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Surface Tension
Date Thursday, October 27 - Friday, December 16, 2022
FeaturingDimensional photography and installation by: Sophia Chai, Paula McCartney, Christine Nguyen, and Letha Wilson
Location Olson Gallery - View maps and directions
Bethel University
3900 Bethel Dr St Paul MN 55112
Instructions for GuestsPlease park in the West Lot for the closest entry to the Olson Gallery.

Event Description

Physically On View: October 27 – December 16, 2022
Virtually On View: Instagram @bethelgalleries

In-person Artist Talk (Christine Nguyen and Sophia Chai): Thursday, October 27, at 6 p.m. in the Eastlund Room, CLC Building, Level 2. Reception in the Olson Gallery following the talk.

Virtual Artist Talk (Paula McCartney and Letha Wilson): Thursday, December 1, at 7 p.m. Central on Zoom
Surface Tension explores ideas of dimensionality in photography. The exhibition includes photographic installations by Sophia Chai and Christine Nguyen and the dimensional photographic works of Paula McCartney and Letha Wilson. Exhibition essay written by Lex Thompson.


About the Artists:

Sophia Chai is a Rochester-based artist born in South Korea who immigrated to New York City at fourteen. Chai received her B.A. in chemistry from the University of Chicago and her M.F.A. in photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Before relocating to Rochester, MN, in 2017 from Brooklyn, New York, Chai showed her work in group exhibitions at venues in New York City, including Trestle Projects, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Knockdown Center, A.I.R. Gallery, and TSA Gallery, among others. In addition to a solo exhibition at 106 Green (Brooklyn) in 2016, Chai mounted two solo exhibitions in 2020: Sight Lines at the Rochester Art Center (Minnesota) and Interpolation at Hair + Nails Gallery in Minneapolis. Chai is grateful for the financial support she has received from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (2019), the Minnesota State Arts Board (2020 and 2022), and the Jerome Foundation (2019-2020). Chai is presently working on her first permanent public outdoor art project for Discovery Walk, a new four-block linear parkway in downtown Rochester, commissioned by the city of Rochester and Destination Medical Center. Chai is represented by Hair + Nails Gallery in Minneapolis.


Paula McCartney makes artist books, photographs, and ceramics that illustrate her collaborations with the natural world and consider ways that light activates both objects and environments. She has received fellowships in both Artist Books and Photography from the McKnight Foundation and grants from Women’s Studio Workshop, the Aaron Siskind Foundation, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. McCartney’s photographs have been exhibited nationally at venues including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Her books are included in the artist book collections of the Walker Art Center, Museum of Modern Art, Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University, Getty Research Institute, among many others. Her two monographs include Bird Watching and A Field Guide to Snow and Ice. McCartney holds an M.F.A. in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute and a certificate in Creative Studies from the International Center for Photography.


Christine Nguyen was born and raised in California and currently resides in Aurora, Colorado, and also works in Long Beach, California. She is a lover of animals, plants, and nature. She received her B.F.A. from California State University, Long Beach and M.F.A. from University of California, Irvine. Exhibitions of her work have been shown nationally and internationally. Her works can be found in various collections such as the J. Paul Getty Museum Department of Photographs; Getty Research Institute; Armand Hammer Museum; Grunwald Center for Graphic Art; Los Angeles World Airport’s Collection; Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, CA; Burger Collection, Hong Kong; The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Hanoi, Vietnam; Long Beach Museum of Art; Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum in Long Beach, California; Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio; and Microsoft Collection.

She has been an Artist in Residence at Montello Foundation, NV; Pacific Bonsai Museum, WA; Gyeongju Int. Residency Art Festa 2018, Korea; Theodore Payne Foundation, CA; BaikArt with Cemeti Art House, Indonesia; U.S Department of Interior - BLM Eastern Interior AIR, Alaska; Wildfjords (WFAR), Iceland; Montalvo Art Center, CA; Tamarind Institute, NM; and the Headlands Center for the Arts, CA.


Letha Wilson (1976 Honolulu, US) lives and works in Craryville and Brooklyn, New York. She earned her B.F.A. from Syracuse University, and an M.F.A. from Hunter College. Residencies include Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, MacDowell, Yaddo, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and the Headlands Center for the Arts, among others. Wilson has exhibited at MASS MoCA, DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, International Center for Photography, Essl Museum (Vienna), Bronx Museum of the Arts, Socrates Sculpture Park, and the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. Recent projects include an outdoor public sculpture commissioned by the Rochester Institute of Technology, and a solo exhibition at Galerie Christophe Gaillard in Paris, France.


Image: Christine Nguyen, installation detail, 2022


Please contact Michelle Westmark-Wingard at m-wingard@bethel.edu.