Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Reflection Gallery to host art by Kristin (Wanhala) Stanchina through Sept. 28

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Reflection Gallery, Hancock, will host an exhibition of paintings by Upper Peninsula artist Kristin (Wanhala) Stanchina through Sept. 28, 2012.

Artwork by Kristin (Wanhala) Stanchina. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

An opening reception for the artist will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the gallery on Thursday, Sept. 6.
The reception is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served.

"I am from" is a collection of work that illustrates Stanchina’s past, present, and future. Stanchina, from Tapiola, Mich, is 100 percent Finnish.

"I was interested in exploring what that means," Stanchina said of her Finnish ethnicity, adding that because Finnish traits include stoicism and a certain level of privacy, she found that collecting family photos and memories was a challenging undertaking.

As she sorted through old family photographs, exploring hazy memories and poking through her family’s history, Stanchina says she discovered a better sense of her past and present, although the journey was not an easy one.

"A lot of family history is lost, or half-recollected, simply because the Finnish are often so fiercely guarded that family secrets are not revealed, even to one another," she says.

To elucidate the snippets of family history she discovered, Stanchina used paint, collage, photography, and repurposed objects.

 Artwork by Kristin (Wanhala) Stanchina.

"I seek to invoke a sense of the past and my imagery is sometimes vague and obscured -- the way a memory often is," she explains of her artwork.

In the exhibit, Stanchina notes that objects, events, and places are all of equal importance "because that’s what our memories consist of: a jumbled assortment of imagery that forms a sense of who we were, who we are, and who we will yet become."

"I am from" includes imagery from a 1970s childhood and from family life in general. Artwork topics include depictions of the 1913 Italian Hall disaster, as well the aftermath. Stanchina’s paintings are in black and white, color, and found patterns of faded fabrics.

Stanchina spent most of her childhood in Houghton and attended high school in Iron Mountain. She holds a bachelor of fine arts, with concentrations in drawing and painting, from Northern Michigan University, Marquette. She has been teaching art at Iron Mountain Public Schools since 2001. Stanchina resides in Iron Mountain with her husband and daughter.

The Reflection Gallery is located on the second level of Finlandia’s Jutila Center campus, 200 Michigan Street, Hancock, MI 49930.

For additional information, e-mail or call 906-487-7500.

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