The work of photographer, filmmaker, producer and director, Keri Pickett, will be up for display starting September 16th at MSUM’s Roland Dille Art Gallery. With work published in national publications throughout her career and a life-time achievement award from her alma mater, the exhibition will feature photographs as well as etchings and watercolors that traverse her career as an artist.
“I’m hoping that this show will widen the breadth of inspiration of my work,” said Picket. Starting with photography, she was inspired by her uncle Roy Blakey (age 89), a former professional figure skater and career photographer. With work on display ranging from the 1980’s through the early 2000’s, Pickett has produced films and books all drawing back to her passions for family, as well as activism and some big-name stars.
“I always wanted to be a filmmaker, but it took the passion I had for my uncle and thinking his story is important and never been told,” said Pickett about her film, The Fabulous Ice Age. “My first film took me almost eight years. It was a gradual transition and I really had to teach myself. Every step I did was new. Filmmaking is really one of the most complex arts and I wanted to challenge myself.”
A free screening of Pickett’s film First Daughter and the Black Snake will take place on October 5th at 3:00 p.m. at MSUM’s Glasrud Auditorium to accompany the exhibition. The film tells the story of Winona LaDuke who is forced to fight a proposed oil pipeline that threatens her sacred wild rice territory. She must spring into action and defend clean water with treaties, slow food and spiritual horse rides.
“I wanted people to care about Winona so they could see these issues through her eyes from from an indigenous perspective,” said Pickett. “The film has a lot of intimacy and shows Winona’s trust in me. She didn’t even see the film until it was finished. I think that issues are very important, but people care more about people, or they can understand or take in and personalize for themselves an issue much more when it’s presented presented through someone else’s life.”
Pickett has made a living as commercial artists for big-name publications, yet she chose not to show any of her commercial work in the exhibition. Instead, the work has a more sentimental appeal.
“The reason I’m including the overview is to show that coming from the school of art, my concentration was in photography, but did other work like watercolors and pastels,” said Pickett. “I’m displaying those works for the very first time to show that even though I identify as a photographer, I still like to do works on paper and encourage students to always keep creating because a lot of people lose their art when they turn their art into their profession.”
It’s hard to truly understand how much Pickett’s has been influenced by her passions, yet in every one of her photographs, there’s a distinct eye that informs the viewer how much she truly cares about the subjects she captures. Through this retrospective lens, it’s clear that her artistic direction has developed alongside her love of family.
“People and concepts that you’re drawn to in your early career are going to set the tone and it’s something that you not only develop, it develops you. It will inform the direction of your life. I’ve had a couple of young people helping me with my show and one thing they were surprised at is how you have to really work your personal work.”
Another huge impact on her career was art history professor, Dr. Virginia Barsch, who first taught Pickett the the role art plays in history.
“The value of a good professor can not be overstated,” said Pickett. “That woman changed my life and taught me that artists create the lasting legacy of our history. Artists are historians, and I don’t think I would have understood that without studying art history, or being activated by art history.”
Colloquium Talk: Monday, September 16, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. at the Center for Business room 109 Opening Reception: Thursday, September 19 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Film Screening of First Daughter and the Black Snake: Saturday, October 5 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Glasrud Auditorium, Weld Hall. A discussion and reception will follow the screening. Closing Reception: Saturday, October 5 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a brief talk from Keri around 5:30 p.m.
Mark your calendar for Keri Pickett’s upcoming exhibition by visiting our events page here.