Upper School art teacher Nathan Stromberg was selected to display a collage at the 2015 Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts exhibit. The piece was “8 Wall Clocks,” the second piece Stromberg has shown at the fair since 2012.
“The State Fair exhibition has become pretty competitive in recent years,” said Stromberg. According to the State Fair’s website, last year 2,107 pieces were submitted, and only 325 works were accepted.
“It feels good [to be part of such a select group]. My work tends to do really well in suburban art centers, and with more general settings,” Stromberg said. “A lot of the people who come [to the Fair] are just people who go to eat Pronto Pups. I didn’t cater my work to go to the Fair, but it’s just a natural fit.”
In order to have work displayed at the State Fair, artists like Stromberg have to go through a two phase juried competition.
“You have to send them a high-resolution picture in June, and they get back to you in July and tell you if you’ve been accepted for stage two, and that’s when you have to bring the actual work over to the fair,” said Stromberg.
Even though the jury process is tough, Stromberg’s art was a natural fit, as his collage is more specialized than the large amounts of photography and paintings that the State Fair gets each year.
“8 Wall Clocks” is a collage, meaning there is no drawing or painting; the piece is made only out of small strips of colored paper. Stromberg’s background was in painting, but he has been making collages for six years.
“The cool thing about collage is that from a distance it can look like a painting, but you get up close and there are little bits of articles, and ads, and little faces, and objects,” Stromberg said. “[It’s] all about engaging memory through fairly realistic objects.”
Stromberg has been working on collages relating to objects. “I’m really interested with people’s reaction to objects,” he said, “Why do we assign meaning to pieces of glass and plastic and metal?”
The reason he’s working toward this theme is that Stromberg has two exhibitions coming up in 2016 exploring these topics. His artist’s statement, his work, and “8 Wall Clocks” are all available to be viewed at www.nathanstromberg.com.
“The feedback I’m getting is extremely positive,” said Stromberg.