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Zeitgeist exhibit features artists exploring their abstract sides

A Duluth-based art group explores all things abstract at a new exhibit at Zeitgeist Arts.

Lake Superior Abstract Interest Art Group Exhibit Edna Stromquist
Edna Stromquist stands beside her piece "Autumn Mysteries" in the Lake Superior Abstract Interest Art Group's show at Zeitgeist Arts on Jan. 20, 2022.
Teri Cadeau / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — After meeting regularly for the past four years, in person and via Zoom, the Lake Superior Abstract Interest Art Group has finally shared an exhibit of their work with the general public. The group formed as a branch of the Lake Superior Watercolor Society dedicated to abstract art, but has grown from purely watercolor to include other mediums.

"We started out as a bunch of watercolor artists interested in abstract," said group member Sue Rauschenfels. "But as we went along, one person would bring their friend along who worked with acrylics, then another who worked with oil paint, so eventually we just opened it up."

The exhibit at Zeitgeist Arts for the month of January features works by 16 members of the group. The pieces are listed for sale, with partial proceeds from each purchase going to its artist's selected charity.

"We thought this would be a good opportunity to give back to our community while also showcasing some of the artwork we've created through this unique group," Rauschenfels said. "Plus it's a nice opportunity to actually see some of the artwork that we've only seen on Zoom in person."

Pieces in the Lake Superior Abstract Interest Art Group show
Pieces line the walls of the Zeitgeist Arts building during the Lake Superior Abstract Interest Art Group's show on Jan. 20, 2022.
Teri Cadeau / Duluth News Tribune

For the past two years the group has met regularly on Zoom to offer critiques and encouragement throughout the pandemic. Group member Edna Stromquist said the meetings have been helpful in an otherwise quiet year.


"And as painters, we usually spend so much time painting alone," Stromquist said. "But here we have a chance to share with each other and see what we’re up to. We get together and offer critiques through Zoom. It’s really kept us going."

Stromquist's piece in the show, "Autumn Mysteries" was partially inspired by her fall work in her garden, pulling out the tendrils of old roots. She said she painted the piece vertically at first, before deciding to turn it on its axis.

"We had this discussion online one day about how you can approach abstract works from any angle," Stromquist said. "I really wasn't liking this piece looked until I turned it onto its side. Then it worked."

Stromquist is a new abstract artist and said the group has been invaluable in developing her abstract style. Fellow group member Linda Gerga is also new to abstract art as well as to acrylic painting. She started experimenting with both mediums based on inspiration she received from the group meetings.

"I had to step away from the realistic," Gerga said. "When I work in watercolor, I tend to see things as very realistic. But I started just pushing the paint around and staring at it until I saw something."

Lake Superior Abstract Interest Art Group Linda Gerga
Linda Gerga stands beside her piece "Gatherings" in the Lake Superior Abstract Interest Art Group's show at Zeitgeist Arts on Jan. 20, 2022.
Teri Cadeau / Duluth News Tribune

Gerga's piece, "Gathering" features a watercolor backdrop with a splash of acrylic paint across the top that she created by laying a strip of gauze across the painting.

"It created a lot more depth. I knew it wasn't done until I saw that piece there," Gerga said. "And once I shared it with the group, I got a bunch of questions about how I did that. That's how you learn things, by looking at what others have done and asking questions and experimenting on your own. Because there are endless ways of doing things."

Gerga said she's excited to continue learning from the group and painting more artwork in a similar style.


"It's a great group to grow in," Gerga said. "I was never an abstract artist until I joined the group and now I'm glad I joined in."

For more information about Lake Superior Abstract Interest Art Group contact Sue Rauschenfels at or join the private Facebook group.

Related Topics: DULUTHART
Teri Cadeau is a general assignment and neighborhood reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. Originally from the Iron Range, Cadeau has worked for several community newspapers in the Duluth area for eight years including: The Duluth Budgeteer News, Western Weekly, Weekly Observer, Lake County News-Chronicle and occasionally, the Cloquet Pine Journal. When not working, she's an avid reader and crafter.
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