This evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., the Taube Museum of Art, located at 2 N. Main St., will host a free reception for their current exhibition, "Real Steel." The artist, Rich Solberg, will be on hand to discuss his works, which use new and recycled metal to express images both whimsical and thought-provoking.
"I like taking a twist on common phrases that can be expressed in metalwork," he said. "Artistic irony can be interesting."
Solberg began his career when his father taught him to weld at age 12, skills which were augmented and influenced by two mentors he cites in particular - Gordon Quammen, a local blacksmith, and Emil Domaskin, a carpenter, builder and inventor.
Metal sculptor Rich Solberg works on another creation in his shop in this undated photo. Solberg, who says he enjoys utilizing “artistic irony,” presents “Real Steel,” currently displayed at the Taube Museum of Art in downtown Minot. A reception will be held tonight.
His career has been in education administration, with a lifelong interest in art.
"I've always loved playing with words and enjoy wry humor," he said. For example, one of his works is entitled "Jack in the Beanstalk," and it's only close inspection that makes visible the car jack in the sculpture.
"I get bored doing the same thing over and over," he said, although he does explore different takes on a theme. Recently he has incorporated 3-D accents in house signs that use horseshoes to form the initial letter, such as for the Mowbray family, who are fourth generation plumbers, and skiers for his own family sign.
"I like to different things, recycling and inventing and making new tools I need," Solberg said.
He said he feels that many, if not most, of the artisans who work with their hands are essentially artists.
"They'd never describe themselves that way, probably never thought about it," Solberg said. "Might even be offended."
But he pointed out that carpenters and metalworkers carefully produce beautiful as well as functional items. He wants the visitors to the gallery to take the time to discover the story within the art for themselves, with only a hint from the titles. The pieces have been produced over about 50 years, and vary in size and theme. Some include other materials such as wood and rocks as well.
"Real Steel" runs through Sept. 29 in the main gallery, with a small works exhibit in the lower gallery.
Taube Museum and Gift Shop hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling 838-4445 for a special appointment. There is no charge for admission, but contributions are accepted to help the Taube Museum fulfill their mission of enriching lives through the visual arts. The exhibition is made possible with support from the North Dakota Council on the Arts.