The piece ‘Campfires and Fishing Rods’ by Michael Albrechtsen is part of one of two new exhibits at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art that open Friday.

The Albrecht-Kemper Museum believes art should be fun, creative and challenging.

Two new exhibits opening Friday at the museum aim to continue that mission statement as they morph the perception of reality and existence.

“With both of these exhibitions, it’s traditional subjects that are explored differently,” said Jill Carlson, the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art’s marketing manager.

Each approaches reality from a different angle. “Refracted Reality: The Work of Jim Cantrell” transforms everyday, realistic subjects and tilts or skews them. “The 10th Annual Missouri Valley Impressionist Society Juried Exhibition” displays those traditional subjects in new ways.

Both will debut with an opening reception from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19, at the museum at 2818 Frederick Ave.

On the main floor, the museum will feature the large-scale work of Cantrell, a Kentucky-based oil painting artist who the museum has featured previously. A retrospective exhibit, “Refracted Reality” messes with space and shape through reflections in mirrors and windows, creating a new experience for the viewer.

“What he does is he sometimes distorts those images so that it’s somehow a little bit different than what you would just see at face value. So taking that tradition of portraiture and slightly distorting it, it has the understanding that maybe what you’re seeing is not exactly how it is in real life,” Carlson said.

The partnership between the Albrecht-Kemper and Cantrell is something Carlson said both treasure.

“This is his third exhibition here at the Albrecht-Kemper. The first one is was in 1991. So, over the years, we’ve been able to see him grow and change as an artist,” Carlson said.

The museum is also proud of its continuing juried exhibitions with the MVIS, as the group’s members capture nature and landscapes in a personal, transformative manner.

“They’re taking landscapes and looking at something over time, how it may change,” Carlson said. “That’s what’s really different about impressionism is that it’s not just a snapshot, it’s not just a moment in time ... You’re able to see that change with the way that the brush strokes (look).”

The MVIS is a national organization founded in 2011 celebrating modern Impressionism. With more than 100 member-artists across the United States, MVIS organizes exhibitions in 10 states along the Missouri River Valley. This is its fourth collaboration with the museum.

Located on the lower level of the museum, the exhibit is something Carlson hopes people will be engulfed in wonder by how the MVIS artists interpreted nature.

“They are really are that amazing. You really can get lost in the pieces,” Carlson said.

The opening reception is free and open to all ages.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It will be open the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving and welcomes holiday visitors (the museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day). Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for seniors and $1 for students. Museum members and children under age 6 are free.

Andrew Gaug can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug

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