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The Comforting Familiar

February 5, 2022 - March 5, 2022

There’s comfort in the familiar: familiar faces, familiar places, familiar experiences. The challenge to find “familiar” during this period of unexpected unfamiliar can feel almost unsurmountable, however, the iconic elements that have come to be a hallmark for each of this month’s featured artists have done just that.  From Mr. Monopoly and Snoopy to something as simple as the pages out of books or the symbol of the heart, we can find that sense of home and nostalgia within the artworks featured in “The Comforting Familiar”.

Cynthia Coulombe-Bégin's dynamic acrylic on canvas works seek to produce a metamorphic interpretation of the artist's inner identity. Her paintings make ample use of contrasting colors to create exuberance and energy in her images. Inspired by street art, Coulombe Bégin 's paintings range from the abstract to the surreal and employ a variety of techniques and materials. Her contemporary artworks draw inspiration from body image, the universally recognizable symbol of hearts, and the experience of humankind.

Preservation of vulnerable wildlife is the focus of Naomi Jones’ work: she finds catharsis in painting soulful animals. Portraits of vulnerable species native to the North American landscape are painted with an illustrative sensitivity, reminding the viewer to appreciate the delicate balance of nature. Jones tries to make such wildlife, frequently living on the edges of homes and gardens, visible through paintings set among vividly patterned backgrounds.

Kathleen Keifer’s paintings invite the consideration of the complex relationship between time and timelessness. It is the sheer visual interaction between the elements, taken in their bare simplicity that interests her. Water, sky, and architecture change their appearance with the shifts in weather and light. Her broken brush strokes depict light and color in luminous waves, dissolving form into a shimmering surface of vibrant light. For her, painting captures the very essence of time and its passage.

While Beth Munro is inspired by art history as well as her surroundings, she is constantly in search of new ways to create. This combination of inspiration and innovation gives her work a feeling of both familiarity and discovery. When she began her artistic journey, her focus was mainly on creating still-life artworks. Although she does continue to paint in that style, her artworks have become gradually more abstract while holding on to certain formal elements of her original style. The same black and white checker pattern that once lined the edges of dishes in a still life have now grown to defined, abstracted shapes.

Swedish artist Tommy Lennartsson draws on the visual culture of street and pop art when creating his original vibrant mixed-media artworks. He employs a mix of abstract and figurative elements that give nods to neo-expressionism, faux-naїf, pop, and geometric abstraction schools of art. Lennartsson builds up his canvases with charcoal, acrylic, ink, and spray paint, and occasionally sews and stitches elements together to create striking scenes that ignite the viewer’s imagination.

Inspired by line, Martina Niederhauser paints on highly textured patterned backgrounds composed of vintage book pages and sheet music. The collages which make up her backgrounds enhance the aged character of old paper from all over the world. Depth is first created in her backgrounds, then brought forward by varied layers of painting techniques as Niederhauser incorporates watercolor, pastel, oil, and gouache, and more into her primarily acrylic portraits.









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