Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

An artist unafraid of color October 24, 2010

THIS WEEKEND, BETWEEN shopping (twice) for a door and windows, choosing a baby gift for my expected great nephew, running to the library, sorting through paintings crammed in a storage unit, attending church and celebrating an acquaintance’s 80th birthday, I squeezed in a Sunday afternoon tour of six Rice County art studios. They were among 14 on the South Central Minnesota October Studio arTour and Sale.

As always, I carried my camera. But unlike always, I was unable to photograph whatever interested me. Artists can be a bit touchy about having their work photographed. So I asked before I shot and respected their requests to either photograph or not photograph their creations.

In the next several days, I’ll take you inside five studios and show you some diverse art. No matter your tastes, you certainly have to appreciate the creativity of these talented individuals.

I’ll start this mini tour with the most unusual art I viewed. I knew immediately from the name, Right Brain Ventures Art, that I would discover something totally different by Barb Matz, a mixed media artist.  And I did.

A sign on a Division Street sidewalk directs visitors to Right Brain Ventures Art in downtown Northfield.

Along with colorful mannequins, artfully posed in her studio windows, this Northfield artist creates art with strips of painted paper. She cuts the paper to fit outlines she’s drawn. Her pieces focus on different cultures and she interplays shadows and light in her work.

Now if I could have, I would have photographed these fine, patterned faces of the world. But Barb requested that I not. She did, however, graciously allow me to photograph one of her can’t-miss, bold mannequins. (Thank you, Barb.)

Walking down the sidewalk to Barb's studio, I photographed this mannequin, one of three, peering out of a studio window.

The same mannequin, backside, from inside Right Brain Ventures Art.

A close-up shows the details of pattern and the bold colors.

Two other things you should know about Barb:

I snapped this image of Barb Matz through her studio window.

FYI: You can visit Barb’s studio at 220 Division St. South in historic downtown Northfield to see everything I can’t show you here.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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