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Minnesota State University, Mankato Grad Student Participates in Carnegie Art Exhibit April 25, 2012

20th Annual Prairie Lakes Regional Juried Art Exhibition

Artist Mike Wiechmann, 24, will showcase a piece in the 20th Annual Prairie Lake Regional Juried Art Exhibition April 26 to June 8 at Carnegie Art Center in Mankato, Minn.

A total of 226 pieces of artwork were entered in the exhibition, representing 138 artists. Each artist was allowed to submit 2 pieces showcasing their work. This year’s juror, Joanne Price, selected 104 pieces of artwork for display.

“This regional exhibition is an opportunity for emerging and established artists in the 9 county area to display their work in a professional setting,’ said Carnegie Art Center Gallery Coordinator, Becky Carmody.  The 9 county area includes Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, LeSueur, Martin, Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca and Watonwan.

Wiechmann submitted two pieces called “A Graffiti Invitational” and “Fred”. “A Graffiti Invitational” was selected by Price and will be on display at the exhibition.

“’A Graffiti Invitational’ was a right choice because it followed a common theme in contemporary art in which the artist gets the viewer involved in the work,” said Wiechmann in response to why he thought Price chose the piece.

“A Graffiti Invitational” is a black and white train framed and allows viewers to draw on the glass with dry erase makers. Wiechmann enjoys the idea of street art and creating it into a formal element but also keeping in mind the art can fade or be wiped away.  After the Prairie Lakes Regional Exhibition he hopes to have more work similar to “A Graffiti Invitational.”

This is not Wiechmann’s first gallery he has been a part of 25 galleries with 4 of them being solo shows. He also studied abroad for 6 months at Santa Reparata in Florence, Italy and was a part of several galleries there.

Teacher first then Artist

Wiechmann is currently a grad student at Minnesota State University, Mankato in the Masters of Art Teaching (MAT) program. He is student teaching and enjoying every minute of it. Wiechmann looks forward to the 9 months of back logging ideas and the 3 months of flushing ideas out when he becomes a full time teacher.

“My love for education comes with the ability to reinvent myself. I can get inspired from the lessons based on other artists or the interaction I get from the students,” said Wiechmann.

Like “A Graffiti Invitational” Wiechmann wants to create more interactive art because he feels it’s more contemporary and allows the viewer to become more involved and affected by it. Wiechmann’s wife Kristy agrees with his new concept.

“As a viewer it makes it fun and interesting if you can add to the artist’s original work of art. With this piece (‘A Graffiti Invitational’), everyone can bring their own experiences to the work and because of that, it takes on a unique interpretation for each individual,” said Kristy.

Methods of an Artist

Painting is one of his favorite techniques but it is a process. He says he spends more time preparing the painting and less time actually painting the piece. Rules Wiechmann follows are never paint for over an hour and always name your work. He believes naming your work makes the piece better and more complete because it’s associated with something.

“I never like working on my paintings for more than an hour because I feel it shows when you’re tired and then the piece doesn’t become the right representation of the artist,” said Wiechmann

Many of Wiechmann’s pieces involve nature or abstract scenery. He gets his inspiration from reality and his own collection of photos. Having art based off of reality draws in the average viewer and that’s who Wiechmann wants to be affected.

If you would like to participate in Wiechmann’s “A Graffiti Invitational” you can go to the Carnegie Art Center between April 26 and June 8. Carnegie Art Center’s hours are Thursday 1 to 7 p.m., Friday 1 to 4 p.m. and Saturday 11 to 5 p.m.