By John Swartwout
January 19 – May 12, 2024
Opening Night: January 19 | 5-8pm | Free & Open to the Public
Exhibit Admission: Visit FREE with your TMA membership, starting as low as $15 for the year. One-day passes available at $10.
The familiar sometimes becomes the unfamiliar, when one isn’t in daily contact with it. I have lived a good portion of time away from the North in places like Germany and Canada. I eventually moved to Northwestern Ontario and then finally to my home state of Wisconsin(trust me there’s not enough room for this story). However, the North (what was familiar to me) became almost alien to me. What was once every day, became a strange, but fun ride for me. Hence; the “Nort” series was born.
In one way it’s about the North in a closer examination, such as the straightforward subject of hunting or fishing, which I feel is engrained in the culture. As well as, the “rural” myths that intertwine with northern communities. In another way, it’s about a region’s history and how it’s changed in contemporary times. For instance, Wisconsin is called the Badger State. Not because we all love badgers, but because we have a long history of mining. Growing up that part was vanishing since just about everything one could get in the ground had already been taken. Much later I’m having a conversation with a person and they’re telling me about mining sand. I exclaimed, “Sand?! Why the #@%$ would we mine sand?!!”. Apparently, I’ve been gone for a while now. Then there’s the dead, dead, deadpan humor I grew up with. I mean the stuff that is seething and I mean seething with irony. For example, the first year I was back I was sent to help a neighbor with his tractor. When I arrived it was apparent that it was upside-down. He said, “Well these things happen”. “These things happen?!!”, I exclaimed. When do things like this hap………oh never mind. The point is that it’s a look at the Nort with all its pits and follies, joys, and jubilations through a curiously offset lens.