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Northwest Minnesota Arts Council presents 'Birds' exhibit at Thief River Falls gallery

Exhibit features works by Ross Hier of Crookston and other regional artists.

NWMAC Ross Hier Birds Great-billed Hermit.JPG
Wildlife artist Ross Hier, of Crookston, painted this picture using transparent watercolors. This and his other works, along with artwork by regional artists, are on exhibit at the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council gallery at the Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls. (Submitted photo)
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The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is presenting an exhibit, featuring the work of wildlife biologist Ross Hier of Crookston and other regional artists, at its gallery on the Northland Community and Technical College campus in Thief River Falls through April 29.

The subject of the “Birds” exhibit is captured in paintings, photography, stained glass mosaic sculpture, fiber and mixed media, pottery, pen and ink, bird houses, chalk pastel and watercolors.

In addition to Hier, the exhibit includes works by other Minnesota artists: Stephanie Anderson and Ivy Baille, of Fosston; Doug Dallman, Thief River Falls; Sherri Kruger, Badger; Zach Rowatt and Janet Johnson, Roseau; Travis Hanel, Warren; Rock Bakken, Hallock; Betsy Saurdiff, Grygla; Kathryn Rynning, Kennedy; Cindy Kolling, Gully; and Karen Munson, Plymouth.

According to Mara Hanel, the council’s executive director, birds add beauty to the environment through their plumage and song “and allow us to escape the stressful and mundane. These artists have captured the simplicity, as well as the complexity, of birds.”

The exhibit features a large body of work by Hier, whose love of nature from a young age led him to a 35-year career as a wildlife biologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Section, Hanel said in a news release.

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A self-taught artist, Hier works with watercolors and “nature provides him with unlimited subject material,” she said.

In 2019, during a 13-day birding expedition in Ecuador, Hier observed 33 species and, after returning home, made it a personal mission to paint all 33 of them, he said in the news release. Some of these watercolors are on display at the NWMAC gallery.

“It is an extreme challenge to capture the vibrant, often neon-esque colors of hummingbirds with watercolor pigments. Also, mimicking blurred wing movement is very difficult,” Hier said. “I have learned much on the project and continue to revel in memories of the amazing 33 species.”

Some of the artwork in this “extensive and multifaceted exhibit” are available for purchase, Hanel said.

The NWMAC Gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and at other times when events are held at the college. Enter through Door A. Visitor parking is free in the large end lot.

The exhibit is made possible with funding from The McKnight Foundation, Hanel said.

For more information, visit the council’s website, www.NWArtsCouncil.org , or call Trey Everett at (218) 280-4917 or email NWArtsCouncil@gmail.com .

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Related Topics: ARTTHIEF RIVER FALLSBIRDS
Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at pknudson@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1107.
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