Women on display: New Brighton artist features women, self-portraits in show at Banfill-Locke

New Brighton artist Sherry Paulendeick creates paintings and mixed media art, often centered on women. A series of narrative works, in addition to self-portraits, will be on view at the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts in Fridley, from Aug. 22 through Sept. 21. (courtesy of Sherry Paulendeick)

Paulendeick grew up in New Brighton and went to Mounds View Public Schools from kindergarten through high school. She still lives in the area today, and says art centers like Banfill-Locke helped her continue her own artistic practice while working as a teacher. (Bridget Kranz)

Tucked away in nearby Fridley, the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts will host a show featuring New Brighton artist Sherry Paulendeick starting Aug. 22.

Entitled “Fearless: Images of Women, Images of Celebration,” the exhibition will showcase paintings and mixed-media work from Paulendeick, as well as portraits of inspirational women by Minneapolis artist Deb Francisco-Ferrell.

Paulendeick, 65, will be displaying a number of works with women as their subject matter in addition to what she calls a “healing study in self-portraits.”

As opposed to classical works of women reclining on chaise lounges, Paulendeick’s subjects are browsing in a shop, drinking in a crowded bar or singing for a large audience. She compares crafting her realistic scenes to setting a play, noting that she has also directed theatrical works in the past. 

“I’m a retired art teacher, and one of the things I used to tell my students is that everything is full and nothing is empty,” says Paulendeick. “My images are full of things, there’s not much empty space.”

Recently, Paulendeick turned to self-portraiture, looking to Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh for inspiration. 

“Van Gogh did self-portrait after self-portrait the entire time he was painting. There are so many of them and it’s interesting that every single one of them looks different,” she says. “He was trying to figure out who he was and what was going on. It was for clarity, and I think that’s really what inspired me to do that self-portrait study.”

As Paulendeick toyed with her own face, breaking up the image or changing the light and colors, she noticed the way that she was viewing herself changed over time.

“Focusing on those paintings and working things out with the tones and the colors, as I balanced those out, everything else was balancing out,” she explains, saying that her retirement from teaching coupled with the loss of multiple family members had left her in a dark place. 

Before retirement, Paulendeick taught art at schools across the north metro after graduating from Mounds View High School and getting a studio art degree from the University of Minnesota. 

In her artist statement, Paulendeick notes that her professors told her only 7% of department graduates would still be making art a few years out of college. 

While teaching, she was determined to keep her practice going. She says that getting involved with Banfill-Locke, and other centers around the metro, was a huge motivator.

While she has been a member of the center for a decade, her relationship with the nonprofit dates back to the late 1970s, when it was located in the former Apache Plaza shopping mall in St. Anthony.

“I noticed this shop full of paintings and I very carefully poked my head through the door and said, ‘Is this an art gallery?’” Paulendeick says. “And a woman said, ‘Yes, we’re a center for the arts, come in and look!’”

Passing out postcards for her show back home in New Brighton, Paulendeick was surprised by how many people were unfamiliar with the center, which moved to its current location in 1988.

“They are these fabulous resources; you can connect up with other artists just by walking in the door,” she says of Banfill-Locke and other area art centers.

Paulendeick’s show will be up at Banfill-Locke from Aug. 22 through Sept. 21, with an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 27. 

Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., located at 6666 E. River Road in Fridley. 


–Bridget Kranz can be reached at bkranz@lillienews.com or 651-748-7825.

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Comment Here