Caitlin Skaalrud: somewhere to rest

MCBA Outlook Gallery
February 3, 2024–April 27, 2024
Free and open to the public


somewhere to rest is a mixed-media installation, a small way-stop for any weary eyes in any long winter. 

A combination of paper mache, prints, paint, and a poem, this collection of handmade and transformed home objects surrounded by crocus flowers symbolizes moments of tentative hope emerging from the worn-down cocoons of our homes and our minds after a long cold.

the last noise
the final twist to turn
the oily cloud to dispel
the loneliest match, burn
small remainder, divvy up
as I rub smoke from my eye,
shake the tremors gaining steam,
collect my bones in a pile, sigh
all my ragged years spent running
gnawing, crying, bucking, trying
worth the salt if it brought
some dark green hope at night, poor thing
looking for something to curl up in
contain all my junk drawer chest
in the orange light sinking beneath the ridge
just looking for somewhere to rest

A poem often drives my ideas first: The sentiment or feelings I’m hoping to dredge up, evoke, and recreate usually first emerge from the snow as strings of words. Embedding the text within the exhibit removes my personal voice as a “narrator,” and instead lets the walls of the room speak, as if it had absorbed all the thoughts and unraveling emotion and now re-emits it like a small haunting, whispering back to the occupant of the room all their worries and soothing them down.  

The Outlook Gallery offers a unique shape for this installation about vulnerable interior thoughts seeking a safe, quiet space to express themselves and rest: the gallery isolated behind glass from the outside from human incursion, but also extremely visible, exposed, and vulnerable in that way. Behind that glass, this room made out of paper that symbolizes the highly loaded and highly pressurized feelings of quarantining slowly giving way to cautious hope now, years later. Like the orange window of someone else’s apartment in winter as you pass by, this is a glimpse, and only a glimpse, into someone else’s private space and private life—maybe one where the one living it is just as tired as you, and searching for a place  to rest until easier weather arrives.

Caitlin Skaalrud (she/they) is a cartoonist, artist, and educator based in Minneapolis, MN who explores the self, emotions, and relationships through the surreal, the horrific, and the mundane. She publishes comics and zines under Talk Weird Press on various old printing presses. 

After receiving a BFA in Comic Art from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, she co-founded the Autoptic Festival with several other prominent Midwest cartoonists. Most recently, she received her MFA from the University of Minnesota, where she explored the intersection of comics, printmaking, and installation in her practice. She lives with her partner, daughter, and two tuxedo cats in South Minneapolis.