Painfully Midwestern

Painfully Midwestern is/was the name of a local record label. They produced a couple of Columbia bands that I know of, but their claim to fame is putting out three compilation discs of the best music Columbia has offered over the last 20 years. I am fortunate to own all three. They are all excellent and bring back lots of memories. The three discs comprise some of the best representation of  the “mid-west“ music scene and what separates it from music from other parts of the country. It reminded me a lot of the current exhibit at PS:. All of the artists hale from the mid-west and the art represented is painfully “mid-western”.

Hans Droog has created majestic portraits of farm animals reminiscent of those of royalty of the 18th century. The animals peer out at the viewer with all confidence as if to say, “ I still rule your world.” And in the mid-west, they do. The common farm animal still plays an huge role in what shapes the mid-west economically and culturally. Hans’s creations are not going to let you forget that.

Hans Droog

"Hamburger Rooster" Hans Droog

Pull over to the side of the road anywhere 15 to 20 miles outside of the city limits and you’ll find the photographs of Chris Dahlquist. Her indiscernible “mile markers” could exist anywhere in the mid-west. Rolling farm fields, scattered cows, an occasional random hay bail, an abandoned barn, the kind of scene we pass everyday along the highway at 70 miles per hour. To make the even more nostalgic, her process of printing her photos on gold, painted steel reminds you of the old daguerrtype photos.

There has always been a mid-west influence in the works of Joel Sager. He has lived here most of his life and that ”mid-west” influence shows greatly in his latest exhibit. Again, I say nostalgic, like you walked into one of those farm houses on the side of the highway. Wood floors, an antique television sitting on a lace doily, a bare foot girl in her Sunday best with her pet lamb, a dime store piggy, painfully mid-western.

Even the colors of Julie Hansen and Rebecca Crowell reflect the mid-west. Those deep, grey blue skies of a fall rain approaching, the dark oranges and yellow of the leaves just after they have reached their peak, those purples and golds that form in the sky when the falling sun hits the scattered clouds just right, all of these exist exclusively to the mid-west.

Even Katie Barnes has gotten into act. Her photos of rusted tools and trucks, dilapidated farm houses, an occasional farm animal are the kind of scene most people would stereotype seeing in the mid-west. An outsiders “ideal” view of what

goes on in “these parts”.

Lastly the current alcove show too, is a reflection of what is all that is mid-western. Our “Mini” show represents some of our favorite local artists. All come from Columbia and all show the influence their time in the mid-west has had on them and their work.

The current show is up through the end of the year. I encourage you to come by and take a look at what some of the best artists in the mid-west have to offer. Perhaps you will feel nostalgic enough to take a piece home with you.  By the way, if you have any of the compilations put out by Painfully Midwestern, they would make a great soundtrack to the current exhibit.



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