A Celebration of All Things Cultural, Artistic, and Entertaining in Madison
Aug 17, 2011
The Grace Chosy Gallery’s latest exhibition, Paintings from the Spirit, is aptly named. There’s an approachable quality to the work by Joyce Koskenmaki and Carmel Anderson, and when you explore each painting you find a sense of spirituality that underlies its straightforwardness.
Koskenmaki, an artist from Michigan, is clearly inspired by the natural world. She conveys a tenderness toward animals in her work, which is often quite spare and subtle.
In “Owl and Two Birches,” a little owl sits atop a stark tree trunk, and in “Bear and Waterfall,” a bear looks intensely at snow-white water gushing past rocks.
Yet even in works without animals, a presence remains. “Boat and Stars” features a blue night sky with trees reflected in a calm lake. A small boat floats in the foreground. There’s a stillness and even a loneliness to the work, but it’s not a sad sort.
Anderson’s work focuses on women and their voices both inner and outer. Two portraits on display are inspired by women she’s met since moving from Monroe, Wisconsin, to a remote town in Alaska.
In a pair of portraits, the artist has painted women accented with birds and with springs or ladders at their necks—objects connecting their heads and hearts.
It’s a practice she’s continued with her series of “wise women,” a collection of paintings and small-scale sculptures. The women wear colorful, whimsical hats and crowns, proving women are both series and fun, and some also don nose masks, referencing the ways we all hide parts of ourselves.
Both Anderson and Koskenmaki’s work are a pleasure to examine. By doing so, the viewer gets a glimpse into the artists’ spirits, as well as those of their subjects.
Paintings from the Spirit runs through August 27 at Grace Chosy Gallery. For more information, visit gracechosygallery.com.
Photos courtesy of Grace Chosy Gallery.