Current Exhibitions

Mollie Douthit: Paintings

May 7 – July 30, 2017


Words are an impure medium. Better far to have
been born into the silent kingdom of paint.

                                                    — Virginia Wolff

Join us for the opening
Sunday, May 7, 2017, at 3 pm

Mollie will be here from Ireland
and lead an informal gallery talk at 4 pm

The exhibition is part of the Museum’s Art Makers Series
underwritten by Dr. William Wosick


Artist's Statement

The continual undercurrent to my work is a curiosity in representing objects, spaces, or people that are important to me through paint. The material of paint allows an equalization of importance to these subjects, and through the use of brushwork, colour, and composition I can express my emotional connection to them. The attraction to these subjects has occurred naturally, and is par with the affection I have for oil paint.

I paint from life.  My attitude towards application is that any method is ‘fair game’, but I tend to naturally stack or build paint through tonal variations rather than modelling. In maintaining open dialogue with application methods, I am able to engage in my process more confidently and clearly- allowing paint to be the subject as well as what I am observing. Sustaining this attitude and trust in the process allows a constant flow of discovery, challenge, and engagement with the material. Sometimes this process leads to waiting and the painting may sit for an extended period of time before I have a sense of where it is to go.

Seeing colours rest next to each other and create a conversation as well as relate to a subject delights me. To fully investigate colour I have committed a significant amount of time to the maturity of my palette and have developed a personal colour chart system. This system enables me to experiment with colour mixing, as well as keep record of how to remake complex combinations. This process has increased my passion for rich vibrant colour, and my enjoyment of paints physicality. For this reason I use brushes that are stiff and can be fully loaded, allowing thick application.  

Historically I place my work in relation to the 18th century still life painters forward beginning with Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, and his work based on his own everyday items. Contemporary influences include Alice Neel, Lucian Freud, and Vincent Van Gogh. On a material level these painters typically employ raw, direct mark making to explore their subject; but with their own language extend something beyond the surface of a painting- capturing an essence of their subject.

Theoretically I am interested in painters talking about their own process of painting, and appreciate when critics investigate finished work of the artist, as well as the artist’s process. A specific example would be Martin Gayford’s biography on sitting for a Lucian Freud Portrait ‘Man with a Blue Scarf’. Viewing work in person is crucial to my practice, I often go to cities seeking out specific bodies of work, and most recently I spent time in Amsterdam to research the work of Van Gogh.

Reading is an invaluable source of inspiration for me, I gravitate towards writers who use quotidian subjects, and similar to those I choose to paint. I like reading literature and poetry that holds a direct tone, yet remains penetrable and interesting. These are qualities I strive for in my own work. Writers I align these qualities with are Lydia Davis, Sylvia Plath, and Steve Toltz. I also enjoy hearing writers speak about their processes. This helps me to understand my own process more clearly, by associating universal terms of artistic practice based methods.


Mollie Douthit, All Ears, 2017. Oil on linen panel. 7.75 x 11.75 inches.

Mollie Douthit, Frozen Desire, 2015. Oil on paper. 7.75 x 5.25 inches.

Mollie Douthit, Kitchen III, 2016. Oil on canvas panel. 7.75 x 9.75 inches


Rena Effendi:
Spirit Lake

June 15 - July 23, 2017


Rena Effendi was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and grew up in the USSR, witnessing her country’s path to independence—one marred by war, political instability, and economic collapse. From the outset, Effendi focused her photography on issues of conflict, social justice, and the oil industry’s effect on people and the environment. From 2002 to 2008, Effendi followed a 1,700-kilometer pipeline through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, documenting the impact this multibillion-dollar project had on impoverished farmers, fishermen, and other citizens. This six-year journey became her first book Pipe Dreams: A Chronicle of Lives Along the Pipeline, published in 2009. The project received numerous awards, including a Getty Images Editorial grant, a Fifty Crows International Fund Award, a Magnum Foundation Caucasus Photographer Award, and a Mario Giacomelli Memorial Fund Award. In 2012, Effendi published her second monograph “Liquid Land”, where her images of Baku are paired with photographs of perished butterflies hunted by her father, a Soviet entomologist, who collected more than 30,000 butterflies in the Soviet Union. “Liquid Land” punctuates the theme of fragility and environmental decay of her native city.

Over the past 10 years, Effendi has covered stories in the post-Soviet region, as well as in Turkey and Iran, including the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict, women victims of heroin and sex trafficking in Kyrgyzstan, and the hidden lives of youth in Tehran. In 2011, she received the Prince Claus Fund Award for Cultural Development and moved to Cairo. In 2012, Effendi was short-listed for the Prix-Pictet Global Award for Photography and Sustainability, for her series documenting the lives of survivors of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. An exhibition of the prize-winning photos toured the world. This spring, Effendi gave the North Dakota Museum of Art her seven prints included in the touring show, plus copies of two of them to be sold by the Museum.

Effendi’s involvement with World Press Photo goes back to 2005, when she was a participant in the Joop Swart Master Class. In 2012, she was a selector for, and later contributor to, the organization’s Reporting Change project. In 2014, thousands of photographers from around the world submitted 800 photos for twenty-seven prizes, of which Rena Effendi won two. This included 2nd prize in Observed Portrait Singles for Dasan Cavanaugh, age 10, has not cut his hair since he was born. Also in 2014 she won 3rd prize in the Observed Portrait Stories category for her series “Traditional Haying in Transylvania."

In addition to the twenty photos commissioned by the Museum for Songs for Spirit Lake and the seven Chernobyl photos, the North Dakota Museum of Art owns three prints from Effendi’s “Pipe Dreams” series and two others from “Liquid Land.”
Effendi now lives in Istanbul.

Rena Effendi, Growing Water, 2014. C-type print. 22.5 x 22.5 inches. Detail

Rena Effendi, Sunny Day in the Woods, 2014. C-type print. 22.5 x 22.5 inches. Detail

Rena Effendi, Myrna and Richard Outside Their Home in St.Michaels, 2014. C-type print. 22.5 x 22.5 inches. Detail


Beyond Home

June 1 - July 23, 2017


Home is where we live and for most of us the place where we are most comfortable. Beyond Home is everywhere else. This exhibition is drawn from the North Dakota Museum of Art’s permanent collection. It is artwork the Museum holds in trust for the people of North Dakota. There are artists from ten foreign countries as well as three United States citizens who make art about life in other countries. Quite often they use visual language (art) to explore historical events and how they impact human life. Art is one of the humanities, which along with such fields as law, philosophy, history and literature, studies how people process and document the human experience. What does it mean to be human is the overriding issue for many artists in this show.

Magdalena Campos-Pos, The Seven Powers, 1994. Cibachrome prints with overpainting.

Peter Dean, Berlin: The Accusation, 1986. Oil on canvas.


Zemer Peled:

April 2 - May 31, 2017


Zemer Peled’s Suspension, 2017 is a site-specific environment composed of delicately interlocked porcelain lines suspended in air. This installation is presented alongside brother Amit Peled’s cello program “Journey with My Jewishness” and provides a physical composition in dialogue with Amit’s musical compositions. Just as the individual notes in a music rely on one another to create a whole, Zemer’s physical composition is composed of individual porcelain lines held together only by gravity to create a three-dimensional space. The process behind the installation is perilous: the artist adds the hooked porcelain fragments one by one, pushing the material to its limit to create a precarious yet sustained environment, manifesting the idea of musical notes sustained in time and space. As the installation grows more complex, the work is continuously in danger of collapsing from the weight of its own individual pieces.
The porcelain lines intertwine and evolve organically to create what Peled describes as a “three-dimensional drawing in space” which pulls inspiration from both natural forms and the concept of the melodic line. Additionally Suspension responds in kind to the repetitive process of combining a single unit, the musical note, to create a complex and multi-layered composition. Suspension is also informed by the device of tension and release in music. Among its various layers are: the literal tension of gravity holding the porcelain lines together, the emotional tension caused by the fact that the fragile pieces could break at any moment, and by the physical representation of a moment of musical tension caused by the sustaining of chord for an extended period of time. The notes of a sustained chord seem to be suspended in air, manifested through Peled’s installation which is suspended on the verge of change and awaiting resolution.



Amit and Zemer Peled were born and grew up with their family in a small kibbutz in the northern part of Israel. Despite the current geographical distance between them, Amit and Zemer are very close friends, and the siblings have collaborated previously for the 2014 exhibition Pablo and Me at the Cotuit Center for the arts in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Zemer received her BA at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem and her MA from the Royal College of Art in London. In recent years her work has been featured nationally and internationally in museums and galleries. She is currently visiting artist-in-residence at California State University, Long Beach.
When he is not performing, Amit is a Professor at the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University.



Barton's Place

Closed on Mezzanine
Monday, June 12 - Wednesday, June 14


Barton Lidice Benes lived in a magical apartment in New York City. It was filled with over $1 million in African, Egyptian, South American, Chinese and contemporary art, plus much more as touted in the New York Times when it announced Barton’s intended gift to North Dakota (2/6/05).

Barton Benes and his treasure trove spent decades tucked away in a glorious boxcar space in Westbeth, the artist community in New York’s West Village. There, rare works of art joined ranks with the arcane, the wistful, the amusing, the deeply serious, and a “maddening and morbid array of things” (a human toe found on New York’s Williamsburg Bridge, a stuffed mink wearing a mink coat, an eight-foot giraffe head). This temporary installation suggests the drama and mystery embedded in Barton’s private wonderland. Continue reading...


Radiolab Podcast: As It Happens




Walter Piehl / ULAE print benefits NDMOA


North Dakota artist Walter Piehl collaborated with Bill Goldston, Director of Universal Limited Art Editions on Long Island, to create a work of art as a benefit for the North Dakota Museum of Art. ULAE is known as a pioneer for its work with artists such as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and James Rosenquist as they introduced lithography as a fine art form to Americans. Only thirty Walter Piehl prints exist. Print number one will go into the Museum's permanent collection. Print two will be raffled off to the general public, and the remaining twenty-eight are available for Museum supporters, Walter's friends, and collectors. Contact the Museum 701.777.4195 to secure your print, destined to take its rightful place in the history of art on the Northern Plains.

Price: Twenty-eight prints to be sold with all proceeds going to the Museum. Graduated price structure: Edition #3-10 for $2,000 each (SOLD); Edition #11-20 for $2,500 (SOLD); Edition #21-30 for $3,000.

    Only 2 prints left

Walter Piehl, Smokey Nellie, Pigmented ink-jet with lithography, 24 x 32 1/4 inches, 2013.
Walter named the work after the two horses his friend Bill Goldston rode as a youngster in Oklahoma.

Please note, check the website often. Dates are subject to change.