New exhibit showcases women of N.D.A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the featured artist at the Arts Center hopes to evoke a flood of memories for viewers. “She Left For Good One Time But Then Came Back,” is a mixed media exhibit by former Jamestown resident Shelly Bunde that looks at one woman from each of North Dakota’s 53 counties.
By: By Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the featured artist at the Arts Center hopes to evoke a flood of memories for viewers.
“She Left For Good One Time But Then Came Back,” is a mixed media exhibit by former Jamestown resident Shelly Bunde that looks at one woman from each of North Dakota’s 53 counties.
It will show at the Arts Center until the end of the month.
“It kind of represents a child’s view of tidbits about a character’s life,” Bunde said in a phone interview from Missoula, Mont. “How it gets distilled down to one or two outstanding features.”
Each of the 53 paintings features a different woman and a story about her.
For example, there is a painting of the fictional Mrs. Floyd Haut of Merricourt, N.D. The painting says “One time she headed up the church cookbook committee. She was pretty strict in screening the submissions — no taco hotdish!”
Bunde graduated from Jamestown High School in 1983. But she previously lived in McVille, Churches Ferry and Powers Lake in North Dakota.
“I tried to really represent the ethic geography of the state,” she said.
She noticed the different cultural heritages in each community. For example Jamestown has more Germans from Russia than Churches Ferry, which has a more Norwegian heritage.
Cultural differences in North Dakota led to this exhibit. “She Left For Good One Time But Then Came Back,” will tour eight different North Dakota galleries with Jamestown as the first stop.
“I’m just really happy to be bringing this to North Dakota,” Bunde said. “I feel like it’s my gift to the place and people that I love.
“I just love traveling around the state and meeting people and hearing stories,” she said. “It grew out of my homesickness and my love for the place and meeting the people.”
About 12 years ago Bunde had four paintings. Last summer she met with her old friend and Arts Center director Taylor Barnes.
Barnes encouraged her to complete the series by next March — which Bunde did.
“I just seized that opportunity to finish it and it’s great. Lots of people suggested it would be a great series,” Bunde said.
Most of the characters are compositions of people she met as a child: the elderly lady with the candy dish that is never empty from Killdeer, or the regionally famous poet from Cooperstown.
“I’m not that intimate with Montana,” Bunde said. “It’s different when you grow up in a place, you have a sense of the characters in your town, the people you observe when you’re a kid.”
She routinely gets comments on her website — shellybunde.com — from people with similar stories, asking about the women who raised them in their youth.
In true North Dakota fashion, the Arts Center will host a hotdish potluck/gallery reception with Bunde from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. Those who bring a hotdish can win a prize for favorite hotdish. Those who wish to attend are asked to call the Arts Center at 251-2496.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at email@example.com