Culture & Community

December 1-January 28


Through the Window: My experience as a woman living in The Boom

An installation by Jessica Christy


"Living in the midst of the massive Bakken Oil Patch boom, I was exposed to the collision of the natural world with the overwhelming human effect of the boom. This rhythm from nature is a strong force we’ve become accustomed to, an expected existence.  Humans, once part of this rhythm are creating a dissonance, one that reverberates through this quiet instinct around us.  We are loud. We are inventors, we are path-makers, and we are hardwearing.  If we do not change our actions, we will also be alone."


Through the Window is an installation of more than 150 boxes, each representative of an experience of Jessica Christy's life as a woman living in the Bakken Oil Patch.  The booming oil-based economy of North Dakota attracts an influx of workers, predominantly men.  During the two years of living in the boom, she collected many stories and an abundant amount of articles, trash, and other fragments that challenge her way of life and her femininity.  This resulted in an assemblage that explores gender roles, environmental impact, and the overall human condition.


Jessica Christy is a native North Dakotan, born to two artists on the Sanger Art Farm located at the northern edge of the Sheyenne River valley.  She has shown her work extensively both regionally and nationally, winning numerous awards.  She recently relocated to the Chicago area and works as a full-time artist.


Diminishing Returns

Works in cut paper by Sonja Peterson


"I employ motifs of common agricultural plants and animals, underground roots, spider webs, and vine-like growths of the external and internal bodily world to create hanging landscapes. Presently, I am interested in plants and items that were collected and traded as a form of currency. Trade is what connected all sides of the world. Trade is what links the natural world with the banking world that interlinks economies across the globe. Over 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. They developed different suites of flora & fauna and trade has collided the world back together."


Sonja Peterson's work expands from small collages into installation, sculpture and large scale papercuts and multi-media dealing with hidden environmental and geo-political systems.  She looks at historical events and science to absorb present day dilemmas … she doesn't offer answers but attempts loose comparative analysis through imaginative narratives that pull from across times. The slow process of cutting visual networks is an action that fulfills a need to unravel a truth within the endless matrix of information that Peterson negotiates in today’s world. The works structural integrity is, at times, reliant on its interconnectivity; if elements disconnect the entire system is in threat of collapse.


Sonja Peterson is a Minneapolis-based artist who has been awarded Artist-in-Residence at the Bell Museum of Natural History and the American Swedish Institute, and has exhibited nationally and internationally.