Spotlight: Crossings at CarnegieLongtime friends and artists Harold Grabitske and Ivan Whillock, who often showed work together in the early days of their art careers, found each other again through a drawing class at Crossings.
Longtime friends and artists Harold Grabitske and Ivan Whillock, who often showed work together in the early days of their art careers, found each other again through a drawing class at Crossings. An exhibit of their retrospective and current works will be at the gallery through May 31. A reception is planned May 6.
Whillock’s small high school provided no art instruction, so when he started college in Winona, Minn., all he knew on the subject he’d learned from books.
Grabitske attended the Minnesota College of Art & Design before being drafted into the Korean Conflict and was “more sophisticated in art” than he, Willock said. The two roomed together, attended summer arts classes at Grand Marais, eventually showed together and ended up teaching at the same school in Spring Grove, Minn.,
They had long conversations about art and shared studio space in an old building on the property Whillock rented while teaching in Spring Grove. They experimented with casting and other art forms and exhibited their work around the state.
“We always managed to get at least merit awards, so I guess we were a good team,” Grabitske said.
Besides teaching art and English for 33 years — most of those in Red Wing — Grabitske has been active in the Red Wing Arts Association.
“I seem to be right at a transition point and getting into suggested metaphor,” said Grabitske, who may make multiple versions of a painting until he “gets it right.” He noted he’s still reworking a painting of the North Shore he first made 50 years ago.
Whillock, who worked exclusively in wood for 20 years, will show his sculptures, though he has recently returned to painting. His woodcarving father and wood sculptors he met influenced him to take up that medium.
He is the author of 12 books and an editor and contributor to woodcarving magazines. He first taught carving classes at the Faribault (Minn.) Art Center in 1974 and soon attracted students from around the U.S. and many parts of Canada. His carvings can be seen at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Fairmount and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Faribault, as well as around this country and several others.
Grabitske and Whillock lost contact after leaving the Spring Grove area, but met again when they both showed up for a figure-drawing class at Crossings.
The exhibit runs May 1-31 and may be viewed free during regular hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday; 10 a.m. t 8 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
What: Public reception
When: 2 p.m. Sunday May 6.
Where: 320 East Ave., Zumbrota
More info: www.crossingsatcarnegie.com