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Hazel Belvo: "Spirit Tree" show at the Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis

News,Art Colony Artists & Friends-04/11/2013-09:14 AM

 Bockley Gallery: 2123 w 21st Street | Minneapolis mn 55405 | 612 377 4669

Hazel Belvo: Spirit Tree 

Opening Reception:
Friday, April 12, 6 to 9 pm

April 13 through May 18, 2013

Bockley Gallery is honored to present an exhibition of paintings by distinguished artist and Professor Emeritus, Hazel Belvo. These paintings focus on the artist’s primary subject for more than 50 years, Manidoo-giizhikens---once known as the Witch Tree---now more commonly referred to as the Spirit Tree. This is Belvo’s first exhibit with Bockley Gallery, which she was drawn to because the space presents the possibility of a “shrine-like” exhibit of this series of life-sized works.

Belvo’s series of large-scale paintings, all created in the past year, use rich color in a range of palettes both cool and fiery to depict the tree form shifting into almost human figures. More portrait than landscape, these trees move and transform, suggesting an enormous range of dynamic human states of being: anguish, solitude, and attitudes of ecstasy. The tree transforms in each painting to take on character traits that Belvo acknowledges in titles such as “The Poet,” and “Guardian,” while at the same time remaining true to the iconic form of the actual cedar, still revered by the Ojibwe people who protect it on their tribal lands.

For fifty years I have painted, photographed, printed, and drawn the Spirit Tree, a four hundred year-old cedar tree that grows out of a rock in Lake Superior and is a spiritual icon for the Ojibwe people. I have studied it in every season, every time of day, every day of the year. For me it is a personal symbol of survival. ¬--- Hazel Belvo, 2012

Belvo’s paintings employ a variety of methods including beginning the image by first drawing with tobacco and vermilion, the traditional offerings to the Spirit Tree, and then using wet and dry brush, glazing, scumbling, and impasto to capture elements such as time of day and season. The resulting canvasses present tree images in a size that relates to the human form and that depict dusk, dawn, day, night—the temporal landscape in which Belvo has witnessed the tree.

For seventeen years Belvo taught painting and drawing and was the Chair of the Fine Arts Department at St Paul Academy Summit School before becoming Chair of the Division of Fine Art at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where she holds the status of Professor Emeritus. Since retiring in 1998, Belvo has traveled to sacred sites where other ancient trees can be found including a visit to an olive tree in Delphi said to have been alive at the time of Christ. She shares studios in Minneapolis and in Grand Marais with artist Marcia Cushmore and teaches as mentor at the Grand Marais Art Colony.

Hazel Belvo has been an exhibiting painter for over fifty years. She grew up in southern Ohio and after attending the Dayton Art Institute, she moved to New York City, went to the New School for Social Research, was a fellow at the Bunting Institute at Harvard for two years, taught at Quaker Schools and Rhode Island School of Design and maintained a studio in Provincetown MA for many years. Her work can be found in numerous private, public and museum collections across the country and internationally including the Minnesota Museum of American Art, Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Tweed Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Walker.

More information contact the Bockley Gallery at 
2123 w 21st Street | Minneapolis MN 55405 | 612 377 4669

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