It's cold outside, so hop into a heated vehicle and head to art shows.
'Foundling: 100 Days'
With portraits of kids drawn onto brown Target bags, Minneapolis artist Megan Rye's project might seem to be a corporate diversity ploy. The images portray transnational adoptees, most of them from Korea. An adoptee herself, Rye realized the project when she came across her own referral photo (usually the only image from the person's country of origin), after her own daughter was born.
Rye's drawings are beautifully crafted, and the simplicity and straightforwardness of this project is emotionally powerful, but while the Target shopping bags tie the series to Minnesota they also confuse the message. Still, it does suggest a darker concept — the idea of Americans shopping for adoptees. (10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wed., 10-5 Thu.-Fri., 11-5 Sat.-Sun. through May 22, Weisman Art Museum, 333 East River Pkwy., Mpls. Free. wam.umn.edu)
Part poetry, part painting, the vibes of this solo show by Minneapolis artist seangarrison (Sean G. Phillips) range from the Afrofuturist funkiness of Sun Ra to the poetry of Pablo Neruda. It tests visitors' willingness to work harder, to decode what's below the surface of each of his abstract, politically charged paintings.
In "Founding Phallicy," a full moon shines above a red apple with an arrow covered in symbols, from which a polka-dotted man hangs from a noose. There's a chart with the symbols that viewers can use letter-by-letter to discover the deeper message. A nice surprise that's worth experiencing in person. (1-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat. through June 30, Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery, 1256 Penn Av. N., Mpls. Free. maahmg.org)
Winkler's two-sided diptych "The Late Great White Pine Forests & Death by a Billion Cuts," a striking horizontal work filled with hovering black trees, laments the destruction of this natural resource; the wall label notes how Indigenous people watched the great rivers carry their homeland to the sawmill in less than 15 years. Schanilec's "White Oak Stump" amplifies this sentiment. The beauty of nature is overshadowed by tragedy in this elegant exhibit. (10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-4 Sat. through Feb. 12, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, 912 W. Lake St., Mpls. Free. highpointprintmaking.org)
This isn't a scary show, unless the obsessiveness of mark-making freaks you out. Under the rubric "horror vacui" — Latin for "fear of empty space" — artist/curators Mark Schoening of Porch Gallery and Los Angeles-based Amir H. Fallah bring together a curious array of artists. A gold doorway seems to hover behind a slew of paint splashes and hand-cut paper designs in Egypt-born, L.A.-based Sherin Guirguis' "Untitled (shubbak III)," part of a series referencing identity formation in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Geoffrey Todd Smith's "28 Poets Perpetually Pouting," an acrylic, gouache and ink work filled with mesmerizing, ovals, circles and squiggles gridded together, feels like wandering through a magic eye handbook. This exhibition is welcome, since Twin Cities galleries focus mainly on local artists, leading to a regionally myopic vision. (By appointment only through Feb. 26, TOA Presents Gallery, 655 19th Av. NE., Mpls. Free. theorangeadvisory.com/toa-presents)