With the drop of flowing watercolor paint, luminous colors spread out like thoughts, emerging into the world as tangible works of art.
Representing the past, present and future of things to come, all of these elements are encapsulated in one painting, Ona Kingdon’s “Distant Dreams,” one of the 50 pieces included in the Red River Watercolor Society’s 2020 National Juried Watermedia Exhibition.
“Our art is our dream, and in this dream we often dwell on our thoughts,” Kingdon says.
In her artist statement for a painting pondering a little girl with her mind on nature, Kingdon expresses messages of hope that future generations will be able to grow up in the beauty of the natural world, not a distant dream.
Including pieces by celebrated watermedia artists from the Fargo-Moorhead area and beyond, the popular exhibition is on display now inside the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County’s fourth-floor gallery of the Hjemkomst Center, 202 First Ave. N., in downtown Moorhead.
An in-person reception will begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 28. Additional safety measures will be in place to comply with COVID-19 regulations and limit attendance to the first 42 guests who register online. A brief tour will also be streamed live on HCSCC’s Facebook page (facebook.com/hcscc) starting at 7 p.m.
While the annual exhibition maintains an exceptionally high caliber of art, this year presented many challenges for organizers.
“This was my first year as chair of the exhibition, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into it — and, of course, that was before COVID-19 and having those types of concerns to deal with,” says Falan Hehr-Miller, a member of the RRWS.
While some pieces accepted to the show weren’t able to ship in time for the exhibition, such as Ontario-based artist Ona Kingdon, the historical society has made all artwork available online in conjunction with their reopening to regular hours every day from noon to 5 p.m. (opening is 9 a.m. on Saturdays).
As the winner of the top prize in last year’s RRWS exhibition, Ken Call serves as the juror of selection and awards this year, picking just 50 works from a total of 180 submissions.
Born and raised in Rochelle, Ill., Call studied at the American Academy of Art and graduated in 1980 with an associate degree in illustration and watercolor. He has worked as a freelance artist nationally for many years.
Call had the task of choosing which pieces to include in the 2020 exhibition, with works ranging from landscapes to people, flora and fauna, and abstract works.
Fargo-based artist Karen Bakke’s work, “Breathe You In,” ponders the beauty of a female horse, with its muscles flexed, ears perked forward and eyes wide open.
“I strive to capture their personality and what they may be communicating to us,” says Bakke about her works featuring animals, often painting the surroundings reflected in their pupils.
One of the few international submissions, Chin Chian Lee’s piece called “Is Time to Go Home” focuses on the daily routines and lifestyle of his home country, Malaysia. The work focuses on reproducing familiar objects from the country while merging with childhood memories.
The complete exhibition can be found online at hcscconline.org. Voting for the People’s Choice Award will be open until the reception and award ceremony on Tuesday.
What: Red River Watercolor Society’s 2020 National Juried Watermedia Exhibition
When: 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, July 28
Where: Hjemkomst Center, 202 First Ave. N., Moorhead
Info: Annual reception will be limited to first 42 guests to register online; 7 p.m. program will also be streamed live on HCSCC’s Facebook page; facebook.com/hcscc.
This article is part of a content partnership with the Fargo Forum and appeared online on Monday, July 27, 2019.