Rising from the depths of an all-white studio in the basement of the Rourke Art Gallery + Museum comes new work by Annette DuBord.
Entitled “It’s Always Something,” the lithography prints mark the beginning of an exciting next step for the artist. Opening to the public on Friday, Sept. 6, the exhibition will be the first for DuBord with works created in a new studio space at the Rourke, 521 Main Ave.
While the physical space that once held a boiler room and served as storage space got a face-lift, the overflow of printmaking clutter there now indicates the creative juices have already started flowing throughout the new home of Funhouse Press.
“I’m sure if Jim O’Rourke was still alive, he’d be down there all the time saying, ‘What are you doing… ohhh wow,’” says DuBord. “Jim was a printmaker himself and he did it with a wooden spoon! He was such a wonderful presence, and gosh he was funny, too. The Rourke has always been a huge part of my life, and now to have our studio here is such an amazing opportunity.”
DuBord first became involved with the museum and gallery when she was encouraged to purchase a student membership. Soon after, she met up with O’Rourke for lunch at the former Sarello’s restaurant in downtown Moorhead and eventually exhibited her first work called “Fanity.” It featured a big-bottomed lady that would become a staple of her artistic subject matter at the start of her career.
Now using a technique called polymer plate lithography, DuBord’s recent thoughts are spun up into ephemeral lines that find a soothing harmony in black and white. Over and over and around again, the images mutate into universal tokens of serenity, turmoil, life and hunger.
“I tend to ramble, and that fits right in with the theme of this show,” DuBord jokes.
Yet as random as her thoughts may seem at first, they all somehow find a way to come back full circle. While her lightheartedness peeked through in previous works, DuBord’s newest efforts invite viewers to wade a bit deeper into swirls of consternation.
DuBord may have been an older-than-average student when she first found her calling at Minnesota State University Moorhead’s School of Art, but her present works utilize innovative techniques and a little do-it-yourself mentality.
With her face up close against the glass of a previous piece of art she created, DuBord exclaims, “That’s a good tusche” — referring to the type of toner wash she uses to achieve such a gripping texture.
In a discipline so particular that spellcheck doesn’t even recognize certain printmaking verbiage, DuBord’s formal training at MSUM transitioned into finding new ways to print from books, colleagues, mentors and workshops.
“Printmakers love process. We have a lot of patience because our work is done backwards,” DuBord says. “Printmakers like to work in groups, too. You have these workshops and everything is done in a group. Frogman’s is one that is just a life-changing week.”
While she initially dragged her feet, DuBord’s partner and fellow Funhouse Press printmaker, Cameron Peterson, insisted she attend the Frogman’s workshop earlier this year in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and even paid her way. The transformational workshop included teachings from Katherine Polk, whose work can be seen in collections around the world.
Now armed with a new perspective on the craft she’s continually refined, DuBord has surrendered to the unconscious hand, an innate artfulness that’s been awakened by a love for creating in the moment.
“I used to always do what I thought I should be doing, the figurative work, art with a huge statement or a protest,” DuBord says. “I could do that, but I started doing this and I was so relaxed and I really had fun making these prints.”
“It’s Always Something” will open alongside Chris Mortenson’s “Tumulus” at the Rourke Art Gallery + Museum this Friday. The Rourke is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.
What: “It’s Always Something” exhibit opening
When: Members’ preview 6-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6; public opening 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, with a 2 p.m. artist talk
Where: The Rourke Art Gallery + Museum, 521 Main Ave., Moorhead
Info: Exhibit is up through Oct. 13; www.therourke.org
This article is part of a content partnership with the Fargo Forum and appeared in print on Monday September 2, 2019.