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1981: 50 Works for 50 Years

Robert Aldern

Edible Earth

Robert Aldern (1929 - 2011) was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and is perhaps best known as a liturgical artist with over seventy regional church commissions to his credit. Aldern lived most of his life in eastern South Dakota, considering himself a localist rather than a regionalist. His deep personal understanding of the state’s landscape is evident throughout his body of work.

In Edible Earth he applied the watercolor in distinct strokes, as one would in a drawing and let those strokes diffuse in the highly absorbent paper to produce a soft, ephemeral image. Fellow artist, Carl Grupp, whose work Grandma's Vase II is included in this exhibition, said, “Just as Harvey Dunn painted the South Dakota landscape in the Impressionism of his time, Aldern retells the landscape in the language of his time. He has reinvented painting to show us familiar landscapes that we had never seen before, but when we see it, we say, ‘Yes, that is the way it is’.”

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