Alyssa Baguss is in the limelight right now with two simultaneous shows in Minneapolis. “Dead Reckoning,” her exhibition at Soo Visual Art Center, opened last week, while “Leave of Absence” opens tonight at Burnet Gallery at Le Meridien Chambers. Both bodies of work take the idea of travel as their starting point, using geography as a place of departure for imaginative, textured works.
SooVAC director Carolyn Payne says that while the two exhibitions are happening at the same time, it wasn’t planned that way. At SooVAC, Baguss proposed the work a year or two ago, and was chosen by the organization’s curatorial panel. Meanwhile, the Burnet Gallery approached Baguss over the summer to have a show. “I said, ‘If you can do it, do it,” Payne says.
The two exhibitions bare a similarity in that both explore the idea of evaluating online imagery and “the digital wanderlust,” says Allison Hiltner, SooVAC’s associate director. In “Dead Reckoning,” Baguss worked with a geographer to create 3D models of locations around Minnesota, whereas for the Burnet show, the artist explores imaginary places in outer space.
One work in “Dead Reckoning” takes the Mississippi as its subject, providing an overhead view of the river as it crosses Winona, Minnesota. While you may not understand the scientific data that was used to create the image, Baguss manages to evoke the sense of water through geometric textures. She does this through the use of plum line chalk, which she buffs onto the gallery walls through a hand-made stencil. The second piece at SooVAC, which melds various locations across Minnesota, provides a kind of virtual tour, creating a feeling of journey as the terrain shifts and changes along the panoramic image.
For her show at Burnet, you can expect pieces that are less digital looking and more representational, as Baguss uses a combination of source material and her imagination. But Baguss employs the same plum line chalk to create those images as well.
In today’s world, it’s easier than ever to travel to all corners of the globe. But with the internet, we can see places in other continents and other planets without actually having to travel. In her work, Baguss reminds us that travel is more of a state of mind than anything else. You can go anywhere, just use your imagination.
IF YOU GO:
Through December 27
Soo Visual Art Center
November 13 through December 31
There will be an opening reception tonight, November 13, from 6 to 9 p.m.