MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Minnesota textile artist and storyteller Blair Treuer’s solo exhibition, “Portraits: An Identity Exploration,” will be on view at Minot State University’s Northwest Arts Center from November 3 through December 1.
“My children’s participation in a traditional Native American ceremony required me to make blankets as a part of their offering. As these blankets were made as a spiritual offering, the process was very spiritual for me,” she said. “Because it was the only way I could contribute as a non-native woman, I poured everything I had into those offerings.”
The blankets pictorially depicted the Native American names given to her children when they were born.
After a decade of creating ceremonial blankets for private ceremonies, Treuer transitioned to creating a series of portraits in 2018.
As the only white person in her Indigenous family, the pieces are a reflection of an outsider and depict what she sees.
“Portraits: An Identity Exploration” features 11 large-scale textile wall hangings representing each member of the artist’s immediate family.
The collection explores intimate parts of their life and center on a juxtaposition between her white culture and her husband’s Ojibwe culture.
Treuer states that he husband’s work as an educator, culture-bearer, spiritual leader, and activist has influenced her own artwork and expanded her personal view.
The artist’s portraits have received several awards and have been included in nearly 50 gallery exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad in Calgary, Alberta; Milan; Madrid; Venice; Italy; Tokyo; Paris; and Istanbul.
She is the recipient of a Region 2 Arts Council Fellowship Award and a 2022 McKnight Fellowship Award.
“I see myself as an innovator reimagining what it means to work with fabric. I want to inspire a new wave of exploratory work in this field and be one of the catalysts pushing this medium forward into gallery spaces and in arts education,” she said. “Because I am self-taught, my approach to textile portraits is unique. The images are often confused with painting until experienced in person.”
A public reception and online viewing of “Portraits: An Identity Exploration” are scheduled for Thursday, November 3 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Northwest Arts Center.
Both exhibition and reception are free and open to the public, and Treuer will be speaking about her work and the exhibit at 7 p.m.
Masks are not required, but individuals who are not fully vaccinated or deemed vulnerable are encouraged to continue to wear masks.
She will also participate in the Art Seminar Speaker Series on Friday, November 4 at 12 p.m. in Memorial Hall Room 114 on Minot State’s campus.
While at the Northwest Arts Center, the exhibition will be available for viewing Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday 1-5 p.m. The Center is closed on holidays.
The Walter Piehl Gallery is located on the lower level of the Gordon B. Olson Library at Minot State University, with its own entrance on the south side of the library.
The exhibition and related events are free and open to the public.