Watkins Gallery showcases ‘Public Weapons in America’


Natalie Tyler

From left to right: the pieces “Baby,” “Turdbird” and “Francisco (Bugger)” by artist Paul Shrambroom hang in the Watkins Gallery, each series deals with a different kind of loss.

Kameron Wilson, Features Reporter

With an increasing amount of Winona State University students and members of the Winona community visiting the new art exhibits at Watkins Hall, “Lost” and “Shrines: Public Weapons in America,” Watkins Art Gallery Coordinator Roger Boulay perceives the exhibit as having a successful turnout.

“I think the gallery has been going pretty well,” Boulay said. “We are currently hosting the artist Paul Shrambroom, who makes photographs, and his approach is to compare these two different series that deal with loss. One image he’s taken from lost pet posters and the others are images of weapons that are used as memorials for soldiers from a community who have been lost at war.”

For some students, like Kieran McDonald, a senior studio art major at Winona State, Shrambroom’s collection of photographs has left a lasting impression.

“All the pieces impacted me in a powerful way, but the main piece, Poppy, was something interesting,” McDonald said. “The photo was interesting because the dog in the photo was cut off from behind the legs and just at the base of the tail to be almost red. The dog itself was blue and then we have yellow above it.”

Alessandra Sulpy, a newly hired drawing and painting professor at Winona State, explained how Shrambroom’s theme within his exhibit, “Lost,” impacted her.

“I appreciate this work because there is a sense of humor to it and it may or may not be an overt sense of humor,” Sulpy said. “But there is something interesting about this lost series, for example, we have this sadness of lost pets and yet, we have levity with the interest of the images themselves.”

As the Watkins Hall Art Gallery has provided students and members of the Winona community with different perspectives through various paintings and sculptures, Paul Shrambroom’s “Lost” and “Shrines” exhibits provide them with a new perspective.

“Right now, our art and design department doesn’t have very much photography,” Boulay said. “The gallery will hopefully expose the students to a whole realm of contemporary practice that they don’t know much about.”

While a few members have searched for a hidden message within the ten pieces of artwork, Shrambroom believes his work supplies a greater benefit towards visitors of the art exhibit.

“I want to make work that can be part of a conversation, that will stimulate people because everybody has their own connection to pieces of artwork,” Shrambroom said.

The Watkins Art Gallery will host Shrambroom’s collection of artwork from Oct. 22 – Nov. 14 on the first and second floors of Watkins Hall.