Art Hounds: Gilbert & Sullivan, T-Bone & Weasel, and a rural contemporary artist

This week, the hounds tip us off to a buddy/road trip/crime spree comedy, a passionate amateur production of Gilbert and Sullivan, and a rural artist who taps into the energy of nature.

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brianfrink.jpgBrian Frink, a painter, professor and founder of the Rural American Contemporary Art initiative, has been a fan of painter Janice Tanner for years. She makes intricate constructions, which are a hybrid of collage, sculpture and painting, that capture the beauty and energy of nature. Brian thinks she represents the best of rural contemporary artists — she’s connected to the rural southern Minnesota landscae that she lives in, but still addresses themes that are more universal. Janice’s show “Fly the River” is on exhibit at the Waseca Art Center through the end of March.

ruthandben.jpgEven though Theatre Pro Rata’s “T Bone N Weasel” deals with topics like violence, prison and crime, it’s funny. Really funny. Ruth Virkus and Ben Layne, co-artistic directors of Freshwater Theatre Company, recommend this three-person show that tells the story of two ex-cons through a series of vignettes. Theo Langasan and Mark Benzel were great as the title characters, but it was particularly fun for them to watch Ben Tallen play ALL of the supporting cast. The show runs at Gremlin Theater through Sunday, March 18.

philipbrunelle.jpgThe Gilbert and Sullivan Very Light Opera Company is not made up of professionals, but VocalEssence Founder and Artistic Director Philip Brunelle says that doesn’t matter. The passion on display makes Gilbert and Sullivan’s patter songs and soaring duets sparkle in a new way. The company has put on a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta every year since 1979 and this year’s selection is “Patience, or Bunthorne’s Bride.” You can see the show at the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center in Minneapolis through April 1 (though Sunday performances are already sold out).

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