MSU Grad student Brittney Wegener displays interactive art at Conkling

While art is perceived through the eyes of many, to engage those looking on with wonder is truly an unforgettable experience. 

Minnesota State University, Mankato graduate student Brittney Wegener has been chosen to display her artwork at the Conkling Gallery in Nelson Hall. Wegner realized around the age of 13 that art largely impacted her personality.

“I think a big thing for getting into art was in the time where I knew it was something that I needed to do for me,” said Wegener. “It was extremely therapeutic and it was something that I needed to use in order to identify as a person.”

Wegener uses a variety of mediums in her artwork. Her “Assimilating Antiquated Attachments” exhibition will feature pieces that include a series of texts, abstract-like videos, and pieces that are constructed from three-dimensional raw materials. Her art has grown over the years as she recognized that mediums are fluid into the terms of what the concept needs. 

“I started out by doing mainly formal [artwork] and just playing around, and now it’s gotten to a place where the concept tends to inform the materials and overall form. I made [art] from sheer intuition and now I’m making [art] as an expression of what I want to see in the world,” said Wegener. “I believe art is a lot more conceptual about me trying to impact others versus something that is self-serving and beautiful.”

Wegener’s favorite piece that will be displayed in the exhibition is an interactive piece that allows people to write down their vice or “poison” into a box that resembles a foggy outline of a human. As the box fills up, the outline disappears. Wegener designed this piece to show that all the little, individualistic details add up to a greater whole.

“[The piece] explains the idea of when we all express authenticity or share our emotions, we all share something. No one’s sore thumb or pimple sticks out if we all have it or express it,” shared Wegener. “It’s not defined by them as an individual.”

Drawing inspirations from artists Sarah Sze, Haegue Yang and Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Wegener bases her work around life, relationships, and how humans function in the world. By observing these characteristics, it’s allowed Wegener to see the world and communicate with others in a new light. 

“Art has made me a lot more sensitive to how people present themselves and how they address situations and emotions, but it’s also given me, and taken away, a lot of the innocence of social media and imagery around the world,” shared Wegener. “Whether it’s color, words, or symbols, the [aspects of art] have opened my eyes as to where and when things are subliminally messaged or whether they are authentic.”

Wegener wants artists to know that if they are hesitant about displaying their works of art to not worry, as no one piece of art is greater or lesser than the other. 

“Museums, galleries, and art critics may tell you differently, but it’s not true, especially in this day and age where there are so many types of art that’s been opened past the idea of patronage and worship,” said Wegener. “It’s moved so much past the realm of just simply being something we pay homage to. It’s going to affect somebody somehow.”

Wegener’s exhibition “Assimilating Antiquated Attachments” opening reception is Feb. 25 from 5-8 p.m. The exhibition will be in the Conkling Gallery until March 4.

Header Photo: Brittney Wegener’s piece “Tactile Etherium” will be displayed at Conkling Gallery in Nelson Hall. Wegener uses abstract-like videos, series of texts and raw 3-D materials in her artwork. (Courtesy photo)

Write to Emma Johnson at emma.johnson.5@mnsu.edu

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