Sunday, October 8, 2017

Local Art Seen: As Above, So Below -- Karen Owsley Nease @ the Kruk

"I turn to see my footprints in the sand
as wave after wave rolls in."

"A Fist Full of Dollars" (2017) -- Oil/alkyd on wood panel
"As Above, So Below" (2017) -- Oil/alkyd on wood panel
"L'Origine du Monde" -- Oil/alkyd on wood panel
"Purple Rain" (2017) -- Oil/alkyd on wood panel
"A Fist Full of Dollars -- small" (2016)
"Charlie Don't Surf" (2017) -- Oil/alkyd on wood panel
In this set of four smaller pieces we see...
Top Left: "Charge of the Light Brigade"
Bottom Left: "A Wave for Warhol"
Top Right: "We Came from the Water"
 Bottom Right: "Realm of the Bene Gesserit"

The scale of the work is impressive. For example, the triptych "A Fist Full of Dollars" is 36"x 108" (which is nine feet wide.) There are 16 pieces in all, with three being nine feet wide or more. Like the horizon's that stretch before one's eyes at sea level, all present themselves horizontally.

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As you saunter through the gallery the images of rolling waves and roiling waters may stir memories of one's own experiences on the great lakes and ocean shores of one's life. For myself this includes remembrances from the Jersey Shore as a teen, and Florida vacations as a boy, and my year in Puerto Rico circa 1978-79. Not one painting here has a reference point on land, so the isolation of being out on the ocean -- deep sea fishing in my case -- comes swirling to mind, though it's quite apparent that these are waves crashing into a shoreline, the perspective being from the great water's edge, feet most likely secure on rocks or sand. One's awareness -- the focal point -- is the water's power. There are no placid lakes or ponds here. Hence my connection to the Atlantic Ocean memories, or Lake Superior when it's in a turbulent state.

To learn more about the exhibit, visit

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"As Above, So Below" will be on display at the Kruk Gallery through October 26 in the Holden Fine Arts Building at University of Wisconsin - Superior. FWIW there are a couple short-term free parking spots just outside the entrance to the gallery on Catlin Avenue. If you have never been to an exhibit in the Kruk, I strongly encourage you to visit the show and learn how easy it is to drop by during a lunch hour if you work. 

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it.

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