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Plastic recycling and women poets open gallery season

Kimberlee Roth's exhibit is made up of 92 ceramic plates — or "perfect serving platters for asparagus," she quips.
Kimberlee Roth's exhibit is made up of 92 ceramic plates — or "perfect serving platters for asparagus," she quips.
Photo by Pauline Oo.

What happens to plastic if you don’t recycle it? One scenario: It accumulates into ugly “floating islands” that clog our waterways and contaminates our food system. Artist Kimberlee Joy Roth will address the problem of plastic in motion at the opening exhibit for Catherine G. Murphy Gallery’s 2012–13 season: 

  • “It's Plastic”
  • “The Soul Selects Her Own — Portraits of Women Poets, 10th–20th C”
  • “Windows on the World — Open for Viewing, Legacy of a Lifetime of Painting”
  • “Lace & Gunpowder: The Male/Female” 
  • “Framing the Field: Photographic Terrain in the Collection of the Minnesota Museum of American Art”
  • “Juried Senior Exhibition”

September 10–October 28, east wing

Roth’s exhibit “It’s Plastic” includes a 30-foot mural — made of 92 ceramic plates — featuring three slightly different versions of the same coral reef scene, videos by the National Oceanic Administration Association and the Algalita Marine Research Foundation (AMRF) and local recycling information.

“We’ve gone from a country that recycled everything during World War II, including silk nylons to make parachutes, to a nation that relies too much on petroleum products and electricity,” says Roth, who also works as a technician and assistant at St. Kate’s gallery. "I am hoping to increase people's awareness of the oceanic plastic pollution and their awareness of where and what plastics are recyclable, and to encourage them to recycle 100 percent of their plastic waste."

To support the latter goal, Roth will have 600 handmade ceramic cups and plates — a version of those that appear in the mural — for sale at the exhibit. Proceeds from the cups (with a suggestion donation of $10–$15) and plates ($60–75) will go toward the AMRF in California.

“Just because you throw something in your trash, doesn’t mean it’s going to stay there,” Roth adds. “Squirrels can get to it and marine life can end up ingesting it. The last thing you want is EDT and PCB in your salmon.”

PCB's and other toxins occur at low levels naturally in ocean water. Plastic in the ocean absorbs and concentrates them. Plans are underway to tie the exhibit to several St. Kate's classes, including "The Reflective Woman."

September 10–October 28, west wing

In “The Soul Selects Her Own — Portraits of Women Poets, 10th–20th C,” St. Paul artist Jay Wittenberg paints women poets who have inspired him. A prose or poetry excerpt will accompany each oil painting.

“This is a hauntingly beautiful exhibit,” says Kathy Daniels, gallery director. “The women are painted at waist-level up and the portraits will hang so they meet you at eye level. There will be an eerie sense of quiet when you see all these women looking at you.”

November 7–December 20

“Windows on the World — Open for Viewing, Legacy of a Lifetime of Painting,” curated by Elizabeth Erickson, provides a retrospective of Patricia Bratnober Saunders’s work over six decades. The installation includes portraits, landscapes, abstracts, fauna and her other responses to life experiences.

The exhibit, “Lace & Gunpowder: The Male/Female,” features four male and female pairs of artists and their take on the same subject matter or theme. The purpose of this exhibit is to stimulate meaningful questions about the male or female viewpoint, including “what are the differences or similarities between the male and female psche?”

January 28–March 28, 2013

“Framing the Field: Photographic Terrain in the Collection of the Minnesota Museum of American Art,” curated by George Slade, features landscape photographs by some 40 artists. St. Kate’s is collaborating with the Minnesota Museum of American Art (MMAA) to present this exhibit, which draws from MMAA’s rich “terrain” collection.

April 13—May 19, 2013

The “Juried Senior Exhibition” focuses on the works of St. Kate’s students — studio art and art education majors — in their senior year. The University purchases artwork from this annual event for its permanent art collection and to hang in the student center. Read more at “Student art in the heart of campus.”


Gallery info

The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery is located in the Visual Arts Building on St. Catherine University's St. Paul campus, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, Minn., 55105. Admission is free.


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Aug. 3, 2012 by Pauline Oo

See also: Arts, Liberal Arts, Social Justice