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Of the North

An installation by Jacob Aaron Schroeder

Exhibit dates:

Feb 16 - Mar 9

Opening Reception:

Saturday, Feb 16. 7pm - 11pm

Artist Conversation:

Saturday Feb 23. 1pm.

Gallery Hours:

Wed, Thurs, Friday: 2pm - 6pm

Saturday: 1pm - 7pm

of the North is a site specific installation from St. Paul based artist Jacob Aaron Schroeder. The exhibition includes mixed-media and sculptural artworks reflecting on the lived experience of a queer person in the world. This artistic expression is inextricably bound to biographical content, Schroeder’s own healing process through mental illnesses. From his experience, prevalent themes of toxic masculinity, internalized homophobia, and self-hatred plague queer men based on societal standards. The queer lived experience, complex and individual, is a space of persistent vulnerability and historical oppression. With of the North, Schroeder constructs a conceptual altar to meditate on the ways in which LGBTQ members of his community suffer internally and silently.

Schroeder visited LGBTQ mental health resource centers in St. Paul, St. Cloud and Virginia, Minnesota, with the intention to listen, connect and include the stories of others into his artistic process. Provincial and rural queer narratives are important as subjectivities that exist outside the liberal urban context, as Schroeder himself was raised in an extremely conservative context. of the North explores how collaboration and dialogue are fundamental to understanding, and how identifying with others across experiences of age, gender, race, place and more, can affirm difficult feelings. of the North addresses how the cultural stigma surrounding the discussion of mental health only compounds the burden felt by queer people.

The materials and ideas shared within the works are drawn from Schroeder’s interactions through this research process, many of which were with gender non-conforming and transgender individuals. While the works were created as a means of self-investigation and catharsis, Schroeder shares this installation from the position of his own subjectivity, informed and influenced by the stories and lived experiences of others both like and unlike his own. In this way, the work and topics presented insist on conversation and reflection. The installation is confessional, the objects within it a beautiful offering, rather than an attempt to represent or speak on the behalf of others. The exhibit awakens us all to intimate, painful realities and creates poetic space to allow for healing by members from the LGBTQ community that are suffering.

About the Artist

Jacob Aaron Schroeder is a visual artist currently working in St. Paul, Minnesota. Through the meditative processes of hand-stitching sequins, burning velvet, and bedazzling textiles, he uses the aesthetic qualities of gender-associated objects to expose the internal conflicts queer men experience. Use of text within these pieces highlights the urgency of addressing the mental health needs of queer people. Schroeder received his BFA in Drawing/Painting from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2014. He has shown at numerous galleries throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, including Space 369, AGG/Glick Gallery, Form + Content, and SSCA Gallery. His work has been featured in publications such as WeTheUrban, MPLSTYLE, and Forget Good. His is the recipient of the 2018 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant.

Jacob Aaron Schroeder is a fiscal year 2018 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Public Functionary