Central Lakes College Art Gallery presents, The Unchosen Ones, artwork by R. J. Kern. As a Minneapolis based photographer, R. J. Kern’s work explores animal portraiture as it relates to ideas of home, ancestry, and a sense of place. This exhibition showcases the beauty and spirit of county fair animals often chosen as last place in the lineup. The portraits invite us to examine the predilection to pick winners and the implications for those not chosen. The project consists of over 60 portraits made at 10 Minnesota county fairs in 2016. Kern is interested in an animal’s domesticity and explores the following within his work: what makes a goat, sheep or ram? How have we influenced their evolution? What are they becoming? The question concerns why and how we have created this relationship with other species is a relationship that reflects intensively on humanity. This body of work contributes to the cultural heritage of the region and community, by documenting the state’s cultural heritage tied to the value of and kinship we share with domesticated animals and the pastoral landscape, and by inviting the conversation examining our predilection to pick winners and the implications for those not chosen.
A gallery talk will accompany the exhibition and be held on Thursday, February 2 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. Visitors will be invited to select a winner by voting for their favorite image before the conversation begins. The talk will consist of a two way exploration of the decision making that goes into selecting a winner, what are the criteria, what about those not chosen, what are they lacking. Conversations might also include how we do this in our everyday lives – choose winners, leaving others unchosen, and the ramifications of this in our relationships with the human animals in our lives. Then everyone will be invited to choose a winner again. There isn’t a right or wrong, but it will be interesting to see if the results change after more consideration.
An artist’s reception will follow the artist talk on Thursday, February 2, from 4:00 – 7:00 pm. This exhibition is free and open to the public. The exhibition is on display through February 17, and is open to the public Monday – Friday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
J. Kern is a fiscal year 2016 Recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Central Lakes College Art Gallery is located at Central Lakes College (Brainerd Campus), #E422, 501 West College Drive, Brainerd, MN, 56401.