layers of time


Form + Content Gallery presents Layers of Time, an exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Clarence Morgan, Stuart Nielsen, and Howard Oransky. The exhibition celebrates the perspective of artistic change over time, in recognition of the decades-long dedication each artist has brought to their studio practice. The artists also have a shared connection to the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota: Clarence Morgan is a member of the faculty, Stuart Nielsen is an alumnus, and Howard Oransky is a member of the staff. Morgan and Oransky showed their work together twice before at Form + Content Gallery: in Shared Distance in 2009 and in Patterns of Dialogue in 2016.

Clarence Morgan Statement

I am interested in an approach to art making that explores the often-conflicted relationship between the decorative traditions in geometric patterns found in other cultures and western modernism. However, the recent paintings, prints and drawings avoid culturally specific subject matter in favor of a more elusive pictorial terrain of contemporary abstraction. I am interested in making work that serves as a catalyst for the imagination, speculation and unscripted modes of knowing. Inasmuch, my work attempts to reflect a broader generational curiosity where the familiar and unfamiliar both come together and potentially clash with each other in-order to open alternative portals of thought.

Clarence Morgan Biography

Clarence Morgan is a visual artist whose studio focus is centered on painting, drawing and printmaking – often of an abstract nature. Utilizing random shapes and biomorphic forms within an intricate network of drawing, Morgan’s work ranges from highly patterned organic painting compositions to meticulously articulated and somewhat minimal collage-drawings. He approaches each work intuitively allowing the forms and elements to find their own natural cadence and visual pulse. Morgan is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he also earned his MFA and formal education and currently resides in Minneapolis, MN where he is a Professor of Art Practice at the University of Minnesota.

Stuart Nielsen Statement

Paintings are the intersection of many elements, factors, signals, and ingredients. Those ingredients include history and mystery, patterns and puzzles. The painting process seesaws between systems and suspicions, addition and subtraction. In the single work in this exhibition, Strada (2015), layers of grids are employed to construct a pattern/image. This matrix contains a luminous array and configuration of spectral and radiant color. In viewing, color registers an emotional response, conscious curiosity and links us to the infinite cosmic regions. Paintings are always about discovery.

Stuart Nielsen Biography

Trained as a painter Stuart Nielsen holds a BFA (1970) from the University of Minnesota. He has exhibited widely for over 50 years and his paintings are in many private, corporate, and public collections. He has also completed some 20 commissioned sculptures for public spaces and served on design teams for urban design projects. He received fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Bush Foundation. Teaching includes Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the University of Minnesota. He has served on the Minneapolis Arts Commission and the boards of Artspace, Northern Clay Center and Highpoint Center for Printmaking.

Howard Oransky Statement

There is an elegant, peaceful space in my imagination, full of balance and possibility. It is the edge where pictorial structure and improvisation share the same space at the same time. It is the moment when the work is leading me and I am ready to follow.

Howard Oransky Biography

Howard Oransky was born and grew up in Los Angeles, surrounded by the work of artists his parents knew and admired, such as Leopoldo Mendez and Arnie Mesches. He completed a BA in painting at California State University, Northridge in 1981 and an MFA in painting at CalArts in 1984, where he was mentored by John Baldessari. His studio is at Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art and he is a founding member of Form + Content Gallery in Minneapolis. Since 2011 he has been director of the Katherine E. Nash Gallery at the University of Minnesota.

May 16, - June 22, 2019

Opening reception:  Saturday, May 18, 8:00 - 10:00 PM


Form + Content Gallery presents “Betula”, exploring the tension of the unrestrained woods. There is both darkness and light, fear and awe. By examining decaying birch trees, Annie Irene Hejny questions the parallels between our human bodies and the natural world.


Artist Statement

Last September, I spent two weeks at the Pine Needles Residency in Marine on St. Croix. Every day, I walked in the woods and listened to the trees. In those woods, language dissolved and I melted into the environment. I listened deeply and was called to a site along the trail where seven pieces of fallen birch bark lay on the forest floor. I respectfully gathered the decaying tree skins and carried them back to my art studio to continue our conversation.*

 The seven abstract artworks exhibited for “Betula” are directly inspired by the spirits of those fallen trees. Sitting with them, I reflected on my past experiences in the woods. As a child, the dark trees and the sounds of unseen life within the woods filled me with fear. During those years, I was taught to obey the patriarchal systems that restricted my spirit and skewed my perception of the wild. As time has passed from childhood to adulthood, my consciousness has altered and I am no longer a stranger in the woods. Today, I practice looking directly into the shadows as an act of re-wilding my spirit.

*I have borrowed the birch bark and I will return it to those woods.


Artist Biography

Annie Irene Hejny studied at the University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University, earning a double-major B.A. in Elementary Education and Studio Art, Summa Cum Laude. She has successfully completed nearly 50 commissioned projects for galleries, private collections, and public institutions, locally and nationwide. The Women's Art Institute (WAI) at St. Catherine University and the Women's Art Resources of Minnesota (WARM) Mentor Program have been influential in her art journey.

Her work has been included in many solo and group exhibitions (Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Winona; Catherine G. Murphy Gallery, St. Catherine University; Paul Whitney Larson Art Gallery, University of Minnesota; Public Functionary, Minneapolis; Minnesota State Fair Juried Exhibition; The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis and Galería Municipal Rosario Sanchez de Lozada in Querétaro, México). Hejny was an artist-in-residence with Lanesboro Arts (2017), The Science Museum of Minnesota Pine Needles Residency (2018), and has been invited for a residency at the Grand Marais Art Colony (September 2019). She works at the Casket Arts Building in NE Minneapolis and is a current member of Form + Content Gallery.

 June 22 - August 03, 2019

Opening reception:  Thurs, August 03, 6:00 - 8:00 PM