. It’s said that inspiration can come from anywhere, anytime. Being inspired by seeing art done by others certainly gives me goose bumps and makes me want to pause, take stock and see what I might be able to do myself down the road.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An example from the exhibit of Oaxacan wood carvings at the Sioux City Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Nature and Man in Siouxland, Sioux City

21 Jan

While downtown in Sioux City recently, I was struck by a scene as I walking to one of the local museums and this scene again brought home the intersection of man and nature to me. I looked up and saw a branch, then clouds floating on a building of glass and I was stuck with the thought of man and nature abiding together. As progress has been made and architects get more creative it’s possible to find more surreal surroundings in my estimation. This one may not seem like that, but man seems determined to include nature, thankfully, in his plans when designing cities, most of the time. And for that, I am grateful.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Nature and human structure interact along a street in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Enjoying the art of Art near Siouxland, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE

5 Jan

On a visit to the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE south of Siouxland I spent a little time looking at facility itself and enjoying its architecture. At the same time I was also looking at color. And how it adds another dimension or feel to the museum.

Admiring art in the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Muted colors and the specially lit venue helps visitors to concentrate on the art hanging in the various galleries and not to think about anything beyond the room one is in and the joy of seeing some excellent pieces.

An entryway with a fountain adds to place and lends an elegance before you start the journey of seeing. As does the art installation of a Dale Chihuly piece that hangs in front of a large window. It’s nice to sit nearby and look and enjoy. Some days should be quiet days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A Chihuly art piece hangs in the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Mosaic tile in the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Framing the Obvious in Siouxland and the Joslyn Museum, Omaha, NE

14 Dec

When out shooting sometimes I don’t really know what to expect until I see an image in front of me. During an outing with my Photo Safari class through the Lifelong Learning program at Western Iowa Tech Community College I was struck by some columns in downtown Sioux City.

in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

I never really noticed City Hall behind it until that night.

And during my trip to Council Bluffs and visiting the historic General Dodge House columns again caught my attention.

Columns line the porch of the Dodge House, former residence of one Gen. Greville M. Dodge, a Civil War Veteran and railroad builder who settled in Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As did a recent to to the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE. The architecture there in the building itself is as much a tribute to art and the art of building as are the works found within it. It was a good day to wander through the museum and enjoy the building and what it offers in and of itself.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Columns in the Joslyn Art Museum frame other building aspects in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Columns in the Joslyn Art Museum frame other building aspects in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Columns in the Joslyn Art Museum frame other building aspects in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Artists on View in Siouxland, Le Mars Arts Council

2 Nov

In another week or so I and some other area artists will put our work on view at the Le Mars Arts Council Art Center. I have not participated in such an endeavor since the mid-1990’s when a gentleman I knew invited me along to show some work in Lake Tahoe, California during an art show there. My work pales in comparison with a lot others work I have seen and see. The tempting thing about exhibiting in Lake Tahoe was that I had a day off and went hiking up into one of the high peaks and hung out at a crystal clear lake.

But in November those interested can view a variety of work at the Art Center’s open house. I feel very humbled to be able to participate.

The Le Mars Arts Council art center Le Mars, Iowa Tuesday Oct. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pastel prints on display at the Le Mars Arts Council art center in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday Oct.12, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A photograph on display at the Le Mars Arts Council art center in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday Oct.12, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The person putting this all together is the center’s administrator Judy Marienau. A wonderful woman who is excited about seeing everyone’s work.

Le Mars Arts Council administrator Judy Marienau working at the Art center in Le Mars, Iowa Tuesday Oct. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have been through a lot of art centers as I have lived in various parts around the country when I previously worked for newspapers. And I enjoy it immensely looking at the work and getting a chance to talk with the various artists.  There is no limitation to some of these people’s imagination and their skill in the chose medium they work in. Even if one is not “rich” enough to take away a couple of pieces to later enjoy in one’s own abode, you are enriched by viewing and admiring the work of these artists.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Pushing Photography Boundary in Siouxland, Pastel Art and Prints

29 Oct

Early this winter I am attempting a new type of class for me at the local community college and for some my former students in the Lifelong Learning classes I teach. Over the years I have dabbled in doing pastel work, chalk and pencil on some of the photographs I have shot and printed on watercolor paper. I have no formal training in art, or really photography for that matter, but the latter a few classes doing undergraduate work and then a lot of on-the-job learning over my 25+ years working as a newspaper staff photographer at various publications.

So I believe my pastel work is rough. I equate myself more in the realm of Grandma Moses than anyone else, and I am certain I am not even close to her in talent. But I enjoy doing the work. And it is amazing to me that sometimes the work comes out looking as I might expect it and at other times I find myself going someplace I didn’t know was there.

A not quite finished pastel on print artwork or work in progress, Sioux City, Iowa Sunday Oct. 8, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One expression of a particular image done in pastel on a print artwork, Sioux City, Iowa Sunday Oct. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the above piece looks different from one I did earlier on another print.

One expression of a particular image done in pastel on a print artwork, Sioux City, Iowa Sunday Oct. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have looked at a few youtube videos checking out technique, and did take a couple classes when living in southern California from an artist who also taught at the local community college. She taught using pastel chalk and because I was shooting a lot news events at the time for newspapers, I wasn’t really interested in realism. She favored French artists and would always exclaim during a class, “More color, more color,” to everyone.

I find this as another way of exploring Siouxland and hope to pass on to others some semblance of knowledge and a desire to push their “art” beyond whatever boundary they may have to learn to see in a different manner and to have some fun creating.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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