my first "review" per the Duluth News Tribune

you can find the article online here..... or read below:

News Tribune Staff Writer

“Luonnollisesti Suomalainen” means “naturally Finnish.” That is, the artists are Finnish by birth, so what they do is Finnish by nature. Also, Finnish artists tend to use nature. Both threads weave through the work on exhibit at the Duluth Art Institute through Aug. 24.

Four designers — ceramicists Lenore Lampi and Kristin Pavelka, glass artist Lynn Korhonen, and jeweller Tia Salmela Keobounpheng — show work. Lampi has done ceramic vessels that look as if they’re made of birchbark for many years. This set, called “Place Setting for the President of Finland,” would look wonderful on any table. The cups’ handles are perfect curls of bark, the glaze colors rich and natural.

Pavelka’s dishes seem uneven — her nice fat bowl is a pleasant form but the rest seem almost good. Korhonen’s glass platters suffer from “almost” as well: the forms are fine but the colors edge toward muddiness. But Keobounpheng’s necklaces pair disks of fine wood with bright plastic polka dots and pierced forms, and the warmth of the natural mates well with the glee of bright colors. Their exuberant size works, too.

Painters offer the most rewards here. Surrealism and magic hover over the work, even that of the masterful watercolorist and incisive realist John Salminen. But a Salminen painting can transform the teeming detail of ordinary life into a transfigured moment. His “San Francisco Lantern” takes a morning in that city and dwells radiantly on the qualities of light that emerge just after a fog has lifted.

Joyce Koskenmaki is another secret surrealist. She has two pencil drawings of stones and two paintings of the same subject. Her drawings ignore the weight of the stones. They say, “This is not a rock. This is the thought of a rock.” The paintings, by contrast, say, “This is the real experience of a rock,” their tender rich colors like those rocks look in sun — not like when you pull them out of your pocket and put them on the kitchen table, dull and almost colorless.

Scott Murphy’s work is confounding and wonderful. He’s a furiously skilled painter who doesn’t seem to mind being ridden by spirits who rant and complain, sing and coax. In “Eve and the CIA,” the mother of the world in a pair of tacky flag-striped shorts and a carnival Uncle Sam hat has the American empire carved on her naked back. But this is no political cartoon. It gives rise to associations like a pinball game, never at rest; the meaning is up to you. “New Money” is a little quieter, but still a restless allegory with no easy solution: the ancestors, swathed in a sepia mist of history, fronted by a sprightly, beautifully painted, feral weasel.

Space forbids covering all the works in this rich show. Virginia Maki’s theatrical paintings, Laura Ahola’s subtle small windows into a Paul Klee-like world, Cherie Sampson’s photos of herself cavorting naked in a Finnish bog, Natalie Salminen Rude’s snipped collages of a dreamy avian paradise, and Tiffany Besonen’s carved log nests — all are worth more than one look.

ANN KLEFSTAD covers arts and entertainment for the Duluth News Tribune.

.......i guess it is ok.......what do you think?