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Artist Michon Weeks

Updated: Mar 3

Michon Weeks, with a BA from Iowa State University and an MFA from the University of Minnesota, has been part of St. Olaf College's Art faculty since 2012. Her solo exhibition venues include the Rochester Art Center and the Morrison Gallery, University of Minnesota, Morris.

Weeks has also participated in many group exhibitions, including "Abstract Painting in MN: From 1930 to the Present" at the Minnesota Museum of American Art and "Art on the Plains" at the Plains Art Museum. In 2019, she received the Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

"The artistic experience is like a mystical experience that can alter one's perception of the world. As an artist, I work to capture this insight in my work. Painting offers a way of knowing beyond ordinary perception, revealing the unseen and magnifying the known. The artwork becomes the tangible form of this encounter, capturing invisible realities that appear like a flash in my mind. My studio practice begins with an embrace of unknowing and submission. I want to be surprised and discover more than I have dared to foresee."

Tell us a little about yourself (where you are from) and your background in the arts.

I'm originally from a small town in Iowa called Washburn, where you could find dogs on the loose and cars parked in front yards. I studied visual art at Iowa State University, affectionately known as Moo U due to its agricultural roots. After that, I earned an MFA in painting and drawing at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. For most of my adult life, I've called small towns in Minnesota home.

Currently, I teach drawing and painting at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. When not in my studio or teaching, I enjoy spending time outdoors Nordic skiing, biking, canoeing, walking, and hanging out with my grandkids.

What kind of work are you currently making?

Right now, I'm working on a cycle of small oil paintings. I'm trying to capture the visions that pop into my head when I'm painting. These visions are pretty unpredictable and mysterious. They feel like little surprises of insight that go beyond just thinking. They show me a peek into a hidden world.

The paintings are about the size of my head. These visions, well, they're beyond my full grasp and appear when I let go and really pay attention. My main aim is to put these visions onto the canvas as faithfully as possible.

What is a day like in the studio for you?

A typical day in my studio begins with a morning painting session. I start with a prayer, seeking guidance to remain present, open-hearted, and free from overthinking. I see my time in the studio as both an offering and a state of surrender. My main goals are to be attuned to the visions in my mind, transfer them to the canvas, and embrace whatever emerges in the painting, especially if it surprises or baffles me.

Once I've set this intention, I begin to paint. I prefer working in silence to fully concentrate on the painting and my mind’s eye. However, when I'm involved in a less complex task like preparing a panel with stretch linen and gesso, that's when I often tune in to some music, audiobooks, or podcasts.

What are you looking at right now and/or reading?

This year, I had the terrific opportunity to travel to Bologna, Italy, and visit the Museo Morandi. I spent time looking closely at the substantial collection of paintings by Giorgio Morandi. What struck me were his subtle, almost melancholic brown tones, loose brushwork, and distinctive way of paring down forms. Morandi's work left a powerful impression on me.

When it comes to literature, I've been reading some classic works lately. Right now, I'm taking in Eudora Welty's "Delta Wedding." It's a beautifully written book of Southern fiction. Recently, I read Philip Roth's "The Counterlife," Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian," and Walker Percy's "The Moviegoer." These books are windows into different worlds, and they've been a source of inspiration, helping me better understand what makes a great work of art.

Where can we find more of your work? (ex. website/insta/gallery/upcoming shows)

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