by J.M. BAIN
Vulnerability. Resilience. Strength. When one artist carefully crafts a story of the human condition it makes for great art. When two come together to tell those stories through visual images, it becomes an event.
Waiting, which opened at Gallery Co on Oct. 7, pairs the photography of Wing Young Huie with the monochromatic prints of Susy Bielak. The large, warm gallery provides the stage for the stories to be told.
Wing Young Huie is best know for his ability to get his subjects to show him the truth of who they are. His local works, “Frogtown,” “Lake Street USA” and “Rural Minnesota” capture the soul of everyday people in their everyday lives. Susy Bielak is a studio artist with a background in psychology and anthropology, a true storytelling combination.
“We both have
a genuine curiosity of the human being,” she says. Her curiosity, like
Wing Young Huie’s, seems magical. Both call forth personal truth from
In Wing Young Huie’s “Hennepin Ave. & W. 29th St.,” a
young man waiting sports the right gear—bag, music, sunglasses. Underneath
that “right” image we see deep vulnerability and humanness, along
with fast food in hand. The image of this young man could be you, or everyman.
His photographs of everyday people are what we have grown to love and celebrate.
These are the pedestrians in our own urban landscape. They both draw us in and
push us away. They open our hearts as they reveal their own emotions.
Susy Bielak’s work suggests a contradiction among her subjects. Photographing
hundreds of people from a second story window where she works, Bielak chose
images that hold the greatest stories. Working with line, paint and print, she
creates what she calls “compositions that allow a lot of grace.”
Each one offers a different perspective, creating an abstract, unbalanced feeling.
Unaware that they are being photographed, her subjects seem to say, “I
see you. I want you to know me,” and at the same time, “Stay away.
I am invisible.”
By far the most moving piece in the show is Bielak’s “Apparition.”
The muted colors of the figure, the fine line drawings of his face and the deep
challenging look in his eyes create an image that is difficult to shake. This
deeply troubled Everyman seems to be looking directly at the viewer. The story
of his life is clear and present: the struggle, the loneliness, the fear.
The pairing of Wing Young Huie and Susy Bielak in Waiting is thoughtful and
direct. Through his sharp, clear lens we see truth in Huie’s subjects
and understand their relationships and inner struggles. The act of waiting becomes
active in each of his stories. Bielak’s subjects are solid and real and
weighted by life. Without knowing it, they reveal their stories to us. All of
humanity has a desire to be seen, to be heard and to be honored. The images
of Wing Young Huie and Susy Bielak do just that. ||
Waiting runs through Nov. 25. Gallery
Co is located in the historic Wyman Building,400 N. 1st Ave., Suite 210,
Mpls., 612-332-5252 or galleryco.net. Gallery hours are Mon.–Fri. noon–5
p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. & by appointment.