And further, for some it’s the process of creation that produces a connection between the canvas and the viewer.
On Feb. 5 two exhibitions opened at the Woodbury Museum of Art, and will be available for viewing until Mar 12. The two new additions to the museum are “Kelly Larsen: After Vermont Exhibition” and “Tawni Shuler: Ecotone.”
While Larsen’s finished products border on morbidity, and might not be for everyone, the process by which he creates is fascinating. He pulls in natural elements of the earth including soil, stone and even plants to create different pigments for his paintings. As he creates his art, he also echoes processes of deterioration that occur in nature.
His incorporation of decay understandably makes his paintings seem somewhat disturbing.
One particular image entitled “Caput Mortuum,” is quite chilling. On the lower half of the canvas there is what appears to be a dead man. This is definitely not something I would hang in my living room or really anywhere, but I do appreciate how this painting was created and the color combinations. They are quite beautiful, and most of his paintings carry similar exquisitely deep earth tones throughout.
Shuler’s pieces, while much brighter and lighter in content than Larsen’s, were in my opinion not that appealing at first glance. The colors swirled about the canvas in
an unorganized fashion.
Perhaps it’s the perfectionist in me, but I like my art a little more orderly and structured. I want to know exactly what I am looking at. But perhaps Shuler is requiring us to put a little more work into contemplating the image in front of us. Her artwork begs us to take pause in our busy lives and consider many colors we often don’t appreciate.
However, for me, it did take a second, long look for Shuler’s work to grow on me. And some pieces actually never did make a connection. One piece I was able to develop a respect for was “Tumbleweeds and Drifts.” This particular canvas had alluring color composition, and I could imagine the tumbleweeds and drifts conjured by the paint.
The exhibitions are free to attend and if you are someone with a little more time on your hands to really scrutinize and ponder over the deeper meaning of these pieces of art, than perhaps these exhibitions are for you. But for the casual art viewer, who prefers to look at simple yet captivating and recognizable work, it might be better to find a different way to spend your Saturday night.