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gamlelandet: old country | photographs by sarah christianson & paintings by gary christenson | april 11th, 2009

two artists, unrelated by blood and artistic medium, have unknowningly walked parallel paths.

painter gary christenson and photographer sarah christianson have both traveled through the old country - gamlelandet - of norway, searching for the areas their ancestors once called home. inspired by old family portraits, sarah photographed the norwegian farms her ancestors left and the current owners now living on them. gary's muse has been the rugged landscapes north of the artic circle his ancestors once inhabited in the vicinity of tromsø, karlsøy, lenangsøyra, and the lyngen alps of norway.

"gamlelandet" brings together the work of these two artists. the exhibition explores the norwegian landscape and the memories of farms that once belonged to great- and great-great grandparents. their work reflects the solitary nature of these places and the vast amount of space to be roamed from town to town, from one individual to another, from past to present.

the artists:

sarah christianson grew up on a four-generation family farm near cummings, north dakota, and subsequently developed a strong in family history and the midwestern experience. she is currently a graduate student in photography at the university of minnesota and will complete her mfa degree this may.

gary christenson is a self-taught artist who began painting at the age of 46. at that time, he developed an interest in the healing influences of art in healthcare and chaired a committee to enhance the university of minnesota's student health clinic with original art. through this position he met dr. harold adams, a retired physician who received an mfa while in his seventies, who persuaded gary to start painting. he credits serendipity as his chief instructor.