USED | Rachel Breen, Heather M. Cole and Shana Kaplow

USED | Rachel Breen, Heather M. Cole and Shana Kaplow

Artistry presents Used, an exhibition that brings together sculptural and wall installations by Rachel Breen, Heather M. Cole, and Shana Kaplow.

Made from reclaimed and new materials, their works speak to how we use materials and how they also “use” us. This exhibition offers space for reflection and introspection about our relationship to what we consume, and its personal and collective impact.  

Rachel Breen’s assemblages of used clothing call attention to the human labor present in the clothes we wear. Used textiles are potent materials with which to scrutinize overconsumption, careless discarding, and tolerance for the labor conditions under which our clothes are made in the first place. Through acts of dismantling and remaking, the process of making the work points to the need to create more just and sustainable systems. Rachel aims to cultivate visions of solidarity and collective power.

Heather M. Cole’s work revolves around the reuse of materials, often plastic consumer packaging. These items can be intriguing and even beautiful – the production of engineering and mechanics. Frequently, the packaging left behind is more interesting and costly than the object it originally contained – even more costly in the sense that it is usually unnecessary and contributes to an impending environmental reckoning. In creating these large-scale, sculptural constructions, Heather hopes to inspire the viewer to reflect on personal action and creative solutions in their daily lives.

Inspired by her late father’s solar power research in the 1970s, Shana Kaplow’s work considers energy production and consumption in the face of both personal and environmental loss. The exhibition features a blown glass, parabolic mirror that tracks the sun, and luminous paintings that evoke sunlight, crude oil, power lines, and the body. In her current work, Shana uses a range of materials such as reclaimed wood, steel, and paint in an improvisational process exploring grief, precarity, transformation, and renewal.

About the Artists:

Rachel Breen’s work has been shown widely across the country and internationally. Her exhibitions include a solo exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in 2020. Her exhibition, The Price of Our Clothes,” at the Perlman Museum, was Included in the top 20, best of 2018, exhibitions in the US by Hyperallergic (December 20, 2018). Rachel was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to India in 2022 and has been awarded artist residencies at MacDowell, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and in 2024 will be an artist in residence at Willapa Bay. Rachel is an inaugural recipient of the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship, has received four Minnesota State Arts Board grants, and a fellowship from the Walker Art Center Open Field. Rachel’s social engagement projects have been presented across the state including two projects commissioned for Northern Spark, a public art festival addressing climate change in Minnesota. Rachel holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota and a BA from The Evergreen State College.  She lives in Minneapolis, MN, maintains an active studio practice, and is a Professor of Art at Anoka Ramsey Community College.

Heather M. Cole’s art practice is informed by her education in both science and art, a lifelong interest in textiles, and a career in the retail supply chain. She uses the particular media of discarded plastics as a reaction and response to the ubiquitous presence of plastics in modern life. Heather has created site-specific work for local music festivals in St. Paul and participated in Hennepin Theatre Trust Made Here windows projects, FUTURE, ENERGY, and DETOURS themes. She has exhibited locally at The Phipps in Hudson, Minnesota State Fair Eco Experience, Rosedale Center, and Public Functionary Wintertide 2019 where her work received a People’s Choice Award. Permanent work can be seen at Springboard the Arts offices in St. Paul and the Schewe Library at Illinois College. Recipient of two Minnesota State Arts Board grants and the Forecast Public Art Making It Public grant, Heather has set up her studio outside, in public, to interact directly with concertgoers to exchange ideas about creative thinking and creative reuse of everyday objects.

Shana Kaplow is a St. Paul-based artist who has exhibited nationally and internationally at museums and galleries including The Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Tianjin Museum of Art, The Asheville Museum of Art, The Soap Factory, Dreamsong Gallery, 55 Mercer Gallery, Franklin Art Works, and Weinstein Gallery. Her video work has also been screened at The Walker Art Center, and the Austro-Sino Arts Program in Beijing, China. She has been awarded The Joan Mitchell Foundation Artists Grant for Painters and Sculptors, the Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship, the McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowship, the MN State Arts Board, and the Arts Midwest/NEA fellowship. She has been an artist in residence at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, The Red Gate International Art Residency in Beijing, China, Grand Marais Art Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, and will be a 2024 artist in residence at Yaddo and Vashon Island Artist Residencies. She received her MFA from The Maryland Institute, College of Art, Mount Royal School of Art, and a BA from Connecticut College. Shana is a Professor Emeritus of 2D Media and Interdisciplinary Studies at St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, and is currently Associate Director of Artist Development at Public Functionary in Minneapolis, MN.

Gallery Hours: Monday - Friday: 8:00 am-10:00 pm

Saturday: 9:00 am-10:00 pm

Sunday: 12:00 pm-6:00 pm

Image: “Apparatus for Grieving: Collector” by Shana Kaplow detail, 2024, blown glass, silver nitrate, ink and acrylic on paper. Photo credit: Rik Sferra 

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