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A glimpse into the world of Mollie Douthit

Mollie Douthit brings ‘Handshake’ to the Magic City

Mollie Douthit speaks about her work during her public reception Nov. 1 at the Walter Piehl Gallery, Northwest Arts Center, Minot State University. Photo courtesy of Greg Vettel/MSU

“The easiest way to say it is, it’s a visual diary of my life,” said artist Mollie Douthit about her work. “It’s stuff happening and maybe a unique perspective or different angle and that’s what I do.”

Douthit, a native of Grand Forks, has been working and displaying art around the world since 2013. She has brought her small, intimate oil paintings to Minot and has had “Handshake” on display since Nov. 1 at the Northwest Arts Center Walter Piehl Gallery.

Each show title for Douthit is a memory that leads her down a path to other memories. The title “Handshake” is derived from the way Van Gogh would sign his letters to his brother.

“I have a very good friend in England who, he always says ‘Handshakes’ at the end of his emails,” Douthit explained. “His friendship has just meant a lot to me over the last couple years.”

The work that makes up “Handshake” has been developed over the past two years. At first, when Douthit was talking with MSU associate professor of art Micah Bloom she thought she would need to change the way she works and make big pieces to fit the gallery space.

“And he just looked at me and he’s like, ‘Mollie, you make small work,'” Douthit said. “And I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, I make small work and it can fit in there.’ That has been the joy of the show too. To see it on display, sparse.”

Douthit came to Minot with 75 paintings and narrowed her display down to 27. The decisions came easy as Douthit stuck with her gut and thought of how she wanted the show to make people feel.

Douthit does have pieces for sale and though it is hard for her to part with some of the pieces she’s created, part of the creative process for her is sharing it.

“I always think that part of the process is sharing it and hoping it’s going to a home where it’s loved,” she said.

Influences for Douthit include Alice Neel, Lucian Freud and Pierre Bonnard.

“They’re mainly artists who have allowed their life and their work to overlap and intertwine,” Douthit said. “They paint things that are happening or people that are passing through their life.”

Being from North Dakota, Douthit has displayed art in Grand Forks and Fargo, but this is the first time she has brought her art to the Magic City.

“I just think it’s incredible to kind of have the space, especially the addition of the Walter Piehl gallery,” Douthit said. “His donation has just been incredible and I think it’s such a unique thing to have right on campus.”

Douthit noted how hospitable the gallery space has been to her and her art. They help a faculty reception in addition to the student and community reception earlier in November. She was able to meet a lot of the faculty, all coming from different art disciplines, and share a love of art.

She also gave an hour lecture to students at Minot State and spoke about some things in her professional and educational career that she would have done differently.

“It was good to get to talk to them and see where they’re at and sort of remember that time where I was making some decisions like they are and realizing the impact of certain decisions,” she said.

Douthit’s exhibition “Handshake” will be on display through Nov. 29.

To stay up to date on Douthit’s work, visit her website www.molliedouthit.com/ or check her out on Instagram @mollie.douthit. The MSU Northwest Arts Center can be found on Facebook, @NorthwestArtsCenter.

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