We have had the pleasure of having two very bright and talented college student interns this summer. Daphne and Briana rose to every challenge we threw at them and gracefully rolled with the sometimes unexpected, often shifting priorities at the gallery.

Susan and I tasked them with curating an exhibition from our extensive inventory. Planning and executing an exhibition from start to finish is no light task, even for a seasoned professional. They learned about our stable of artists, collaborated on a theme, and the results are superb! Below Daphne and Briana go into more detail about their experience and specific insights.

Promo Design For Exhibition, Then & Now.

Daphne (left) and Briana (right) get familiar with the gallery's inventory

This summer we learned all about Olson-Larsen and the process of curating an exhibition. In the beginning, we planned on only organizing our exhibition for online viewing. However, it turned out that the O-L Living Room, next door to the main gallery was going to be between shows during our exhibition time, and Alyss had the brilliant idea to let us present some of our show in person!

When thinking of themes for our show, we knew we wanted to incorporate colorful artwork representing an array styles and media. Looking through the Olson-Larsen inventory led us to the idea of focusing on nostalgia and the overlap between the past and the present. After considering the world “Nostalgia”, we ended up settling on “Then and Now” as the title of the show. To us, “Then and Now” evokes both the feelings of how our past informs our future, and how our present changes our perception of the past. Many of the artists featured in the exhibit described their work as deriving from past personal and collective experiences. Other works in the show are made from fragments of the past or are made to imitate the passage of time. 

"Then and Now" installed in the O-L Living Room, next door to the main gallery.

Installation day– measure twice, hang once, level up.

The online exhibition features an online only component that examines 6 works by highlighted artists not featured in either the online or in-person exhibition. We chose to go in depth with a few pieces we felt fully encapsulated the idea of “Then and Now.” This blog post is acting as another opportunity to examine artists and pieces in a more personal way. We believe that reminiscences, nostalgia, and reflections can be simultaneously collective and personal experiences. In that spirit, both of us will discuss our backgrounds and how they individually relate to the exhibition theme and the featured artists.

Daphne Knoop

My name is Daphne Knoop and I am an art history major at Vassar College. Though I am only approaching my second year of school, I already feel connected to the college. College has allowed me to create new memories, reflect on past experiences, and feel empowered to change the future. As I am transitioning from old to new, I am trying to appreciate all the phases of life. The experiences of my childhood have become memories; they have transitioned to the “Then."

While searching for artwork for the show, I was struck by Paula Schuette Kraemer’s work. Her prints are inspired by the beauty found in simple things. She reflects on moments that many people hold dear. I was immediately pulled in by her imagery. Her artwork evokes the same feelings memories do. Kraemer is also a Vassar graduate who majored in art history. We are two people unknown to each other, but in multiple ways our pasts and present have intertwined. While Kraemer’s artwork is based on her own experiences, it also brings back fond memories of mine. We have never met, but we most likely share memories of the same classes. To me this speaks to the power of time and shared experience.

Paula Schuette Kraemer, An Ode   Drypoint, softground etching, monotype, and intaglio, 22x26 inches

Briana Jo Agan Borchert

My name is Briana Jo Agan Borchert and I am going into my fourth, and final, year at Wartburg College where I major in both Graphic Design and Studio Art. With my final year approaching, I have been revisiting my past memories of high school and college. I have changed greatly in a relatively short amount of time. Within this time of transition and change in my life, I cannot help but reflect on where my past experiences have brought me, and ponder where my continued experiences will take me. While I am excited for the future, I must remind myself to be grateful for the then, and the now, as they will be what carries me through.

I was familiar with Barbara Fedeler’s artwork before coming to intern at Olson-Larsen, as she happens to be one of my professors at Wartburg, and my friend. Her work, and the inspiration behind it, fully encompasses the idea of “Then and Now.” Fedeler is known to return to the places she has captured in her artwork again and again to observe changes that have occurred, whether they be from weather, or human intervention. The inspiration for some of her pieces comes from the idea that the land is both permanent and ever changing. There is permanence in the idea that time itself will always be moving forward, and that our future will always be a direct result of our past.

Viewers of “Then and Now” will bring their own ideas and experiences to the artwork. As humans, we rarely focus on the present. Instead, we are distracted by memories of the past and our hopes for the future. The artwork in this exhibition encourages us to look at the intertwining of the past, present, and future, not their separation. Time and memory are ever-changing because of our evolving perceptions; In that way, the past and future go hand in hand.  The past, present, and future are all at work in our lives and the artwork presented. As Faulkner said, “The past is never dead. It isn’t even past.”

Barbara Fedeler, Effigy Mounds-February, charcoal on paper, 17x48 inches

We are so grateful to Daphne and Briana for helping us out this summer and bringing extra joy to the gallery! We wish you the best in college and beyond. Come by the gallery to see the work installed at the O-L Living Room before September 3rd. 

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542 5th Street
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
United States
542 5th Street
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
United States
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