Floodplain: Chad Rutter and CHASTUSHKI: Amy Toscani

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Minneapolis– On April 18, the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP) presents two new exhibitions at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA). In “Floodplain”, artist and bookmaker Chad Rutter explores American material and cultural geography through a range of media, including photography and sculpture; while sculptor Amy Toscani, known for her distinct Midwestern aesthetic and humor, showcases new works in “CHASTUSHKI”. 

“Floodplain,” Rutter’s first solo museum show, carries forward the artist’s interest in cultural geography as well as reflects on his understanding of transcendentalist philosophy, which he links to American values of individualism, car culture, and exploration. In Pond, the centerpiece of the installation, Rutter excerpts from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden on a custom programmed highway message board. By converting this classic meditation on the beauty of wilderness and creative isolation into 3-line bits of text, the installation conflates the private, slow-paced act of reading with the fast-lane drive through the natural landscape.

In the adjacent MAEP gallery, “CHASTUSHKI” presents new works that Toscani creates from thrift store treasures and found sculptures.  Her pieces, which have been described as “suburban sublime,” use art historical concepts such as ready-made and recycling and morph them into objects that become endearingly awkward and self-effacing. For example, Cuccu began as a found sad-eyed dog figurine, the top portion of which seamlessly transitions into Toscani’s sculpted, over-sized lower body. The exaggerated scale gives both a humorous and pathetic appearance. The human-scale in her new sculptures also marks an important shift in Toscani’s work.

About the artists

Chad Rutter received his MFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) in 2006 and is a 2011 recipient of the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant. He is also the publisher of Mystery Spot books. 

Amy Toscani received her MFA in 1988 from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio and is a 2013/2014 recipient of the McKnight Artist Fellowship. She has had numerous solo and group shows, most recently at Rosalux Gallery in Minneapolis.

An opening reception for “Floodplain” and “Chastushki” is Thursday, April 17 from 7 – 9 pm in the museum’s MAEP galleries.

Generous support for MAEP is provided by The McKnight Foundation and Jerome Foundation. Additional support provided by RBC Wealth Management.