Monday, January 8, 2018

Local Art Seen: Variegated is a Gallery 315 Variety Pack Art Show

"The Piano Teacher" by Kerry Everett
"After the Rain" by Kathryn Lenz
"Rooster at the Hen House" by Susan Krochalk
Friday evening I attended the opening reception for a show titled Variegated, which is an adjective with several shades of meaning, the third being "marked by variety." Certainly the show was this. There was a thread of continuity, however, that connected these various artists. Nearly all in the group has been painting together at the Duluth Art Institute since 2015 on a weekly basis. One immediately asks, "How many other creative things are happening right under our noses that we were unaware of?"

There was an additional feature that connected most of the artists in this show, and though I am sure it was unintentional it certainly must have been apparent to some in the group at one point in time. All but one has a K as one of the initials in their names, and two -- the Kollodges -- have two, Ken and Kathy. Only Devon Wait was odd man out on that score. Nevertheless I'm sure that if you yourself have no K in you initials this group of painters and creators would welcome you with open arms. Just bring your brushes!

"Seventh Wave Love" by Susan Krochalk
The other seven artists in this show included two former art teachers, which I will draw attention to briefly in a moment. They are: Karolyn Carpenter, Karl Everett, Kathryn Lenz, Rita Krochalk, Susan Krolchalk, and Kris Nelson.

90-year-old Rita Krochalk, a former art teacher, showed
work in a variety of styles and media.
It was especially delightful to meet the two retired art teachers here. Rita Peabody Krochalk was the senior artist in the room. Her 90-years of creative life, and a cheerful spirit to boot, made her an inspiration to anyone who has met her. And then there was the other retired teacher, Kris Nelson, who you may know by her goal of painting 1000 chairs before she's 100. When I wrote about her in 2014 she was one-fifth of the way to her goal. When we spoke Friday I learned she is approaching half-way.

What makes this goal impressive is that she's not taking a short-cut approach by placing a few stripes and sponge blobs here and there on these chairs. The pieces are serious art, including several pieces with pointed political statements and philosophical meanderings. Her chair addressing the death penalty is quite evocative and provocative, worth a much more complete treatment.
Chairs by Kris Nelson were displayed around the gallery.
During her tenure as an art teacher in Wrenshall Kris Nelson had the opportunity to shape many young lives. Several of her former students continue to make art, including Carla Hamilton who was an artist in Germany for 17 years before returning here to the Northland. See more Chairs by Kris.

A pair of women by Kerry Everett
The show was well attended, the gallery buzzing with chatter by friends of the artists. If you missed the opening, 315 Gallery will have its doors open for you from 1:00 to 4:00 Saturday and Sunday through the end of January for this show. 315 Gallery is located on Lake Avenue in the former Washington School building on the Central Hillside here in Duluth.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. See it, share it, cherish it.

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