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Liv Aanrud: Off the Hook

The artist Liv Aanrud in her studio

HANCOCK, MI Finlandia University Gallery will present Off the Hook, a textile exhibit by Los Angeles artist Liv Aanrud at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC), Hancock from April 28  to June 3, 2022.

An opening reception for the artist will take place at the gallery, Thursday, April 28th, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. with an artist talk beginning at 7:20 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

In collaboration with the Finnish American Folk School, Aanrud will also present a one-day workshop titled Trickster Textiles: Alternative ways to make a painting using traditional rug hooking techniques on Wednesday, April 27th from 10am-4pm. Visit the Finnish American Folk School website at or their Instagram page (finnishamericanfolkschool ) for registration.

Liv Aanrud’s exhibit Off the Hook will feature work informed largely by the language of painting, and constructed through the traditional folk method of rag rug hooking. Her figurative weavings, mostly of women, give physical form to emotional states. “The joy in their creation is visible, their bodies are a celebration of form and color—but there’s also an intensity that portrays a duality of these woven women,” says Aanrud.  “The viewer’s gaze is met with melancholy, discontent, even grief. I want these figures to seem strangely familiar as they stare back, and remind us that our beauty is oddly scrappy… made of the remnants of ourselves.”

“Drenched, Dazed, Dazzled and Diffused”, 48″ x 36″, textile

Raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin where a certain work ethic, resourcefulness, modesty and self-sufficiency were fundamentals handed down from her Norwegian relatives, Liv Aanrud’s rag hooked textile pieces are created using everyday materials and a simple, yet laborious method of construction. Her current working method dated to around eight years ago when she found a rag rug created in the 1940s by her grandmother.

“It was a beautiful abstract piece, such a gift,” says Aanrud. “I began making paintings of the rug. My grandmother had been such a big influence on my early life; we spent many afternoons drawing together, and I wanted to find a means to connect back to her. My dad always referred to her farm as “the home place,” and for me, that’s both a physical and mental place I yearn for. I quickly learned this rug hooking technique and was soon immersed in this process of making a painting: the tactile ticking of stitches became a form of meditation, and the labyrinthine lines a map of both the thinking and unconscious hours of making. This laborious method suits my need to keep moving even when I’m still. There’s an amount of natural hyperactivity combined with the farm kid work ethic where I still hear my dad saying, “Get going!”

“French Dip”, 48″ x 36″, textile

Aanrud earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a painting emphasis from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire in 2001. She was awarded a full scholarship and teaching fellowship at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where she received her Master of Fine Arts in 2011. She as taught at ARTworks Charter School, at Santa Barbara City College, and was awarded a teaching fellowship at Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena.

Aanrud’s work has been the subject of one person exhibitions at New Image Art, Arvia, 1700 Naud and TSA-LA in Los Angeles. She has also had solo shows at Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe, Pamela Salisbury Gallery and at John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY, Oasis Gallery, Marquette, MI and Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, New York City. Her work has been shown in group exhibitions across the U.S., Taiwan, Germany, and Spain.

Off the Hook will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery through June 3, 2022.

The Finlandia University Gallery is located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock.  Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm. Please call 906-487-7500 or email for more information.

“Night Bloom”, 48″ x 36″, textile