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26th Contemporary Finnish American Artist Series Exhibition: Laura Ahola-Young: Up the Echo Trail

HANCOCK, MI –Finlandia University Gallery presents the 26th Contemporary Finnish American Artist Series Exhibition featuring Laura Ahola-Young.  Up the Echo Trail, an exhibit of paintings, drawings, and mixed media work will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, from December 1, 2016 to January 14, 2017.

An opening reception at the gallery will take place on Thursday, December 1st, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. with an artist talk beginning at 7:15 p.m.  The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Rust, mold, moss, swarm patterns, nanotechnology and microscopic diseases are explored in drawings and paintings by Finnish American artist Laura Ahola-Young. “I am interested in how forms, disease and behaviors metastasize, grow and spread,” says Ahola-Young.

Seeking knowledge through asking questions, Ahola-Young’s work represents what is fleeting; a speck, a circumstance, or a neural, biological, philosophical or sensory occasion. From the miniscule to the vast, Ahola-Young’s work reveals unseen realities.

While painting Ahola-Young actively creates and destroys at the same time, a technique that results in the imagery evolving throughout the process.  Working with layers of glazes, scraping and mark making, Ahola-Young discovers the narrative of the work, leaving the evidence of the search present in the final work. “The work has a history, casualties and moments of clarity,” says Ahola-Young. “Metaphors and images cease to exist to allow the possibility of change and new discoveries. It is this – what is possible and what must be destroyed- that has led me to research visually and intellectually this phenomenon in the natural world.”
Ahola-Young’s connection to the natural world is influenced by the landscape of her youth spent in Northern Minnesota, specifically the Iron Range and the Boundary Waters. Her maternal family (Slovenian and Italian) and paternal family (Finnish) both have deep roots to the town Ely, Minnesota. Known for mining, tourism and wilderness, Ely is a place rooted in Finnish heritage. The birch trees, lakes and weather brought Finnish immigrants to Ely, as the land is reminiscent of Finland.

The cold, long winters and the lakes are the aesthetics of Ahola-Young’s childhood. Her work strives to embody her sense of belonging to place and home.  Echo Trailis one of many roads that connect Ely to the boundary waters.  Ahola-Youngs paintings are a reflection of her heritage and the landscape of her youth, paired with a lingering and repeated desire for belonging.

Up the Echo Trail will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery through January 14, 2017.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information, call 906-487-7500.

See photos and full story at finlandia.edu/universitygallery

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