Flourish: Marjolein Dallinga & Jantje Visscher, a Jodi Lundgren curated exhibition, opens today at South Dakota Art Museum and runs through Aug. 4. As the museum’s Curator of Exhibits, Lundgren is adept at identifying and connecting artists and works with contrasting styles and mediums tied together through common themes and sources of inspiration.
In Flourish, visitors experience Marjolein Dallinga’s intriguing felted sculptural works displayed alongside Jantje Visscher’s dazzling drawings in light. Together, the vibrancy of light and shadow, color and material, and organic patterns take center stage. United through the drama and beauty of organic unfolding, these works provide a magical view of natural forms.
Dallinga’s felted forms emphasize color and the physicality of material while Visscher’s light drawings emphasize the immateriality of light and shadow. Despite a major divergence between the practices of these two artists in terms of their materials and processes, both artists embrace organic dynamics in the creation of powerful works with visceral appeal. Their abstraction of natural elements heightens the viewer’s experience of universal organic aesthetics. Alluring and mysterious forms pull viewers up close to discover the richness of glimmering or saturated details. Layers upon layers build into vast networks of beautifully interconnected patterns. The expansion and scaling of simple root elements into these substantial and mesmerizing forms replicate a natural process that imbues these works with the pulsing vigor of life, growth, and infinite possibility.
Lundgren brought the artworks of these two artists together for the first time through a process of discovery and connection that is typical of her curated exhibitions. She first became aware of Dallinga’s practice after South Dakota Art Museum Director Lynn Verschoor, also a fiber artist in her own right, participated in a Minnesota Felting Guild workshop led by Dallinga at the Textile Center in Minneapolis. Lundgren said that Verschoor was so enthusiastic about Dallinga’s work that she began putting the pieces in place to bring her felted sculptures and wearable costume art to South Dakota Art Museum. “Lynn was entranced with Dallinga’s work and I knew that others would be too. I could see they would be intriguing to people with and without a deep appreciation for felting and fiber arts,” Lundgren noted.
In parallel, Lundgren was beginning the curation process for Ripple Effects: Artworks from the Permanent Collection (Nov. 15, 2018–May 5, 2019). A 1987 Visscher painting in the museum’s collection caught Lundgren’s attention and led her to learn about Visscher’s more recent exhibitions of light sculptures. “Her use of light as a drawing material is fascinating. Installing her works is challenging but well worth the effort when I see how visitors react and interact with them,” Lundgren said.
Dallinga’s sculptures are built through the process of wet felting, whereby layers of wool fibers are worked by hand into solid pieces. Wet felting is an ancient technique that is incredibly direct and requires very little mechanical intervention. This allows for a painterly expressiveness and creative freedom that appeals to Dallinga, who has utilized it to amazing effects.
Dallinga studied graphic arts and painting at Minerva Academy, a fine arts institute in Groningen Holland, where she was born. After spending subsequent years mostly painting and drawing while raising a family in Canada, Dallinga discovered felting and found a perfect fit between her artistic practice and personal lifestyle. As she fell in love with the discipline, the creation of simple accessories like handbags, mittens, and hats, gave way to teaching the techniques of felting through her atelier, Bloomfelt, and orders for custom-made pieces.
Dallinga’s expansion into theatrical costumes and costume parts led to collaborations with Cirque du Soleil, which she feels is the most exciting outcome of her development because of its experimental nature. Dallinga has become a noted fiber artist within the international sphere, submitting prize-winning works to the annual World of Wearable Art show (WOW) in New Zealand since 2011.
Jantje Visscher uses light energy as a drawing material, creating wall installations out of focused light projected onto and through manipulated strips of transparent plastics. Most of Visscher’s works in various media involve an exploration of motion, pattern, and perception through the lens of science and geometry. Her light drawings focus on the physics of light and the optical effects of caustics, the scientific term for this envelope of reflections and refractions that is created when light hits curved or bent transparent materials. The ethereal, non-specific, rhythmic forms she creates inspire wonder and transcend the simplicity and mechanical nature of the materials she is working with.
Visscher earned an MFA from the University of California at Berkeley. She has received a Bush Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Midwest, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Her work is represented in the collections of the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Weisman Art Museum, and the Minnesota Museum of American Art. She has been a longtime part of the Twin Cities arts community—working as a painter, printmaker, photographer, sculptor, teacher and mentor. She is a founding member of the Women's Art Registry of Minnesota and of the Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art.
About South Dakota Art Museum
South Dakota Art Museum is located at 1036 Medary Avenue in Brookings and is open daily except for upcoming holiday and winter closures: May 27 (Memorial Day), July 4 (Independence Day) and Sundays through March. Admission to the museum is free. Parking is also free in the museum’s reserved lot just west of the museum on Harvey Dunn Street. For more information, call (605) 688-5423, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.SouthDakotaArtMuseum.com.