Blanden will feature Madsen in one-man show

He’s accustomed to writing about exhibits and artist’s talks at the Blanden Memorial Art Museum. But on Feb. 8, Hans Madsen will see it all from a different perspective.

Madsen, an award-winning photojournalist for The Messenger, will be giving an artist’s talk at the opening reception for his one-man photographic exhibit, “Iowa Blues.”

“I’ve never had a one-person show before,” Madsen said, describing the show’s evolution as “a happy accident.”

Madsen said he had initially printed some images for a group exhibit.

“I’ve always wanted (Museum Director Margaret Skove’s) feedback on my personal work,” he said. “So, I dropped off a disk.”

He said Skove emailed back a few days later, offering available dates for an exhibit and asking what would work for him.

“I wasn’t asking for a show,” he said, but gratefully accepted the opportunity. He admitted, however, the idea of giving an artist’s talk makes him a bit uncomfortable.

“I don’t usually wax poetic about my work,” he said.

“Iowa Blues,” he said, “is a name I came up with when I first started collecting images when I moved here in 2005.”

It reflected his feelings about getting used to a new community and a slightly different culture than in Faribault, Minn., where he had previously worked. The move, Madsen said, “gave me the blues.”

“Even though it’s only a couple hundred miles difference between here and Faribault, there’s a culture gap,” he said. But he added, “people in Iowa are much nicer.”

Still, coming in from the outside eight years ago, Madsen – who has since married a Dayton woman and settled into the area – said everything he saw in his then-new community “seemed a bit broken, cracked, it had a slightly run down feeling to it.

“Fort Dodge has made great strides improving the community since then,” Madsen said.

The images in the exhibit “reflect the feeling of walking into a place or a situation and going, something’s is not right here; it’s off-kilter, and I can’t explain it,” he said.

Although the majority of Madsen’s newspaper photos appear in color, none of the images in the exhibit will appear that way.

“Black and white has a graphic ability to tell a story that color can never equal,” he said. “It breaks things down into their basic forms.”