Tara Austin (left) studies the collection with Vesterheim Collection Manager Jennifer Kovarik during a visit for her Vesterheim Residency.

Artist Tara Austin at Vesterheim

Vesterheim is excited to feature an exhibit and classes with artist Tara Austin, who was also selected as one of the 2023-24 Vesterheim Folk Artists in Residence. The exhibit Boreal Ornament V will be open from June 29-September 22, 2024, and it will feature rosemaling with a contemporary painting focus, highlighting the beauty and techniques of this Norwegian decorative tradition infused in a modern narrative.

Tara’s work is part of a revival of rosemaling in the Upper Midwest, which builds on traditions while giving each piece contemporary reworkings for future generations. In 2014 Tara took her first rosemaling class. Since then, she completed a year-long Rosemaling Apprenticeship with Vesterheim Gold Medalist Andrea Herkert, focusing on Telemark and Gudbrandsdal styles. In 2020 she received a Scandinavian Folk Arts and Cultural Traditions Grant from the American Scandinavian Foundation. Tara received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and loves plants, painting, and her home on the North Shore of Lake Superior. 

Tara said, “My upbringing in Northern Minnesota instilled an appreciation of botany and a keen observation of patterns in the natural environment. Reflecting on my experiences in the Midwest, South America, and Europe, I seek to communicate a form of natural beauty. I incorporate techniques from scenic painting and faux finishing, the folk art of Norwegian rosemaling, and reverse painting on glass. Observing these customary processes became a way for me to develop a personal aesthetic based on the necessity of good craftsmanship. Their established authority of geometry, harmony, and beauty speaks vibrantly.”

Join us in exploring exciting new expressions of rosemaling!

Tara will give a gallery talk in August when she is at Vesterheim to teach classes.

Registration for classes is available now or by calling 563-382-9681.

Register now for Rosemaling Boreal Plants from Scandinavia, August 8-9.

Register now for Gudbrandsdal-Style Rosemaling, August 12-14.

Vesterheim’s rosemaling classes are supported in part by the Wilma A. Anderson Endowment for Rosemaling.

Painting by Tara Austin.