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Tracy Frank, Published January 08 2012

Friends join forces to create a trifecta of art in Fargo

FARGO - Jessica Christy, Molly McLain, and Sabrina Hornung share a connection that goes way back. The three artists are not only inspired by their North Dakota roots, but they also all went to the same junior high school, Valley City (N.D.) Junior High.

The women were reunited through regional art events and have decided to team up to form a trifecta of artistic talent.

They work independently but will show their creations together, both on their blog at buffalogalsnd.blogspot.

com and at their first art show on Friday at DK Custom Framing at Gallery 14 in Fargo.

“Our art is in the same vein. It’s a celebration of the prairie,” Hornung said. “Generally you meet 20-somethings and they’re not really excited about North Dakota, but it’s cool. It’s beautiful, and I want to project that message.”

Hornung, who now lives between Fargo and Jamestown, N.D., works with photo collages, often painting over photo transparencies. She likes to incorporate North Dakota history into her mixed-media pieces.

“I’m kind of a geek for North Dakota history,” she said. “It’s actually really interesting.”

She likes to visit old graveyards to learn about the people who settled in the area. Among her inspirations are iron crosses made by Germans from Russia.

“The best thing is it’s creating something that people can relate to and evoking feelings of sentimentalism,” Hornung said of her artwork. “It’s really rewarding watching people looking at your art and having that look of recognition.”

Christy, who lives in Valley City, has created a nine-paneled collective portrait that explores the juxtaposition of Native American culture and American society and how they co-exist, she said.

Christy makes mixed-media prints and said most of her work is inspired by Native American culture.

She was born into the arts, she said, as both of her parents are printmakers.

“I’m just trying to make a go at the real art world,” Christy said.

She has exhibited on her own throughout North Dakota and is hoping to branch out.

“It’s great that we can all bring different facets of our lives and the area and showpiece them together,” Christy said of the Prairie Trifecta show. “I think that’s a really great dynamic.”

McLain lives in Minneapolis and creates mixed-media collages inspired by crops and the environment.

“I consider myself an environmentalist,” she said. “I like to tell the story that maybe the crops can’t.”

Growing up on the prairie, McLain said, she always felt a connection to the land.

“My ancestors came here to be farmers, so that’s kind of in my DNA, and my parents organic farmed for a while, so that’s part of my influence, just growing up with that,” she said.

Kelly Callahan, a Valley City High School art teacher, also influenced her, McLain said.

“She was so encouraging. She made me feel like I could draw,” McLain said. “Teachers can help to influence the course of somebody’s life.”

Callahan remembers McLain as a dynamic art student.

“Molly wasn’t afraid to explore different mediums and try new and different styles and techniques,” Callahan said. “I believe that is what makes her the artist she is today. It is not very often when a high school student develops their own individual style, but Molly was the exception.”

The Prairie Trifecta is a nice way to bounce ideas off of each other and become inspired by each other, McLain said. Their upcoming show, where the women will sell their artwork, feels like a celebration, she said.

“It’s a celebration of the prairie through three different lenses of interpretation,” Hornung said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526


,strong>If you go

What: Prairie Trifecta art show

Artists: Jessica Christy, Molly McLain and Sabrina Hornung

Where: DK Custom Framing at Gallery 14, 14 Roberts St., Fargo

When: 7 to 10 p.m. Friday

Online: http://http://buffalogalsnd.blogspot.com