A new painting by a Winona State University faculty member was put on display in a campus building on Friday, April 22.
ChunLok Mah, chair of the Winona State art department, showed off his painting entitled “Storm: Before and After” in Baldwin Lounge of Winona State’s Kryzsko Commons student union building.
Mah said his piece walks the viewer through the emotions of a storm starting at the left and going to the right.
In his artist statement, Mah wrote about what the piece means to him.
“The emotions were a collision of past and present experiences that reminded me of all the harsh, bitter and difficult events that I fought for years that often resulted in bittersweet endings,” Mah said. “It was like having an epiphany of life condensed in one moment.”
The painting is about 17 feet wide.
Joe Reed, Winona State’s student union/activities director, bought the painting from Mah after President Scott Olson told him about the piece.
The total cost of the painting and instillation was $4,800.
“Storm: Before and After” was on display at an exhibit when Reed first saw it. Reed said the display of the painting did not do it justice.
Reed wanted to find a good place in Kryzco Commons for the painting.
“We are walking around Kryzco and all of a sudden it hit me…Baldwin,” Reed said. “Since the renovation to the bookstore and this edition it was always a dark room and now we got all these windows.”
Mah said there were some difficulties during the installation process.
“The chosen design proceeds to post many challenges like lack of proper lighting, wall dimension, weak drywall, and thermostat outlet position, during the installation,” Mah said. “We made some major tweaks so the artwork fits seamlessly to the setting.”
At the reception, Mah said he hoped students would see the painting and talk about what it means to them.
Mah said he used raw brush strokes to evoke anxiety from the viewer.
At the conclusion of Mah’s speech he asked those in attendance to talk about the feeling the painting evoked.
Hedi Ryan, Winona State art and design office assistant, talked about the feelings the painting evoked.
Ryan said she saw the painting as a metaphor for how to approach life. She said because there is still light in the darkest photo, which for Ryan shows optimism through good and bad times.
Baldwin Lounge, where the reception was held, is a quit study place for students.
Reed said he took the purpose of the space into consideration when he was planning the reception.
Reed said to him as with students he views Baldwin Lounge as a place for studying.
“Because to me, as is the students, Baldwin is kinda like a sacred ground for study time,” Reed said. “It’s appropriate we have the reception there and Friday would be a good day because it’s the least used.”
When Reed arrived at the reception, he walked up to students studying at the tables and explained what was going on and apologized for the inconvenience.
He also told studying students to help themselves to refreshments.
Mah is honored to have a piece in the Kryzco collection.
“Joe’s proposal and the location choice was a dream come true to me,” Mah said. “It turns out to be better than I thought.”
For more information about ChunLok Mah or to see more of his art visit: