Wild clay creations, winter surprises, and other art shows worth your time

Yep, this is work in clay.

Yep, this is work in clay. Work by Allison Schulnik; image courtesy Zieher Smith.

You've been cooped up in your house for weeks because of this horrible winter, and the time has finally arrived for you to rejoin society. No, winter isn't over, but you've got to get out or you are going to get a serious case of cabin fever.

Luckily, there are lovely art events to entice you.

Ryan Fontaine

Ryan Fontaine

Artist Conversation for “The Utmost Natural”

Where it's at: Hair + Nails Gallery, 22 1/2 E. 35th St., Minneapolis

What it's about: Ryan Fontaine, co-owner of Hair + Nails Gallery, talks with art critic and curator Sheila Dickinson about his latest show. The exhibition includes a visually appealing text-based piece where letters are stacked and strapped in an almost BDSM-themed formal exercise. Also in the show are a few other large-scale paintings and a mixed-media piece where time itself seems to burst out from the canvas.

Why you should go: In the gallery basement Ryan Fontaine has created an experiential installation that is guaranteed to provide a balm for your spirits in the midst of this brutal winter. Without giving too much away, let's just say that you deserve this dose of life-force that Fontaine has constructed.

Meanwhile, Hannah Piper Burns' installation, which is a kind of meditative video game powered by slime-filled petri dishes, provides an extra dose of self care.

When: 7 p.m. Friday

"Strange Place"

"Strange Place" Jason Lim, 'Landscape Studies 7'

“Strange Place” Opening Reception

Where it's at: Law Warschaw Gallery, Janet Wallace Fine Art Center, 130 Macalester St., St. Paul

What it's about: Law Warschaw's gallery director and curator Jehra Patrick teams up with Macalester visiting Assistant Professor of Ceramics Summer Hills-Bonczyk for an exhibition featuring contemporary international artists who bring ceramic art to life. With video, performance, sculpture, audio, photography, and mixed media, this show rewires how we think about clay.

Why you should go: Forget everything you know about ceramics. This show tosses out tradition in favor of new imagined realities.

When: 6-9 p.m. Friday


"Accumulation" L-R: Monica Rudquist, 'Conversation Bowls'; Judy Onofrio, 'Float'

Opening Reception: “Accumulation: Monica Rudquist & Judy Onofrio”

Where it's at: The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery, St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul

What it's about: No, you haven't happened upon a archaeological site; this is the work of two artists, Monica Rudquist and Judy Onofrio, whose pieces merely look like the remains of some lost civilization. Accumulating broken pieces of pottery in Rudquist's case, and bones in Onofrio's, the two artists concoct large-scale works made from monochromatic vestiges.

Why you should go: Prepare to be awed by the dizzying textures and patterns created by these two sculptural artists as they deconstruct and put things back together in pleasing piles and carefully constructed messiness.

When: 6-8 p.m. Saturday

"One of Many Awkward Feelings"

"One of Many Awkward Feelings" L-R: Ute Bertog, Terrence Payne

“One of Many Awkward Feelings” Opening Reception

Where it's at: Rosalux Gallery, 1400 Van Buren, NE, Ste 195, Minneapolis

What it's about: Artists Terrence Payne and Ute Bertog employ language and communication in their latest works, which will be on view at Rosalux Gallery for an opening reception on Friday. Payne's large-scale pastel drawings explore the ways that language gets used to hide a person's true feelings, while Bertog's work looks at wordlessness, especially in relationship to abstraction.

Why you should go: This is feel-good art with a bite, as these two artists scratch beneath the surface of how we interact with each other.

When: 7-10 p.m. Saturday