A personal tribute

MARSHALL – When looking for a new series to create, Rushmore artist Agnes “Bobbie” Alsgaard-Lien turned to something familiar.

Alsgaard-Lien’s latest artwork is on display through May 16 at the Marshall Area Fine Arts Council’s arts center. An artist reception will be from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, April 27.

Alsgaard-Lien had received a Southwest Minnesota Arts Council grant to create a body of work -“Ships.” Some of those pieces are included in the exhibit at MAFAC.

“I’m kind of doing a tribute to my brothers and revisiting the dichotomy of being an art student during the Vietnam War and how that affected my world,” she said.

“I had been looking for a series that was meaningful after county parks,” she added. Alsgaard-Lien had received a SW MN Arts Council Legacy grant to travel to 33 county parks in six counties around southwest Minnesota and make a piece of art based on the regional landscape.

For her latest works, Alsgaard-Lien said she researched the ships her brothers were on. Two of her brothers were in the Navy, while another served in the Air Force. She said that of her brothers who were in the Navy, one did two tours in Vietnam, and the other was at the Bay of Pigs. The brother in the Air Force was in Guam.

“I’m just kind of exploring that idea,” she said.

Alsgaard-Lien has many different memories that involve ships. For example, she remembers the time when her father had died and the Red Cross had to fly out to a ship to get her brother. Another brother would take her out on his ship.

Alsgaard-Lien said her neighbors gave her a book, and one of her brothers sends her photos that she uses as ideas for her artwork.

“And the feeling I had as a kid climbing on those big, gray ships, knowing my brother was on them,” she said.

Flat gray tends to be used in some of her paintings of ships.

“I remember the colors, just so flat gray,” she said. “It’s based on emotions.”

How she connected with the series, Alsgaard-Lien said, is when she was at her cousin’s place at Cabo San Luca.

“(I was) there when the G-20 summit was meeting,” Alsgaard-Lien said. “There was military everywhere.” She said she would see several ships along the horizon on any given day. “So I sat there and painted them. It just kept flowing to do that series.”

“It was so amazing to me to see the military buildup,” she added.

Alsgaard-Lien said she can have 10 to 20 paintings going at the same time. One of the paintings from the “Ships” series is about the expanse of the ocean, with a tiny ship.

“When you see the ship docked, it’s huge,” she said.