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Posted on: July 18, 2022

August Art Galleries Announced

August galleries WWAA

On August 4, 2022, the Whitewater Arts Alliance will be presenting a gallery exhibition of work created by Karolyn Alexander and Virginia Epps. This exhibition will be on display through August 28 in the Cultural Arts Center located at 402 W. Main St., Whitewater. The gallery will be open Thursdays through Sundays from 1pm - 5pm. There will also be a virtual display.


There will be a reception on August 6, 2022 from 1pm to 4pm at the Cultural Arts Center. Both Alexander and Epps will be present. The reception is free to the public. Food and drink will be provided.


“Abstracts: a Series of Series” is one half of the exhibit to be displayed in August. Karolyn Alexander Tscharnack is a lifelong resident of Whitewater. An early influence in art came from her father, Richard Kettwig. Her childhood interest in art was put on hold as she focused on employment and family responsibilities. After an early retirement from UW-Whitewater, Alexander immersed herself in artmaking. She has worked in clay and painted with watercolor, acrylic, and collage.


In 1993, Alexander began taking clay classes with Susan Alexander at Clay Loft Studio in Palmyra. This interest in working with clay blossomed, leading her and her husband, Hugo, to purchase a kiln, slab roller and lots of clay and glazes. In 1999, Alexander and her husband started participating in summer art fairs around the state of Wisconsin.


A passion for watercolor led Alexander to classes with Marilyn Keating at L’Atelier Art Studio in Janesville. She took numerous watercolor workshops with other talented watercolor artists. Eventually, Alexander began teaching watercolor painting to others in Janesville and Whitewater.


Alexander’s interest in creating abstract art using acrylic and mixed media developed slowly. In 2015, she decided to concentrate on painting abstracts. Her current work includes mark making, texture, and layers

of paint, mixed media and sometimes collage.


Alexander has been a member of the Whitewater Arts Alliance since its inception and a member of the Janesville Art League for almost 20 years. She has shown her paintings in various venues in Southeastern

Wisconsin and now exhibits her art primarily in Whitewater and Janesville. Locally, her art can be found at the Book Teller in downtown Whitewater and Raven’s Wish in Janesville.


The other half of the exhibit to be displayed in August is “Enjoying Regenerative Play” by Virginia Epps. Epps was raised in eastern Kansas where she grew up on a prairie that developed her deep adoration for the environment, as stated on Woodwalk Gallery’s Facebook page.


Epps spent many years teaching middle and high school students in science before leaving the schooling system to work on her visual arts. During her time away, she completed her graduate degree in Fine Arts Design, 3D at the University of Kansas, as stated on the Woodwalk Gallery’s Facebook page.


Due to practical considerations, Epps went back to teaching high school classrooms in science and visual arts. She took night courses at the same time until she graduated with a doctoral degree in Science Education. In 1991, Epps applied for a teaching position at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in elementary and secondary science education. She received the position, as stated on the Woodwalk Gallery’s Facebook page.


Upon completion of a career as a science educator in 2007, Epps retired and returned to exploring and enjoying the visual arts. During the years as an educator, regardless of the specific title of the class or the age of the students in the classroom, the following ideas usually gained importance when Epps was teaching: 1) our species will be known by what it throws away because away is somewhere; 2) the earth is fragile and deserves respect; 3) openness to the results of the random forces of nature or events is generative; and 4) astute, disciplined, contemplative observation of nature and its systems ground sound science as well as the arts, particularly visual arts and design. Both as a science educator and a visual artist/designer, Epps wished to share the joy of encountering the world as both a fascinating and an aesthetic experience.


Epps has exhibited her pieces in the Museum of Wisconsin Art, the Wisconsin Regional Arts Association, the Wisconsin Regional Arts Program, and the Whitewater Arts Alliance. She regularly exhibits with the Alliance and is a member, as stated on the Woodwalk Gallery’s Facebook page. She also has both collage and color totems on exhibit at the Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor and Anderson Arts Center in Kenosha.


An artist’s statement provided by Karolyn Alexander: I have been creating art regularly for the past 30 years. About 10 years ago, abstract painting found its way into my heart. Since 2015 I have focused on painting abstracts with acrylic paint, mixed media and sometimes collage. I work on gallery wrapped canvas, cradled panel, and paper. For the past several years I have been working in series. The theme or subject for a series varies for me but the task of creating paintings that are related in some way offers the possibility of exploring a subject or technique in greater depth.


The series included in this exhibit are “Home”, “Connections”, “Windows”, “Grids” and “Dots”. The “Home” series paintings were created during the Pandemic. Each contains a rather generic house

shape without detail. The “Connections” series started a few years ago and continues today. This series focuses on mark making and layers of veiling and/or covering with more mark making in each layer. I consider a painting finished when I love it! The “Windows” series was also created during the Pandemic as I found myself spending more time looking out my windows, especially to watch the birds at our feeders. Grids are a common compositional format. My “Grid” series started with a black underpainting. Layers of paint and mark making followed with attention paid to color mixing and opacity vs. transparency. The black lines of the underpainting were left to separate the shapes. The lines were not intended to be perfectly straight, nor were the shapes. I enjoy the irregular edges. My newest series is the “Dot” series which consists of layers of paint and marks. During the final layer, five dots were added to each piece with considerable thought given to placement, color, and value. I enjoy working in series as each series allows me to explore an idea more fully than a single piece of art would allow.



An artist’s statement provided by Virginia Epps: Discarded paper products such as tissue wrapping paper, grocery bags, corrugated cardboard, shipping cylinders, and mat board leftovers serve as my primary medium. When working in low relief, I cut and laminate mat board scraps and/or corrugated cardboard to build the base design. To this structure, I add loops or columns that I quill from papers I have cut from discarded papers such as wrapping tissue, envelopes, dressmaker patterns, handouts, or maps. I also add colored pencil or graphite to the assembled low relief. When working in two dimensions, I laminate multiple layers of discarded or scrap papers on Masonite or on mat board. Once the laminated papers are dry, I sand the surface and often add additional layers of paper. The sanding and layering process becomes a cycle exposing unexpected random shapes and colors. As a final step building collages, I either draw on the sanded surface with graphite, ink, or colored pencil or tone the surface with acrylic glazes.


In response to the widespread fear, anxiety, isolation, and depression driven by the pandemic during recent years, I wanted to give persons living behind masks reason to smile behind their masks. The eyes of a smiling face smile too. The two indoor stands in this exhibit are cut from a used shipping cylinder that I painted with bright yellow, orange, cyan, green, and red acrylic paint. The figures suggested kites or balloons adrift above the beach. They were intended as invitations to think of a cheerful, playful place, experience, or activity. The bases of the stands are made of leftover wood pieces. The two-layer tops of the stands also are made of wood and coated with bright acrylic paint. I extended my central concern for the use of cheerful color and light to the other, free standing three dimensional pieces that I refer to as “color totems” that are intended for outdoor use in the yard or garden. Year round, they keep cheerful color and continually changing shadows in view. Each color totem has a spine of rebar and cubes of cedar. Some viewers have found the totems dependably cheerful and calming to view during the difficult years of late.


The exhibit also includes a set of “wall boxes” containing treasures from the prairie ecosystem remaining at the close of fall and beginning of winter. The specimens used in the boxes were collected from private prairies or prairie roadsides. The forms left at that time are strong forms of grace and determination leading to another year of prairie life and beauty. They are the essence of resilience, a spirit much in need during these years of the pandemic.



Virginia Epps Headshot Virginia Epps

KarolynAlexander_HeadshotKarolyn Alexander

Let Courage Reign by Virginia Epps

Let Courage Reign By Virginia Epps 

Bridges From Connection

Bridges From Connection By Karolyn Alexander 

 

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