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International Artist Exhibits at Bethel and Mia

Simen Johan, "Untitled #153," 2008

Bethel University's Olson Gallery is currently exhibiting selected pieces from the series Until the Kingdom Comes by Norwegian photographer Simen Johan. Earlier this month, Johan presented a talk about the series and his process. The talk was co-presented by Bethel University Galleries and Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) in Mia’s Pillsbury Auditorium.

Michelle Westmark Wingard, gallery director and associate professor of art at Bethel, partnered with Mia to promote Johan’s visit to reach a wider audience. “When Mia found out we were hosting an exhibition of Simen’s photographs, they contacted us,” Wingard explains. “It was a great opportunity to collaborate with the museum and engage with the broader Twin Cities art community. Our contact at Mia was impressed that Bethel’s gallery program consistently exhibits high profile names. It helped to connect Bethel and our level of arts programming with the public based on an internationally-known artist.”

The collaboration included setting up the lecture at Mia, which would provide a much larger and public venue. The arrangement included a benefit for Bethel. Friends and community members of Bethel were able to attend the lecture for free by registering through Bethel. Students, faculty, alumni, and several Bethel class groups attended in addition to the public.

Until the Kingdom Comes is a series of large scale, digitally-collaged photographs of animals. Johan explained during the lecture that the individual photographs, in most cases, were taken in different locations around the world. In response to an audience question, Johan also explained that most of the time, his inspiration comes as he works with the images in the editing process, rather than during the photography phase. The images tell a story of realistic depictions of another time and place where these animals might exist.

Mia acquired Untitled #181 for their permanent collection, currently in the Harrison Photography Gallery. It features a zebra in profile standing in a lush jungle landscape with many palm leaves.

Other selected pieces from Until the Kingdom Comes, including “Untitled #153” (pictured above), are on view in the Olson Gallery on level 2 of the Community Life Center through December 18.

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