Stander, Renfrow open exhibitions at Taube

By Michael Linnell
University Communications Director

MINOT, N.D. – Minot State University’s Ryan Stander and Rayson Renfrow both open exhibitions at the Taube Museum of Art starting this week.

Stander, an associate professor of art at MSU, opens “The Sky is Universal,” in the Taube’s upper gallery. Stander’s medium for the show is wet plate collodion. Renfrow, a Minot native majoring in photography with a concentration in printmaking, will earn his first exhibition with “Window Shopping” in the lower gallery. His collection is lithography.

“It has been more exciting than nerve-racking overall, the only really nerve-racking part was framing the artwork,” Renfrow said. “Although, for a little while I was skeptical that there even would be a show because of COVID-19.”

“I often compare where my students are against my own artistic career. My first solo show was at the age of 30, Rayson is in his early 20s,” Stander added. “To me, that is a major accomplishment. Rayson is one of the hardest working students I have had in my time here and is a great model for our younger students on how to move toward success. He comes in on weekends, stays late, works over holiday breaks and summers. All that work pays off with good skills, good art, and lots of opportunities.”

Stander encourages his students to feature their work outside the walls of Harnett Hall. For Renfrow, a photo event at the Taube last year was the steppingstone to a featured event.

“One of the things I encourage all students is to be entering local exhibitions when they can,” Stander said. “Last year, Rayson entered the Taube's ‘Biennial Photo Exhibit.’ His work impressed the director and she asked him if he would consider doing a solo show. Getting your work out there leads to more opportunities. Rayson is a prime example of that.”

Renfrow is looking forward to patrons seeing his distinctive view of Minot.

“I want people to be able to see the work and feel a sense of vague familiarity because all of the imagery is from around Minot, but I believe that it is portrayed in a way that I only could portray it,” he said. “I hope it might change the way people look at the environment around them.”

He believes the support he receives from the MSU art department has helped him get to this point in his young career.

“What has really helped me the most has been the whole art department,” Renfrow said. “Faculty are very helpful and do a great job at equipping their students with all of the knowledge and tools they need to start moving into more professional ways of displaying their artwork. It's hard to talk about a specific class that has gotten me to this point, as it really has been a culmination of all of them combined.”

Stander is certainly no stranger to showcasing his work both on campus and around the region. He currently hosting an exhibition titled “Pursue ______:” at Minot State’s Hartnett Hall gallery.

“Making an exhibition is difficult — it takes time, money, and persistence. Doing it during the semester is even harder because all the preparation work falls on top of your already busy schedule,” he said. “As a professor it is wonderful to see your students take strong steps forward in the profession. I am thrilled to share and celebrate the opening night with him for our exhibits.” 

“The Sky is Universal” will incorporate a unique process with wet collodion and is nearly all portraiture, a new direction for Stander.

“My work considers the complexity and depth of our identity,” Stander said. “What we know about a person, even our best friend, just scratches the surface of who they are.”

Stander feels the use of portraiture will showcase the beauty of each person but also considers the intricacies of the individual.

“I hope people move beyond the beautiful face in the image to consider instead the depths of a person,” he said. “Portraiture offers public portals where we might gaze into others’ private worlds. Here we may linger, wonder, and marvel at the beautiful complexity of the person. Portraiture, in today’s world, offers opportunities to re-humanize, find compassion, and celebrate the beauty of others."    

Both exhibitions begin on Oct. 14 and run through Nov. 18. A reception for the artists is scheduled for Oct. 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the Taube. At the reception, individuals can meet the artists as well as view live portrait demonstrations of the wet plate collodion process featured in Stander’s work with people from the audience selected to have their photo taken using this unique process. This event is free and open to the public with refreshments served.

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 10/14/20   

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