Wednesday, July 22, 2009

REVIEW: Kathrena Ravenhorst-Adams at City Center, Montpelier

By Theodore Hoppe

It's no secret, Kathrena Ravenhorst-Adams loves nature. Her current exhibit of watercolors, pastels and oil paintings at the Montpelier City Center invites viewers to celebrate the wonder and beauty of nature. Everything, from the delicate flowers of the Jewelweed plant to a pair of conversational chickadees perched a white pine bough, calls attention not only to nature's intricate details but to its spirits as well: a black cat sits on a stone wall watching; while the colors of the autumn leaves bleed together with the departure of summer, the wind invites the leaves of a birch tree to dance in the breeze. At her best, Ravenhorst-Adams is a poet with a brush.

So it comes as a surprise that two recent painting have lead the artist in a new direction, abstraction. The "Spring Point Lighthouse" series, is the result of the Barre Paletteer's Challenge Project for 2009, where artists used fellow-members’ photographs as inspiration for new works. "As I zoomed in on my computer to get more detail, instead I got pixels and abstract shapes which reminded me of the work of Piet Mondrian, a Dutch painter that I remember from studying Art History in college,", explains Ravenhorst-Adams. Mondrian, who also started out painting landscapes and nature, is renowned for a non-representational style he termed, Neoplasticism, a style that consisted of a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the use of the three primary colors. Ravenhorst-Adams’ approach departs from Mondrian in that she uses the orange light and blue shadows of natural lighting. The results are subtle and magical. "Until now, I felt confined to realism,” she says. “I found the abstracts fun and exciting, and surprisingly freeing. Maybe it's time to branch out?"

The Kathrena Ravenhorst-Adams exhibit will be at the City Center until the end of the month.

First image, Ravenhorst-Adams. Second image, Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue, 39 x 35 cm, 1921, Piet Mondrian