The Maude Kerns Art Center is pleased to present “Nature Deconstructed: Work by David Cohen, Nancy Helmsworth, & Niraja Lorenz” and “Tactic: Work by Lauren Lake & Brooks Oliver,” opening on Friday, August 5 with a Reception from 5 – 7 pm. Both exhibits are on view through August 26.
“Nature Deconstructed” features the work of David Cohen, Nancy Helmsworth, and Niraja Lorenz. All three artists draw inspiration from the natural world.
Portland, Oregon artist David Cohen displays his “Mandala Series,” intricate pen and ink and watercolor depictions of natural forms and structures. Focusing on what he calls the “wonder of the micro and macro worlds that surround us,” Cohen says he tries “to create compositions that heighten the form of nature...to get people to more deeply observe these structures.” He has exhibited his work at various galleries in Oregon, including at the Talon Gallery in Portland where he had a one-person show in May 2021.
Portland, Oregon artist Nancy Helmsworth draws inspiration from the forests of the Pacific Northwest in her acrylic paintings. She is attracted to images of time-weathered rocks and the intersection of trails formed by animal and human movement. Using a triptych format, Helmsworth “deconstructs” her images to capture the complexity of the moment of appreciation of the natural scene. A longtime art teacher and artist, Helmsworth has most recently exhibited her work at the Lunaria Gallery in Silverton, Oregon.
Eugene artist Niraja Lorenz exhibits large-scale quilts made of hand-dyed and commercial cloth that feature striking cross sections, aerial views, and kaleidoscopic visions. Deeply influenced by nature in all its forms, Lorenz creates images that can be “seen from many dimensions: a magnification of microscopic particles, the vastness of space, a cross-section through the earth, an aerial view....” Lorenz has exhibited her work throughout North America, as well as in Europe, Australia, and Asia, and has received numerous awards.
“Tactic” showcases the work of Lauren Lake and Brooks Oliver, who pair up in this exhibit to address the floral form in different media. Viewed together, their work is complementary in its minimal aesthetic and reliance on formal qualities.
Alfred, New York artist Lauren Lake displays her graphite drawings of flora. She examines the surreality of the garden, borrowing the “grammar” of botany, garden architecture, and agriculture. Lake says of her work: “I regard the garden landscape as an analogy to drawing and to consciousness in that the garden is a locus of the human condition.” Lake has an extensive exhibition history, having shown her work in juried and invitational shows throughout the U.S., most recently in the Giles Gallery in Richmond, Kentucky.
Denton, Texas artist Brooks Oliver displays reinterpretations of familiar functional vessels. He says of his work: “By isolating, altering, and exploiting the necessary components of a vessel, I attempt to provide new visions of utilitarian ceramic wares. “ Oliver actively shows his work and has recently been included in exhibitions at the San Angelo Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, The Archie Bray Foundation, the Penland Gallery, and Western Carolina University Fine Art Museum, to name only a few venues.