Gwen Walstrand’s local exhibit, Near and There; Glimpses From a Fleeting World, is now showing until November 18, at the Spiva Art Gallery on the campus of Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Missouri. This is a rare opportunity to see a large, solo exhibition of Gwen’s, since she normally exhibits in larger cities both nationally and internationally. The relatively short distance from Springfield to Joplin makes a perfect day trip to enjoy photographs in-person that spotlight the earnestness and honesty of young activists and the landscapes surrounding them.
Discovery is at the core of her process. “Most of my learning is through photography,” she shares, “through visually exploring the world, through studying the history of photography and other contemporary artists, and through researching the content of my work, photography is how and why I learn nearly everything else.” Gwen has been studying and photographing for more than 30 years.
In the Art + Design Department, Gwen spends most of her time teaching, while also doing her own research and presenting her own work in exhibits such as this one. “It’s essential for me to be a successful exhibiting artist in order to teach with expertise and experience,” Gwen explains.
Near and There; Glimpses From a Fleeting World is a solo exhibition showcasing around 25 pieces. “It includes foreboding landscape images and very direct portraits of children,” explains Gwen, “displaying them in visual and contextual ways to emphasize the subjects’ inherent fragility and resiliency.” More on this exhibit, as well as additional work can be found on Gwen’s website.
The Spiva Art Gallery is open typically from 8am to 5pm Monday through Thursday and 8am to 4 pm on Fridays. located at 3950 E. Newman Rd., Joplin, MO 65801-1595. Call to ensure the gallery is open: 417-625-3066.