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  • I know you are decidingThat the body’s a question: What do you believe in? Hold that last line in your mind, because this question, with which an early poem about her mother’s illness ends, has ripples throughout Tracy K. Smith’s work. She tries out various responses to the query in her three highly acclaimed collections -- God, love, sex, compassion, life after death, aliens, entropy, David Bowie. And these are all right answers. Smith’s first book, The Body’s Question, takes its titl…
  • I know you are decidingThat the body’s a question: What do you believe in? Hold that last line in your mind, because this question, with which an early poem about her mother’s illness ends, has ripples throughout Tracy K. Smith’s work. She tries out various responses to the query in her three highly acclaimed collections -- God, love, sex, compassion, life after death, aliens, entropy, David Bowie. And these are all right answers. Smith’s first book, The Body’s Question, takes its titl…
  • Susan Deborah King’s third collection of poetry centers around her experiences as a breast cancer survivor. In her preface to the book, she explains its division into three sections, Nigredo, Albedo, and Rubedo, terms Jung borrowed from the ancient pseudo-science of alchemy to describe the transformative nature of psychoanalysis. The journey of the psychoanalyst’s client (King herself has worked as a psychotherapist) is like the journey of the woman diagnosed with breast cancer: from fear and …
  • This show is spectacular in every sense. The large canvases in it are all fairly new, created over the past ten years by an artist who began painting as a young man but who is now enjoying his first museum show, hosted by the Tweed Museum of Art. Rabbett Before Horses Strickland is a figurative painter in the Western European tradition that harks back to Renaissance artists like Michelangelo and Botticelli, whose influence he is quick to acknowledge. Indeed, Strickland’s muscular, sculptural fi…
  • AT THE BEGINNING OF FEBRUARY, THE SECOND ANNUAL Ten Artists, One Weekend exhibition winked in and out of existence at Duluth’s Washington Studios Gallery. A wide-ranging body of work came together briefly under one roof, leaving an impression on the viewer’s mind like the ghost of a camera’s flash. Eric Dubnicka wears many hats: a practicing artist, he is also Preparator at the Tweed Museum of Art. And he’s a resident of Washington Studios, an elementary school which, in 1992, was converted …
  • I MET THOMAS MARMA, A PARTICIPANT IN THE DULUTH ART INSTITUTE’s new exhibition, From Out of the Flames, shortly after he moved to the area. To all appearances a scruffy college student, he carried something in the pouch of his sweatshirt that was about the shape and size of a Nalgene bottle. In fact, that’s what I assumed it was, until he pulled it out and it was revealed to be a vase he’d blown the previous evening, slender and elegant in intense purple. Marma’s colors are unabashed: blues …
  • ONE DAY IN 1997 MARYA HORNBACHER RIFLES THROUGH the phone book, looking for a psychiatrist. Any psychiatrist. She settles on a Dr. Beedle. “A man named Beedle,” she reasons, “can’t be all bad.” Later that day, Hornbacher perches on a chair in Dr. Beedle’s office.           “What brings you here today?” he asks.          “I’m going crazy.”          “Well, don’t beat around the bush,” he says. “Jump right in.” Hornbacher’s new memoir abides by that maxim. Madness: A…
  • MUCH OF ANN LEDY’S ARTWORK EXISTS IN BETWEEN—between drawing and collage, between sculpture and installation. Often, too, it hovers between dimensions. A series of steel plates embedded in a wall, 1995’s untitled 7 casts pointy shadows like the teeth of a saw. Arranging shadows on floors and walls is one of Ledy’s methods of drawing. Images are, of course, visible only because of the action of light absorbed or reflected. But rarely is light the actual medium of a work of art. So what is…
  • GLANCE TO THE LEFT AS YOU WALK INTO ISP (INDIVIDUAL SERVICE PLAN): New Work by Robb Quisling and you will spot woodcuts depicting domestic scenes in muted primary colors, images that will do nothing to prepare you for what is to come. Enter the main gallery space, and you are confronted with shocking color: lurid yellows, greens and purples that resolve themselves, after a moment, into photographs of -- yes, you thought right -- prophylactic Jell-o molds. A woman's hands, her fingernails painted…
  •   The indefatigable Chris Monroe continues to publish her "Violet Days" comic strip every week--this alongside designing logos (Will o' the Wisp Books), album covers (Duluth Does Dylan), posters for special events (Duluth's 2006 gay pride parade, for example), storefronts (Robin Goodfellow's in downtown Duluth), and, of course, tee shirts. There is a Chris Monroe tee for everyone, whether they favor her flattering portrayal of downtown Duluth's notorious Cozy Bar, or perhaps the more salubrious…