Frozen Music by Anna Boyer Bredeson

Bredeson Artwork

Anna Boyer Bredeson

May 12 – August 7, 2016

Bredeson explores the relationship between musical notation and heard vocal song through thread installations that act as visual interpretations of a choral piece. Loosely based on traditional bookbinding stitches, these thread drawings are based on the written score as well as the composer’s conceptual ideas.

Maria Cristina Tavera – Artist Statement & Bio

Artist Statement:

During the17th and early 18th century, the Spanish coined the term “Casta” to refer to the categorization of mixed ethno-racial heritage occurring during colonization. This complex caste system was created when whites (Spanish/españoles) began marrying and having children with non-whites (Indigenous and African ancestries) in the “New World.” The purpose was to define lineage pertaining to “purity of blood” intended for racial hierarchy. Paintings and charts were created to explain the different categories of race.

The installation questions societal constructs of racial categorization that continues to some degree today. The United States government struggles with identifying and quantifying those of Latin American descent. The Census tries to capture the information by classifying race and ethnicity as separate categories but is challenged on how to document those who are mixed. Terminology on how to define those of Latin American ancestry in the U.S. also varies greatly and can change depending on the region or the individual.

As a person of mixed race who considers herself Mexican-American or Latina, my interest is to explore the past concepts of Casta and the contemporary typological concepts of racial identity. My project is NOT meant to define how people should be classified, but instead to explore how people of Latin American diaspora express their own identity. My hope is that the work will inspire conversations about these historical references and what unifies Latinos today.

Artist Bio:

Maria Cristina Tavera, AKA “Tina” is an artist, curator, researcher, and advocate for equal access to opportunities. Her bilingual / bicultural upbringing between Mexico and Minnesota has greatly influenced her work experience, writing and visual art practice. The artwork focuses on issues related to race, gender, ethnicity and culture. Tavera has a Masters in Public Affairs- Leadership in the Arts from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School. She has received fellowships and scholarships from the Archibald Bush Foundation, the Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies program, the Museum of Modern Art-New York, and the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (IME). Tavera has exhibited locally and nationally including the National Mexican Museum, the Walker Art Center, the Weisman Art Museum and the Plaines Museum. Her work is in private and public collections such as the Weisman Art Museum and the Plaines Art Museum. Her writings have been published nationally and internationally by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, as well as a book titled, Mexican Pulp Art.

Reconfiguring Casta by Maria Cristina Tavera

Reconfiguring Casta


February 29 – March 31, 2016
Reception: March 2, 4 – 7 p.m.

Exhibition Essay by Mia Lopez

This site-specific installation combines prints and paintings to address the social concept of race, socio-racial classifications, and the contemporary evolution of concepts regarding identity. Artist Statement & Bio

This exhibition is organized as part of the Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover. From January to March 2016 the Takeover will include over twenty arts and cultural organizations in Minneapolis/St. Paul and surrounding cities. From small non-profit art centers to major cultural institutions in the region, these partners will be highlighting gender and racial inequalities, taking on stereotypes and hypocrisies, and promoting artistic expression by the often overlooked and underrepresented. Join the collective roar for change at

Christensen Center Art Gallery | Directions – map
Hours : M – F, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.



Q & A with J.M. Culver

J.M. CulverDescribe your creative process. How do you get started? Do you ever face an artist’s block? If so, what do you do to avoid/get out of it?

I like to work on multiple pieces at a time. If I feel stuck, I can just move on to the next. Each painting helps inform the other. It’s always interesting to see how it develops as a whole. I don’t have an artist’s block in terms of coming up with ideas for my work, but I have issues with motivation. It’s hard to always feel motivated in the studio on a daily basis. I think the most important thing is to find a theme that you really care about and can connect with. I think you have to remind yourself that it’s okay to make a bad painting. Just get up and paint. If it’s bad, then you can paint over it, try the same idea in a different way, or just move on to the next idea. The longer you procrastinate, the harder it is to go over to the canvas.

How many hours a week do you set aside to be in the studio?

I’m a full time artist so I work daily in my studio, including studio work and marketing. When I have a large project or overlapping deadlines, I work during the day and night with just a nap in between so I can efficiently utilize all my time. I work on both personal projects and commissions throughout the year.

What are studio practices you recommend to emerging artists?

For emerging artists, I highly recommend keeping a specific studio schedule. It’s a lot harder to motivate yourself to work in the studio when you are an independent artist. You have to make your own schedule and deadlines. Even if you have an outside job, set specific days and hours to be in the studio. Create project outlines and to-do lists. I personally like to use an annual planner for my yearly goals and break it down into monthly, weekly, and daily to-do lists. I also keep a dry erase board for the month and have my phone calendar to remind me of deadlines. I’d also recommend reading articles and books on marketing and the business of entrepreneurship. A former professor once said to me “There are 24 hours in a day; make it work!”

What challenges do you face when starting a new project?

I spend a lot of time researching and writing out my ideas in my visual journals. I have a new journal/sketchbook for every project to keep things organized and to revisit old ideas. It’s very helpful, especially if you work on multiple projects in your studio. I spend more time writing than I do sketching. I do basic sketches of my ideas and for the compositions. I don’t like to plan all the details or the work doesn’t feel fresh when I start on the canvas. For large work, I hire someone else to build my stretchers and do the prep work. Sometimes I’ll start paintings pinned to the wall, then I’ll figure out the specific size and have the stretchers made. Delegating the prep work allows more time for my painting and marketing.

Through your exploration of memory, are there any themes that tend to resurface in terms of how you express a certain situation/feeling/memory?

A lot of my work pieces together fragments of memories that I find connect with one another. Some of these fragments and images have become part of my own visual language and resurface in new work. I think that they can start to create a new narrative and possibly a new interpretation of the original memory or experience. Sometimes these characters and objects seem to take on a life of their own in the work where things come out on a more subconscious level. Sometimes it takes the viewer to even point these things out to me, or I step back and discover it after the piece is finished.

What new projects or exhibitions are you looking forward to next?

I’m looking forward to my work being in the Christie’s Auction at MCAD in May. I also have some commission projects lined up. My grant project has sparked a lot of ideas for future paintings and drawings. I’m looking forward to continuing to explore my current theme and see how it develops this coming year with both drawings and paintings.

J.M. Culver stands next to an artwork

Questions by Gallery Intern Johanna Goggins.


J.M. Culver Painting

January 11 – March 23, 2016

Reception: January 22, 6 – 8 p.m.

Large-scale paintings by J. M. Culver reconstruct the past and explore new perspectives in generational storytelling with narratives that vary from the mundanity, absurdity, gravity, and humor of life. These intimate paintings take a look into the transitory nature of memory, inconsistency of perspective with mental illness, and the ownership of stories and secrets.

Artist Statement: My paintings reconstruct the past and explore new perspectives with generational storytelling. They are personal interpretations of my grandfather’s stories, both lucid memories and surreal moments skewed by his altered mental states from schizophrenia. My large-scale paintings explore the transitory nature of memory, the ownership of stories and secrets, and the inconsistency of perspective with mental illness. These narratives depict scenes that range from mundanity, absurdity, gravity, Continue reading “WHERE BACK WHEN by J.M. Culver”