Katherine E. Nash Gallery

Practice and Interpretation is a new series of short videos, interviews, and writings from artists, arts professionals, and community members who have contributed to the Katherine E. Nash Gallery's rich exhibitions program. As a research laboratory for the practice and interpretation of the visual arts, we believe the visual arts have the capacity to interpret, critique and expand on all of human experience. Practice and Interpretation is a platform for sharing knowledge and amplifying the voices and stories behind the people who make our programming possible.

Self Portrait by Areca Roe
Areca Roe, Uniquely Customized, 2020, Digital photograph

This edition of Practice and Interpretation features an interview between Nash Gallery Assistant Curator Teréz Iacovino and artist Areca Roe. A recurrent theme in Areca's work is the interface between the natural and human domains. More recently her work explores constructed images inspired by prompts from a well-known stock photo website. While sheltering-in-place with family, Areca reflects on photography, parenthood, and how she turns limitations into opportunities for creative growth.

Teréz Iacovino: Your photography practice often involves building in-person relationships with your subjects, be it a person, animal, or tree. How has the necessity to shelter-in-place and social distance affected your on-going projects?

Areca Roe: Yes, I love to dive into one topic for a while, create a series of images, and hopefully build relationships and knowledge in the process. I’ve had to rethink several projects with the pandemic. I had hoped to continue Laboratory (2019-Ongoing), a portrait series of researchers in the ecology field, but that’s proving difficult right now. I was also hoping to travel for that project—pretty much a no-go at this point. But I’ve really valued all the time at home—it’s forced me to reimagine how I can create visuals and play with concepts having to do with home. Still lifes and self-portraits have not always been my favorite subjects to photograph, but I’m using these constructs and learning to keep it interesting, and surprising for myself. Accidents and lack of exact control is part of why I love photography. I sometimes enlist my kids into the projects to help add elements of chaos.

TI: Throughout the pandemic, you’ve created a weekly challenge to post one new work inspired by prompts from a well-known stock photo website. Your very first post was inspired by the brief: “No place like home: Customers will be searching for images of rooms that stand out from the norm, or are uniquely customized.” You describe this work as a response to that “overwhelming domestic intensity.” As an artist and parent working from home, can you expand on that phrase?

It can be a bit suffocating to be homebound, to have the mess of toys, dirty dishes, and laundry staring at you all day. It’s a trivial problem, really, but I get the sense that others have felt this pressure during the stay-at-home order as well. Being a parent of young kids during this time is definitely a challenge (and a blessing—I don’t get lonely). I was teaching online full-time while my partner and I tried to homeschool the kids and keep them entertained, with mixed results. Tidying up was not a priority most days. Overwhelming was one word for it. Normally we can escape our narrow view of our homes to go to work or even a coffee shop or library to collect our thoughts, to change our outlook. But we lack that option right now. So the floral patterns overwhelming the subject in the photo felt appropriate to recreate this domestic intensity. It also made me laugh to think about a character that might customize their home in this way…it almost could be real however, as I’ve experienced some intense floral décor in real homes.

TI: By putting a set of strict parameters around your current practice, do you feel like it has given you more freedom in how you approach image making? 

Definitely! Having parameters or rules helps me focus my thoughts and energy, and makes it more possible to move forward and actually make work. When everything is possible I get a deer-in-headlights immobilized feeling (I see this in my art students as well when an assignment is too open-ended). Setting those rules is part of the difficult creative work. We are all limited even outside of a pandemic event, by space, money, time, duties, etc. Continuing to produce work inside all these limits can lead to inventive and wonderful results.

TI: Can you talk more about how you’ve collaborated with your family in your current body work?

Well, we’re always around each other at home, so I feel like it’s almost inevitable that I enlist them into the portraits. Plus my model pool is limited since we’re trying to do social distancing! Involving them makes conceptual sense for some of my work, at least the pieces that are about motherhood or children’s experiences of the world. My current project inspired by stock photography has a variety of approaches, and I’ve used them as models (as well as photo-takers, letting them press the shutter button of the camera) in a few of the shoots. One was about home haircuts, and another about working remotely with children around. They are usually quite on board, eager to participate in the project—I wouldn’t use them otherwise. Though they don’t take specific direction that well however—they’re both goofballs so it’s incredibly hard to do a serious shot. That leads to some wonderful surprises however, since I don’t have total control!  

Portrait of figure with pine tree
Areca Roe, Tamarack, 2019, Lenticular 3D print

TI: Artists across the globe are collectively experiencing cancellations or postponements of opportunities. Your May exhibition, For Terrestrial Transect, was postponed at Rosalux Gallery. You had planned to show a series of lenticular 3D photographs featuring figures and floral backgrounds juxtaposed with native trees of Minnesota. You often use textiles as a tool for merging the natural and domestic world. Can you talk more about your fascination with lenticular photography and the importance of textiles in your work?

AR: I’ve been a little obsessed with 3D photography for years—I used a 1950s-era Stereo Realist camera to create Viewmaster-like images for some previous projects, so the lenticular prints are just a new extension of playing with 3D imagery. It appeals to me for many reasons—the history of 3D photography, the frozen-time effect, and the uncanniness of the images. The lenticular prints are odd because we most often encounter this technique in advertising and playful trinkets like bookmarks and magnets. So to me, the images also refer to these modes of communication. I was also aiming to create something photographic that could not be replicable easily online, that viewers would have to experience in person. There’s so much photography online that we quickly swipe past (I’m totally guilty of this as well), so I was interested in placing photos outside of the digital realm. The best laid plans… of course, the coronavirus hit, and all art viewing went online! Hoping to show the work someday.

For a previous project, called Housebroken, I photographed odd pets in people’s houses, and the domestic textiles and objects in the backgrounds ended up clashing with or enhancing the animals. This tension became fascinating to me. Nature motifs are so common in textiles, and I think it’s one way we attempt to recreate a tame and safe wilderness inside our homes. So to me, it represents our yearning for connections with nature. I used the floral fabric swaths in the lenticular images as a foil to the actual trees. I chose trees native to Minnesota such as Red Oak, Tamarack, and Sumac, and was thinking about how these trees’ habitats will be shifting as the climate changes over the next few decades/centuries. Tamaracks and other boreal trees will no longer be able to thrive in Minnesota (though red oaks likely will expand their range here). In my mind, the fabric textiles also represent our human influence on these trees. The figure (myself, since it was most convenient, also refers to my love of these trees) interacting with the trees also gets at this idea of being connected and intertwined with the natural world. In this case I needed a controlled studio setting to do the lenticular process, so the trees came into the studio. With other recent projects where I utilize textiles in the landscape, like Laboratory, I brought the fabric outside as a domestic element. It’s interesting how small and strange the textiles tend to look in the broad landscape. 

TI: As you continue to create work at home and prepare to teach in the coming fall, what advice do you have for students and emerging artists grappling with how to reimagine their creative practice during this time? 

Keep working! Even if your options are suddenly limited, and you don’t have the equipment you usually use, you can work with whatever materials make sense and just keep learning, growing, and maintaining that forward momentum. Artists are adaptive and flexible, and sensitive to the surroundings, that’s part of our strength. This moment, regarding both the pandemic and the fight for social justice, is important to respond to and to document. And art is one vital and visceral way to respond.

Areca received her MFA in Studio Arts, with an emphasis on photography, from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2011. She currently teaches photography at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Roe's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and she has been a member of Rosalux Gallery since 2015. Areca has also received several grants and fellowships in support of her work, including the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant and the Art(ists) on the Verge Fellowship. Her work has been featured on sites such as Colossal, Slate, National Geographic, Juxtapoz, WIRED, and Fast Company, and in Der Spiegel Wissen and Le Monde Hors Series magazines. Areca’s work was included in the 2011 MFA thesis exhibition, Everybody is an Astronaut and she was a co-organizer of the North American Graduate Art Survey (NAGAS), shown at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery that same year. Check out Areca's latest work on her Instagram and learn more about her practice at www.arecaroe.com.
In Memory of George Floyd
In Memory of George Floyd: A Statement from the Katherine E. Nash Gallery

On behalf of the Katherine E. Nash Gallery, operated by the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota, we add our voices to the collective expressions of sadness, grief, and outrage heard across our community, the country, and the world in memory of George Floyd.

We believe that a university art gallery can make a contribution in the struggle for racial equality and justice -- by showing and promoting the work of a wide variety of artists, including artists of color, and by increasing the dialogue in support of the artists and their work. The Katherine E. Nash Gallery aspires to be a center of discourse on the practice of visual art and its relationship to culture and community -- a place where we examine our assumptions about the past and suggest possibilities for the future. 

This powerful image of Sarah Vaughan by the great American photographer Hugh Bell will be included in the forthcoming exhibition A Picture Gallery of the Soul, planned for the Katherine E. Nash Gallery in 2021. The result of 5 years of curatorial research and planning, A Picture Gallery of the Soul will feature the work of African American artists from Minnesota and across the country whose practice incorporates the photographic medium, and will include diverse artistic perspectives from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

Photograph of Sarah Vaughan by Hugh Bell
Hugh Bell (1927-2012)
Sarah Vaughan, 1955
Lifetime Silver Gelatin Print
© The Estate of Hugh Bell

A Picture Gallery of the Soul will demonstrate that the history of American photography and the history of African American culture and politics are two interconnected histories. From the daguerreotypes made by Jules Lion in New Orleans in 1840, to the lectures on the possibilities of photography delivered by Frederick Douglass in the 1860s, to the iconic images of Jazz made in the 20th century, to the Instagram post of the Baltimore Uprising made by Devin Allen in 2015, photography has chronicled African American life and African Americans have defined the possibilities of photography. A Picture Gallery of the Soul will honor, celebrate, investigate and interpret Black history, culture and politics in America.

We believe that art can help us become more compassionate, better human beings. We dedicate our work to that belief.

Herman J. Milligan, Jr., Ph.D.

Howard Oransky
Exhibition Curators, A Picture Gallery of the Soul

Teréz Iacovino
Nash Gallery Assistant Curator

Our thanks to the family and Estate of Hugh Bell and Gartenberg Media.


From the Archive
View works from the archive featuring The House We Built: Feminist Art Then and Now.

Georgiana Kettler - Spirit House
Georgiana Kettler, Spirit House, 1981
Acrylic on shaped canvas
with wood and asphalt shingles
60 x 33 x 3 in.
Collection of Judy Schwartau

From January 22 - February 23, 2013, the Katherine E. Nash Gallery presented The House We Built: Feminist Art Then and Now, a series of exhibitions and public programs that explored the national network of feminist art activity that emerged in the 1970s and changed the course of contemporary art.

The exhibition in the Katherine E. Nash Gallery was curated by Joyce Lyon, Associate Professor Emerita of Drawing and Painting, and Howard Oransky, Director of the Nash Gallery. The exhibition was co-sponsored by the Department of Art, the Department of Art History, the Department of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies, and the University Libraries with support from the College of Liberal Arts Freshman Research and Creative Awards Program. 

Joyce Lyon prepared the following slideshow which can be accessed [here]. This presentation highlights the artist members of the WARM Gallery Collective, whose work was included in the Katherine E. Nash Gallery exhibition.

The related exhibition in the T.R. Anderson Gallery was curated by Deborah Boudewyns, Arts, Architecture and Landscape Architecture Librarian, and Christina Michelon, M.A. student in the Department of Art History. A concurrent exhibition of work by Department of Art emeritus faculty member Josephine Lutz Rollins (1896 – 1989) and the students who received the scholarship in her name was presented in the Quarter Gallery.  The exhibition was organized by Howard Oransky, Joe Sullivan, and the Josephine Lutz Rollins family.

Josephine Lutz Rollins (1896 - 1989) attended Cornell College in Iowa, the University of Minnesota, the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Hans Hoffman Studio in Munich. She was a founding member of the Stillwater Art Colony in 1933 and the Westlake Gallery, a women’s art collective, in 1965. Her teaching career at the University of Minnesota spanned nearly 40 years from 1927 - 1965. She was among the first faculty, and the first woman, hired to teach in the new Department of Art at the University of Minnesota, when it was created in 1947 and chaired by Harvey H. Arnason. Josephine taught and mentored countless students while helping to establish the study of studio art within the University of Minnesota curriculum. To honor the important legacy of her work as an artist, teacher, and mentor the Lutz Rollins family established the Josephine Lutz Rollins Fellowship in 1990.

Josephine Lutz Rollins - Collection of Works
Works by Josephine Lutz Rollins
Connect with Us

Collection of Nash instagram posts

Our galleries may be closed in response to COVID-19, but there are so many artists we still want to share with you! 
Connect with us on Instagram (@umn_nash) to see works by our incredible community during this unprecedented time.

Looking to catch up on your reading? Explore a variety of gallery publications including The Beginning of Everything: An Exhibition of Drawings, which is the accompanying publication to our recent drawing exhibiton featuring essays by: Melissa Cooke Benson, Minnesota based artist; Jeff Fleming, Director, Des Moines Art Center; JoAnn Gonzalez Hickey, Collector; Clarence Morgan, artist and Professor of Art at the University of Minnesota, and Howard Oransky, Director of the Katherine E. Nash Gallery. 

Planning Your Visit

The Gallery is closed in response to COVID-19 until further notice.

Contact Us
(612) 624-7530 | artdept@umn.edu

For press inquiries contact Howard Oransky, Gallery Director
horansky@umn.edu | (612) 624-6518

Gallery Hours
11:00 AM – 7:00 PM | Tuesday – Saturday

Regis Center for Art (East)
405 21st Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

We are accessible via Metro Transit Blue and Green lines and bus routes 2 and 7. Parking is available nearby on the street, at the 21st Avenue South ramp5th Street South lot, and 19th Avenue South ramp; hourly or event rates may apply. Exhibitions and related events are FREE and open to the public.

The Katherine E. Nash Gallery is a research laboratory for the practice and interpretation of the visual arts. We believe the visual arts have the capacity to interpret, critique and expand on all of human experience. Our engagement with the visual arts helps us to discover who we are and understand our relationships to each other and society. The Katherine E. Nash Gallery will be a center of discourse on the practice of visual art and its relationship to culture and community -- a place where we examine our assumptions about the past and suggest possibilities for the future. The Nash Gallery will play an indispensable role in the educational development of students, faculty, staff and the community.

Professor Katherine "Katy" E. Nash (1910–1982), a member of the Department of Art faculty from 1961–1976, proposed that the University of Minnesota Student Unions provide space and staffing for a university art gallery. The gallery bearing her name was founded in 1979. Originally located on the lower concourse of Willey Hall, the Minnesota Student Unions supervised the Nash Gallery until 1992 when the Department of Art assumed administration of the space. In the fall of 2003, the gallery moved to its current location in the Regis Center for Art. Learn more about Katy Nash here.

Past Exhibitions

Queer Forms exhibition graphic

Queer Forms 
September 10 – December 7, 2019

My Theory Is exhibition post card
My Theory Is...
May 7 – 16, 2019

MFA 2019 postcard image
The House | The Yard 
April 9 – 27, 2019

The Form Will Find Way postcard image
The Form Will Find Its Way:
Contemporary Ceramic Sculptural Abstraction

January 22 – March 30, 2019

On Purpose: Portrait of the Liberal Arts postcard image
On Purpose: Portrait of the Liberal Arts
September 12 – December 8, 2018

BFA 2018 postcard image
May 1 – 12, 2018

MFA 2018 postcard image
April 3 – 21, 2018

Politics of Weed postcard image
Politics of Weeds
February 20 – March 24, 2018

Land Body Industry postcard image
Land Body Industry
January 16 – February 10, 2018

World of Matter postcard image
World of Matter: Mobilizing Materialities
September 14 – December 9, 2017

Artist on the Verge 8 work by Kelsey Bosch
Art(ists) on the Verge 8
June 1 – July 15, 2017

BFA 2017 postcard image
Message Pending
May 2 – 13, 2017

MFA 2017 postcard image
Some Assembly Required
April 4 – 22, 2017

What I Think About postcard image
What I Think About
January 17 – March 25, 2017

The Women and Money Project
September 6 – December 10, 2016

Innovating Tradition: Contemporary Interpretations of Chinese Values​
June 1 - 24, 2016

***Subject to Change
May 3 – 14, 2016

is a loop. This
April 5 – 23, 2016

Free Radicals: Remixing History Through the Power of Print
February 24 – March 26, 2016

Singing Our History: People and Places of Red Lake Nation
January 19 – February 13, 2016

Covered in Time and History: The Films of Ana Mendieta
September 15 – December 12, 2015

re.con de.con
May 7-16, 2015

Underlined Action
April 7 – 25, 2015

The Longest Way Round is the Shortest Way Home: James Henkel & Joyce Lyon
February 24 – March 28, 2015

January 20 - February 14, 2015

thinking making living
Semptember 2 - December 14, 2014

The Audible Edge
May 27 - June 21, 2014

Brown Study
April 8-26, 2014

From Beyond the Window
February 25 - March 29, 2014

Made in Minnesota
January 21 - February 15, 2014

Regis 10th Anniversary: Faculty Exhibitions
October 22 - December 14, 2013

Two Prospective Retrospectives: Lynn A. Gray & Wayne E. Potratz
September 3 - October 12, 2013

From Space to Place
May 28 - June 15, 2013

May 7-18, 203

Human Pyramid
April 9-27, 2013

Allen Downs Life and Work: Winter Quarter in Mexico
March 5-30, 2013

The House We Built: Feminist Art Then and Now
January 22 - February 23, 2013

Minnesota Funk
December 4 - January 12, 2013

Mountains Were Oceans
March 27 - April 14, 2012