June 27 – August 3, 2019

Form + Content Gallery presents “Betula”, exploring the tension of the unrestrained woods. There is both darkness and light, fear and awe. By examining decaying birch trees, Annie Irene Hejny questions the parallels between our human bodies and the natural world.

Opening reception:  Thurs, June 27th, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Artist Statement

Last September, I spent two weeks at the Pine Needles Residency in Marine on St. Croix. Every day, I walked in the woods and listened to the trees. In those woods, language dissolved and I melted into the environment. I listened deeply and was called to a site along the trail where seven pieces of fallen birch bark lay on the forest floor. I respectfully gathered the decaying tree skins and carried them back to my art studio to continue our conversation.*

 The seven abstract artworks exhibited for “Betula” are directly inspired by the spirits of those fallen trees. Sitting with them, I reflected on my past experiences in the woods. As a child, the dark trees and the sounds of unseen life within the woods filled me with fear. During those years, I was taught to obey the patriarchal systems that restricted my spirit and skewed my perception of the wild. As time has passed from childhood to adulthood, my consciousness has altered and I am no longer a stranger in the woods. Today, I practice looking directly into the shadows as an act of re-wilding my spirit.

*I have borrowed the birch bark and I will return it to those woods.

 Artist Biography

Annie Irene Hejny studied at the University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University, earning a double-major B.A. in Elementary Education and Studio Art, Summa Cum Laude. She has successfully completed nearly 50 commissioned projects for galleries, private collections, and public institutions, locally and nationwide. The Women’s Art Institute (WAI) at St. Catherine University and the Women’s Art Resources of Minnesota (WARM) Mentor Program have been influential in her art journey.

Her work has been included in many solo and group exhibitions (Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Winona; Catherine G. Murphy Gallery, St. Catherine University; Paul Whitney Larson Art Gallery, University of Minnesota; Public Functionary, Minneapolis; Minnesota State Fair Juried Exhibition; The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis and Galería Municipal Rosario Sanchez de Lozada in Querétaro, México). Hejny was an artist-in-residence with Lanesboro Arts (2017), The Science Museum of Minnesota Pine Needles Residency (2018), and has been invited for a residency at the Grand Marais Art Colony (September 2019). She works at the Casket Arts Building in NE Minneapolis and is a current member of Form + Content Gallery.