‘Replicant’ explores our interaction with technology

Throughout the semester, Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Conkling Gallery has been featuring a series of exhibitions by Master of Art in Studio students. The last to present their work is graduate student John Grabko, whose exhibition will remain in the Nelson Hall gallery until the end of the semester. 

Grabko originally attended MNSU as an undergraduate student with a passion for graphic design. After gaining experience in different areas of art, Grabko eventually transitioned to more fine arts studies such as printmaking, and continued after graduation for his masters degree.  

His choice to attend MNSU was not off the cuff. 

“MSU seemed like a good fit for me based on the extent that the University has to offer in both fine arts and academics,” Grabko said. “I have been a lifelong Minnesota resident, and the program and faculty have all been excellent during my time here.” 

Grabko’s exhibit is titled “Replicant.” 

“The exhibit refers to technology,” he said, “how we interact with it over time and how it can change us as a society.” 

To fully capture the vision Grabko had for his artwork for “Replicant,” he used mediums such as printmaking, focusing on silkscreen, drawing and collage.  

Grabko said he was inspired to create the exhibit through multiple artists he looked up to throughout the years, but he pointed to Banksy and Takashi Murakami as two that influenced him most. 

“In this show I studied the advancement of technology over time, stemming from the Industrial Revolution to the mid-20th century and into today,” Grabko said. “As technology itself continues to advance, it becomes more and more an integral part of our everyday life that we don’t necessarily stop to analyze or think about sometimes.” 

While he struggled to pin down a favorite piece in his show, Grabko was eventually able to turn to one titled “Technicolor Rainbow.” The piece is a 3-piece silkscreen print that demonstrates the Technicolor process originated to add color to black and white motion pictures. 

“This topic fascinated me because it was a final attempt at mimicking reality through film in the early part of the 20th century,” he said. “There was still this feeling of disconnect when film was simply black and white, but adding color brought that final step into the process.”

Grabko’s exhibit will remain up in the Conkling Gallery 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays through May 7. 

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