Seeing Plants

Seeing Plants

MCAD presents Seeing Plants curated by Regan Golden-McNerney.

Plants are integral to life in Minnesota, from the foods we eat, to the medicines we need. Leafy green spaces provide respite for our senses, in addition to mitigating the effects of flooding, pollution, and extreme heat. For thousands of years, people in Minnesota have protected, harvested, and preserved plants in order to survive. This exhibition takes place on the contemporary and ancestral land of the Dakotah, these lands were stolen from the Dakotah by white settlers because of the valuable plants and rich biodiversity that exists here. Despite the role of plants in the history of Minnesota and their continued importance to daily life, plants are often relegated to the scenic backdrop: sunflowers lining the highway on the busy morning commute to work and oak trees framing our view of the city as the sunsets. We tend to our families, our students, our jobs while the landscape around us evolves through the seasons. But as the effects of climate change intensify, plants are increasingly becoming part of the foreground once again. 

If plants sustain us every day, why don’t we see plants? Artists and art institutions have a significant role to play in making plants more visible. The challenge is to represent plants in a way that defies objectification and instead celebrates plants as beings who actively construct our shared environment. Through the use of vibrant color and organic materials each artist in this exhibition celebrates the ingenuity and vivacity of plants as deeply connected to the human experience. Each of the artists in this exhibition seeks to build a relationship to plants through their artistic practices. These artists make visible the role plants play in the construction of identity through their relationship to family histories and particular places. Due to the cross-cultural history of plants, plants also tell stories of displacement, exploitation and resilience. Histories are made visible by showing how plants traverse across cultures and landscapes throughout time. Today our ability to thrive in a time of rapidly changing climate more than ever demands on our ability to protect and nourish plants. 

Participating Artists:

Miriam Dubinsky
Regan Golden-McNerney
Ian Hanesworth
Jess Hirsch
Lokho Kotile
Sarah Nassif
Lisa Philander
Nicole Sara Simpkins
Chholing Taha 

Gallery Hours:

Monday–Friday 9:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.

Saturday 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. 

All visitors must enter through the north (main) entrance, sign in at the welcome desk in the main lobby, and stay in designated areas. For more information or any disability accommodations, please contact MCAD Gallery staff at 612.874.3367 or

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