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Hard Edges, Soft Focus Opening Reception

Hard Edges, Soft Focus Opening Reception
Date Thursday, October 26, 2023
5 - 7 p.m.
Location Olson Gallery - View maps and directions
Bethel University
3900 Bethel Dr St Paul MN 55112
Instructions for GuestsPlease park in the West Lot. 

Event Description

Join us in the opening of Hard Edges, Soft Focus with artist Melanie Pankau!

Hard Edges, Soft Focus includes the installation, painting, and textile work of Kaye Lee Patton, Melanie Pankau, and Heather Jones. Each artist's work respectively explores themes of abstraction as they relate to ideas of identity/belonging, physicality/presence, and matrilineal connections to the history/culture of painting.

About the Artists:

Melanie Pankau's paintings are guided by her daily meditation practice followed by a process of automatic drawing where geometric forms and diagrammatic structures unfold. For over a decade she has studied a variety of meditation traditions and techniques, and integrates this parallel practice into her paintings that both embody and reveal a contemplative consciousness. Pankau received her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1999, her MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in 2011, and studied at the Bauhaus Universtät in Weimar, Germany. Her work has been shown in regional and national exhibitions at venues including: Minnesota Museum of American Art, St. Paul, MN; Thomas Barry Fine Arts, Minneapolis, MN; South Bend Regional Museum of Art, South Bend, IN; Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA; Catherine G. Murphy Gallery, St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN; TuckUnder Pavilion, Minneapolis, MN; McCormick Gallery, Chicago, IL; and at art fairs Art Miami, FL, and EXPO Chicago, IL. She has participated in several artist residency programs including the Vermont Studio Center, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Pankau is a recipient of a Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs Community Arts Assistance Program Grant and two Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grants. Her work is represented by McCormick Gallery in Chicago.


Kaye Lee Patton is a visual artist and graphic designer who has passion for creating spaces to engage communities in their diversity and growth. Born in Seoul, South Korea, as Lee Ko Won, she moved to the United States at the age of twelve. Patton is interested in the idea of transience and identity in relation to history, geography, language, and communication. Patton lived and worked as a branding and packaging designer in Chicago before moving to Atlanta to complete her MFA in painting from Savannah College of Art and Design. Patton’s career as a graphic designer highly influences her work, as evident in the use of graphic shapes, typography and digital images in her paintings, installations, and projection works.

Her exhibits include Gathered: Georgia Artists Selecting Georgia Artists at The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA); WAP Apprentice Exhibition, MOCA GA; and other various group and solo shows in Atlanta and the Midwest. Patton participated in Hambidge Hive at Colony Square as part of MINT artist in Atlanta and has completed several outdoor murals in Atlanta and other indoor murals in the Chicago area. Since 2020, she has relocated from Atlanta, GA, to Wheaton, IL, where she teaches Drawing, Painting, and Community Art at Wheaton College, IL, as an Assistant Professor of Art.

Heather Jones is an artist that uses abstraction and color to comment on matrilineal connections, the historical and socio-political relationship between women and textiles, and explores the relationship between gender, place, time, and culture in her work. Her sewn paintings and sculptures continue the story of geometric abstraction, and she is influenced by artists including Josef and Anni Albers, Ellsworth Kelly, and Carmen Herrara, but also equally by a vast group of unknown female makers from the Southern and Appalachian regions of the United States and their patchwork quilting. The subject of her work is unequivocally feminist: she chooses to work with fabric rather than paint, in reference and reverence to the fact that fiber arts were often the only type of art that women were encouraged to practice for many years throughout history. Conceptually her work focuses on the use of readymade, common material and its elevation to high art; the power of color and shape; and is an authentic connection to the past, both personally and universally. She documents the story of our current world, particularly female narratives often neglected from history. By working within the realm of geometric compositions, Jones creates a universal visual language to tell these stories, using textiles as a reference to issues of domesticity and women’s work.

Jones is represented by Contemporary Art Matters, Columbus, Ohio; the George Gallery, Charleston, South Carolina; Moremen Gallery, Louisville, Kentucky; and has work available though David Richard Gallery, New York, NY. She was selected as an artist-in-residence for Kehinde Wiley’s inaugural class at Black Rock Senegal, and worked there in October 2019. Her work has been exhibited widely at national and international venues. A native Cincinnatian, Jones studied art history at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning, earning both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts (ABT). She currently lives outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, on a small farm with her husband and two children.


If there are any questions, please email out gallery director Michelle Westmark-Wingard at m-wingard@bethel.edu.