It isn’t too often a show and setup with a story like “VIVID” comes to the Plains Art Museum.
The incoming art exhibition is remarkable in many ways, but perhaps greatest because of its two-artist focus and the backgrounds the unacquainted, unassociated men share. Seth Chwast and Dietrich Sieling are those artists, hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, and Minneapolis, Minn., respectively, and their separate works of color, line and pattern comprise the collaboration that is “VIVID.”
Initiated with the suggestion of non-profit organization Fraser, Ltd., to feature the artwork of Chwast, “VIVID” came together when museum curator Becky Dunham brought up Sieling’s work.
“We felt it would be a really good counterbalance to Seth’s artwork if we featured Dietrich’s,” she said. “We said, ‘How about we do a two-person show?’ and Fraser said ‘That sounds like a fantastic idea’ and that is really where the exhibition came from. Both of the guys really [use] color, line and pattern — those three things really bring the artwork together into a cohesive unit.”
With two different bodies of work on display, the Starion Financial Gallery will be split in two for each artist. Dunham explained this allowed for viewers to take in each artist’s work individually. This helps with comparing and contrasting the men’s works. While both Chwast and Sieling share techniques of color, line and pattern, their works are noticeably different.
“With this show, I think each artist has such a distinct style so it will be very obvious that this group of work was made by one, and this group of work was made by another,” Dunham said. “They have very different approaches to how they make artwork, and that’s why their styles are so different.”
Bringing Chwast and Sieling together for this show has also revealed another connection the two men share aside from their art. Both men were diagnosed with autism as children, and through the strong support of their mothers, they pursued their passions for art.
Fraser, Ltd., the non-profit that tapped the Plains to display Chwast’s work, is in fact an organization that champions independence for people of all ages, including disabled and special needs children. Fraser is also the oldest non-profit in North Dakota, established in 1893 as a home for unwed mothers.
This ties in to the main aim of “VIVID” and the pairing of Chwast and Sieling, and that is raising awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorder.
“One in 68 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism, so that’s pretty significant,” Dunham said, “We’re really hoping that the artwork incites people to be really inspired by what they see.”
One other aspect of this show that stands out is its length of run. Dunham commented that most Plains shows stay for three months, while “VIVID” is sticking around from September to April. Having a show like this set up for over six months comes with a couple pluses, one which Dunham really highlights.
“I think it’ll be really interesting for people during the fall and winter seasons to have a gallery that is full of bright and colorful artwork,” Dunham said.
Indeed it will be, as winter and its white skies and snow can wear on the people of region after the luster of the holidays has worn off. However, “VIVID” brings more than a winter getaway, and its pairing of two similar, different artists is a show unlike any other in the region.
“It’s truly top-notch artwork. It’s very well-made,” Dunham said. “They have a very strong understanding of their material and a very strong understanding of what they want their artwork to do, what their subject matter is. The artwork itself is just fantastic.”
WHEN: 5-7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Plains Art Museum, 704 First Ave N.
MORE INFO: plainsart.org