Siah Armajani


1. Siah Armajani

Sound Towers, 1972, edition 18 of 50, lithograph on paper, 29 13/16 x 41 ⅛ in.
Donated by Conley Brooks Jr.

Estimated Value: $5,500

About Armajani

Siah Armajani (born 1939, Tehran) moved to the United States from Iran in 1960. He attended Macalester College, in Minnesota, where he studied philosophy. His sculptures, drawings, and public works exist between the boundaries of art and architecture, informed by democratic and populist ideals. Armajani is recognized as a leading figure in the conceptualization of the role and function of public art, with nearly one hundred projects realized internationally since the 1960s.

Armajani’s education in Western thought and philosophy began in Tehran, where he attended a Presbyterian school for Iranian students, and continued through his undergraduate years in the United States. Early theoretical interests continue to influence his work, taking form in objects and architectural spaces designed in homage to literary, philosophical, and political figures like Martin Heidegger, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Theodor Adorno, Ahmad Shamlou, and Alfred Whitehead.

American vernacular architecture has been a consistent visual motif in Armajani’s practice and is manifest in his public works, including bridges, gardens, and outdoor structures. In the artist’s words: “I am interested in the nobility of usefulness. My intention is to build open, available, useful, common, public gathering places—gathering places that are neighborly.” These concerns take form in his ongoing series titled Reading Rooms and Reading Gardens as well as public spaces, pavilions, and shelters for social exchanges or solitary meditation. Armajani’s Tombs series (1972–2016) references both American modernist and vernacular architecture, paying tribute to figures including Walt Whitman, John Berryman, Nicola Sacco, and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.

Armajani’s most celebrated public artworks are bridges, walkways, and gardens, including the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge (1988), Minneapolis; the World Financial Center’s promenade (in collaboration with Scott Burton and Cesar Pelli), Battery Park City, New York; Gazebo for Two Anarchists, Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York; Floating Poetry Room, Ijburg, Amsterdam; and numerous gardens at Villa Arson Museum, Nice.


2. Genie Castro

Island Play, 2018, lithographic inks, lithographic crayon 35 x 60 in.
Represented by Cream of the Crop Artist Gallery, St. Paul; Milward Farrell Fine Art, Madison; and Art Force, Minneapolis

Estimated Value: $7,500

Artist Statement

I enjoy making art! My spirit soars as I create. I print in a freeform method utilizing the principles of abstract painting and the formality of traditional printmaking. My paintings are transferred onto dampened paper through the printing press.

I am equally enthusiastic about working together with other artists—curating shows and providing sales and event opportunities at Betty Danger's Country Club, Gamut Gallery, and corporate collections throughout the Twin Cities. I also represent artists at the Minnesota State Fair at Cream of the Crop Artists Gallery, which began four years ago with my sons and a handful of artists. My mission as an artist is to expand on what we create by letting it evolve with a larger community of creatives.

MCAD has been an important part of my life since 2002 when I enrolled in my first Continuing Education (CE) Printmaking Seminar/Open Edition, instructed by Jodi Reeb ’95. I have continued taking the seminar for past seventeen years. I am grateful for my experience at this institution, which includes teaching students of all ages in CE classes, sharing the principles of abstract painting and translating it to printmaking. MCAD has transformed my life!

About Castro

Genie Castro is an artist, printmaker, curator, and director. While working as a fashion and print designer in Manhattan, she was accepted into the famed Art Students League where she studied under renowned painter Hananiah Harari. Monotypes have become the medium of Castro’s fullest self-expression. The masterful strokes, layers of vibrant color, and subtle detail reveal her true nature and allow the observer to see the artist as she is—bold, vibrant, dramatic, complex, and joyful. Castro’s work has hung alongside master artists Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Frank Stella, Robert Longo, and Donald Sultan and is part of the permanent collection at the Chelsea Tahari Showroom in New York.

Susan Fink


3. Susan Fink ’97

Homage to the Isle of Dogs, 2018, photograph, 34 x 34 in.

Estimated Value: $3,000

Artist Statement

This image is from a cosplay photo series entitled In Character. While the models in this series are dressed as characters, the significance of their cosplaying goes beyond mere replication or pastiche. In fact, it represents an act of embodiment whereby the cosplayer not only mimics the outward appearance of the character but their physical body as well—remaking their own identity to create specific impressions in the minds of others.

While it could be said that costumes tell a story, it is also true that context and location conveys a narrative as well. Claude Levi-Strauss used the word “bricolage” to describe the skill of using whatever is at hand and recombining various elements to create something novel. In this series, pre-existing locations were transformed into a collection of storybook backgrounds, resulting in a hybrid of original and copy, old and new.

About Fink

Susan Fink holds a BA in anthropology from the University of Chicago and a BFA in media arts from MCAD. She also studied classical violin performance at Manhattan School of Music. Upon graduation from MCAD, Fink worked as an independent film producer and director in Los Angeles for fifteen years. She has completed six feature-length films, four documentaries, and two narrative films, with screenings at the Sundance Film Festival and numerous other international film festivals both domestically and abroad.

Fink recently returned to the Twin Cities, where she currently works in nonprofit development. She has been engaged in photographic practice for more than twenty-five years, but in the last several years, she has renewed her passion for the medium. Fink’s current work is the result of refocusing her artistic efforts in still photography.

Shelly Mosman


4. Shelly Mosman ’95

The Gift, 2019, photograph printed on canvas, 30 x 40 in.

Estimated Value: $5,000

Artist Statement

The Gift is inspired by early Dutch painter Rachel Ruysch.

About Mosman

Shelly Mosman’s photography career spans more than twenty years. As a commission artist, her work is recognized around the world and has been published in Germany, France, Australia, Brazil, and the United States.  

Mosman’s work is a part of permanent collections at the Plains Art Museum in North Dakota, Rockford Art Museum in Illinois, and Eiteljorg Museum in Indiana. She was invited to show at Aqua Art Miami during Art Basel Miami in 2017. This June, Mosman will be showing alongside Julie Heffernan at the Rockford Art Museum in the exhibition Chance Encounter, which will include work from the Private Dining and Animal Child series. Mosman's gallery exhibitions have been largely self-produced and self-represented, thus refining her fundraising skills.

Many of Mosman’s commission subjects are children. She is heavily influenced by the Romantic era and photography studios from the early 1900s. “I combine these influences with personal nostalgia and aim to create a subtle narrative—one that induces a momentary daydream—my favorite pastime,” she says.

Matthew Shilan


5. Matthew Shilan

RRRR/LLLL, 2018, folded paper, 25 x 25 x 1 in.

Estimated Value: $7,000

Artist Statement

As a paper engineer, my work is rooted in print media, book arts, and commercial design.  Beginning with an initial fold, a single action causes a transfer of energy to subsequent folds, which ultimately manifest in drawings and three-dimensional forms. I use my engineering skills to create kinetic sculpture, which have led to collaborations with scientists. Researchers see paper engineering as a metaphor for scientific principles; I see their inquiry as basis for artistic inspiration. In my studio I am a collaborator, explorer, and inventor. I begin with a system of folding and at a particular moment the material takes over. Guided by wonder, my work is made because I cannot visualize its final realization; in this way I come to understanding through making.

About Shilan

Matthew Shlian is an artist/designer and founder of the Initiative Artist Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His work extends from drawings to large-scale installations to collaborations with leading scientists at the University of Michigan. His work for the National Science Foundation explores paper folding structures on the macro level translated to the nano-scale. His client list includes Ghostly International, Apple, P&G, Facebook, Levi’s, Sesame Street, and the Queen of Jordan.