Merit Awards & People’s Choice Award

Art Collective Exhibition for Merit Awards + People’s Choice Winners : MaryBeth Garrigan + Carly Swenson + Heather Friedli

MaryBeth Garrigan and Carly Swenson each won Merit Awards at the 2020 Juried Winter Member Show.
Heather Friedli won the People’s Choice Award at the 2020 Juried Winter Member Show.

MaryBeth Garrigan – Merit Award Winner

My artistic endeavors have always explored the synesthesia of visual design,  with effectual circumstances and selection of place. I create relationships between what flows in my head and what gets pushed in from the outside. In my landscapes, personal narratives shape the work into the tension creating biological, spiritual, architectural and habitat compositions.

The avian painting compositions can also represent stories we have as human beings which tie us to each other. Birds are forms of artistic expression in most cultures, and in my work, they connect me to community regardless of continent of origin.

The paintings based on Chakra inspired colors were used to express my anxiety starting in the fall of 2019 when I painted Radish Root Resistance.  Following through by mirroring other anxiety events through 2020, I created the other works in the Chakra spectrum. The Last painting is still yet to be finished and will be The Crown.  All the 48” x  48”  works exhibit  well in a group or as single a paintings.

I am a Minnesotan who took studio arts at the University of Minnesota but ended up with a B.S. in Animal Science.  I continued painting, as I flew birds of prey as a falconer and worked for the Raptor Center at the U of M.  As the birds and family demanded so much more of my time, I took a hiatus from painting as I helped to create the National Eagle Center in Wabasha as its director. I came back to painting in 2013 with a water color set that was the last birthday gift my husband gave to me before he passed away later that year. Since, I have been in numerous exhibitions and received juried awards, but my favorite title  award was THE BILL MURRY’S CHOICE AWARD (Yes THAT BILL MURRY) where I won on a collaboration with artist Kailie Staples-Burtrow in the 2019 Collab Show! Sorry folks that piece sold!

Carly Swenson – Merit Award Winner

As I evolved into an intuitive artist, my work gained a new unique presence. I paint without expectations, I’m embracing the uncertainty of colors, textures, and brush strokes that simply feel right. I’m focusing on mindful creating, instead of an end result. Thick abstract textures and vibrant layers of color combine, revealing mysterious scenery and forms. I trust myself to intuitively build on this implied imagery. It’s a relaxed playful process, similar to the way we find animal shapes in clouds or faces in tree bark.

Painting without an identifiable concept of success is daunting yet beautifully freeing. My finished works are a surprise with unintentionally surreal qualities. Messy. Detailed. Colorful. Subtle. Restless. Meaningful. Energetic. Trivial. Tranquil. The uncertain and multifaceted nature of our human experiences are mirrored in my work.

Dreamy shapes, enigmatic figures, and distinct patterns emerge and fade. Intentional structure turns random. Viewers engaging with my work are invited to simply be. Color evokes emotional responses while the imagery inspires unique mental connection for each viewer based on their own memories, ideas, and interpretations.

Like our own perceptions in life, nearly understood or nearly slipping away. Beauty formed from cacophony into a calming sense of peace. A precious moment to lose yourself in art. This particular wonderful moment. And then it’s gone. Again.

Heather Friedli – People’s Choice Award Winner

Heather Friedli is best known for her contemporary impressionist oil paintings, depicting her family heritage and the land in which she lives. Bold brush strokes and brilliant colors light up scenes of cloudscapes, water, and native flora. Many pieces are created in the context of her wilderness adventures; she often brings her paints outdoors to create work that shares with the viewer her experience of immersion in the landscape. Within these colorful works, Heather explores the spiritual world through the lens of culture and lived experience of place. Heather’s work is creative, soulful, bold, and powerful.

Heather’s work is an effort to synthesize her love and experience in the natural world, and wilderness adventure travel. Those experiences, being out in the world seeing the beauty and power of nature are represented in large scale paintings. She paints with a passion for the land, looking around and internalizing the colors and expressing them onto canvas. Working in a large scale is not only an expression of what she sees, but also becomes a physical dance with her painting. The movement and rhythms in these works are her own unique dance with the land around her.
Heather Friedli was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1982. She received a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2005. In 2010 Heather Thru-Hiked the Appalachian Trail which upon completion inspired her to continue her work as an artist concentrating on painting the natural world. She currently is enjoying life in Saint Paul with her husband and two sons.