Luminous portraits and more: The Rochester (Minnesota) Center for Art

(Last Updated On: December 15, 2020)

My next door neighbors are artists – serious artists who show their work in art museums and gallery shows . . . except they don’t actually show their work in the MSP area very often. And they aren’t ones to boast, so even when they do have a show in town, they don’t usually say anything about it unless it comes up in casual conversation. Thus I was thrilled to discover during a quick what-do-you-have-going-on-this-spring conversation over the fence that Melba had a show at an art center only an hour or so from home. This was my chance to see what she has been working on over the last few (or more) years.

Luminous portraits and more in Rochester Minnesota

Over the weekend I finally made that trip down to the Rochester Center for Art to see what was on display.

Rochester Center for the Arts Minnesota -

Melba Price: Until the Break of Dawn

My neighbor, Melba Price’s current show consists entirely of portraits based on images she found on the internet. While this seems like it would result in cold, academic renderings, the luminous portraits are imbued with emotion and intimacy.

Rochester Center for Art Minnesota 2 - ExplorationVacation - work by Melba Price

Matt Winkler: Regarding the Monument

An architectural exhibit both in the content and technique, Matt Winkler’s show consists of multi-dimensional constructions created with paper, wood, and more. Displayed in a dimly lit space, the individual works are lit so they seem to both glow and recede in the darkness.


Rochester Center for Art Minnesota 6 - ExplorationVacation - Matt winkler collage

Jennifer Nevitt: The Sky is a Shroud

While it was scheduled to close last month, Jennifer Nevitt’s exhibit was still mostly in place. In this show, she mixes natural elements and simple materials to create intriguing vignettes.


The Rochester Art Center

The Rochester Art Center itself is an interesting building. Designed by Hammel, Green and Abrahamson (HGA) and opened in 2004, it houses galleries, classrooms, administrative offices, and meeting/reception areas in an airy contemporary building.

Rochester Center for the Arts Minnesota -

It’s a pleasant space to wander through and includes several works of art on permanent display. The most dramatic of these is Michael Sailstorfer’s Wolken (Clouds), which uses large inner tubes from truck tires to create a sky filled with (kind of funny little) dark clouds.

Rochester Center for Art Minnesota 18 - ExplorationVacation - innertube clouds collage

The Tectonic Industries installation It’s always good to use first person in the narrative is more subtle. Located along the upper level gallery space, this work is spread across several interior columns, each of which lists all of the words from various love songs arranged alphabetically with the number of times the word appears in the song noted in parenthesis. Reading down the list of words has a musicality and sense of poetry of its own, but is completely without any meaning – let alone the meaning conveyed by the song’s lyrics.


All three of the temporary exhibits featured here are scheduled to close within the week, so hurry over to see them while you can.

The Rochester Art Center is located in the Civic Center complex in downtown Rochester, Minnesota. Although the Civic Center is currently under construction, there is plenty of parking available in the area. The galleries are open to the public (for a very small charge) Wednesday through Sunday and downtown parking along the street is free on weekends.

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