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Of This Place by Avis Veikley & Nicole Gagner
March 9 – April 17, 2021 


Two artists, two approaches to capture the landscape they love.

“Prairie grass and clouds are what we have, instead of postcard scenery. The land, like us, is hard to read, rewarding only patient eyes.”  ~Mark Vinz, “Heartland”

Veikley is a born and raised Minot area native with strong roots to the region. She served as Director of the Northwest Art Center at Minot State University from 2006 until 2018 as well as adjunct instructor in the MSU Music Division, teaching percussion and assisting with the MSU Marching Band. She is an accomplished musician serving with the Minot Symphony Orchestra, the Minot City Band, and choir director at the Minot Congregational United Church of Christ. Veikley received her BS degree in Music and Art from Minot State University, and Master of Music from Northern Illinois University at DeKalb. She worked as a graphic designer with Lowe’s Printing in Minot for over 20 years. Veikley has studied painting and drawing at the Woodstock School of Art in Woodstock, NY, Art Students League of New York, Art Students League of Denver, and in numerous workshops. She grew up on her grandfather’s homestead near Glenburn, ND, and continues to be a partner in the family farm with her three nephews.

This collection of paintings is about the quiet “empty” spaces of North Dakota—the land and sky—and indirectly, its people. There are no humans in these images, but we see them in the working of the land, the occasional building, the rowed trees, a fence line. They, too, have been slow, patient shapers of the landscape, like the glaciers, the wind, the rain, and the frost cycles.

Gagner is an artist living and working in Bismarck. She studied in Georgia and California and has traveled extensively painting and drawing around the world, including painting in Utah, New Zealand and at a Voices of the Wilderness Artist Residency in Selawik, AK- but she is delighted to be living and working on the northern prairies again. She works as a teaching artist with a wide variety of students of all ages and abilities—from the very young to elders in care facilities and all in between.

Her work began with Very Special Arts ND and Options Community Services, bringing art to students living with disabilities, and that informed her practice as a teaching artist and the belief that art is for everyone. Gagner has been an Arts Center resident artist on numerous occasions during past years.

The majority of Gagner’s studio work is oil on canvas still life and regional landscape, she draws inspiration from a wide variety of sources, often of a personal and almost autobiographical nature. The recurring themes of her work would be energetic mark making and a vibrant palette. Gagner was born and raised in North Dakota, but left after high school. Since returning, her art grew and evolved as she gravitated towards observing and painting from life—both in her studio and outside She finds herself returning to many of the same subjects, exploring and revisiting iconic ND observations. Cloudy skies, local flora, still life images from her garden, and hay bales are her favorite subjects.

This exhibit is sponsored by the North Dakota Art Gallery Association with support from the ND Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the  State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Pictured:  Prairie Plums, Nicole Gagner, Acrylic on Canvas, 12”x16”
Featured Image: Painted Canyon, Avis Veikly, oil on canvas, 66.5”x40”