410 Gallery exhibit gives viewers versatility

The 410 Project is back with another exhibition, showcasing the talents of local artists around the Mankato area. Headlining this exhibit is St. Peter abstract artist and art aficionado Emily Kretschmer.

Kretschmer made art occasionally as a kid, and had flurries of interest about making art throughout her life. It wasn’t until five years ago, with the passing of a close furry friend, that she really decided to dive deep into the creating process.

“She wasn’t my dog, but I took care of her a lot. I was there during her final months. I was very attached to this dog, she was very special. Her name was Tsas. She belonged to a friend who had actually bought my childhood home,” Kretschmer said.

As Kretschmer watched the dog’s health fade, she put a pen to paper and drew her, permanently cementing Tsas’s existence in her life.

“When Tess was getting ill in her final months, one day I was up there, and she was just sitting there. And I picked up a pencil and I drew her and it seems like to me, I didn’t stop making art from that moment,” Kretschmer said.

The drawing of Tsas, along with other animal artworks, are up for display at Kretschmer’s exhibit, a part of a collection called “Tsas and Friends.” Despite painting pieces focused on other animals, Tsas continued to appear in the paintings in one form or another, leading to the collection’s creation.

In 2020, Kretschmer’s art style switched from animal to abstract, with an emphasis in what she calls “process art.” 

“I do process art, so I don’t know what I’m going to make when I start. I just start the process and I let it become something,” Kretschmer said.

Kretschmer’s art is abstract and ethereal as it covers myriad themes. The tonal contrast between her positive feelings with art and the dire subject matter is what keeps Kretschmer returning to the canvas.

“In a way, (my) art is somewhat existential. It’s an expression of feelings about existence on this planet and all of all the problems and difficulties, and for me, art is like the opposite. It’s the antithesis. I suppose I feel powerless to really fix anything. So the most I can do is express how I feel about it,” Kretschmer said.

Though Kretschmer’s art is abstract in nature, she still has a message behind her works she hopes to share with viewers:  Art is for everyone, and if you want to do it, just do it.

“I really think that if they feel like they’re creative, they shouldn’t be hampered by comparing themselves to others. It took me a long time to get to this point, and I think it’s because as I’ve gotten older, I’m like, ‘Well, who cares? I don’t care. I don’t care what people think about my art. I’m just gonna do it. What do I have to lose?’” Kretschmer said.

“Versatility,” Kretschmer’s current multimedia art exhibition, is available to view at the 410 Project until March 25.

Header Photo: Pictured above, some of Emily Kretschmer’s works. Kretschmer’s art pieces are the latest installations in the 410 Project’s new local exhibition, entitled “Versatility.” (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

Write to Joey Erickson at joseph.erickson.2@mnsu.edu

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