About the Artists
by Susan Mendenhall5>
Home is Where the ART Is, the theme of the upcoming exhibit of the Mount Horeb Area Arts Association and the Driftless Historium, October 8 – November 15. This exhibition invites both artists and patrons of the arts to cozy up with a piece of art that takes you to a warm, welcoming, inspiring place. Fifteen artists share a work that speaks to this theme in their specific medium of painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, pottery, and jewelry. Each artist’s passion and intention in creating art is both seen and heard. What inspires them? Where does their inspiration take them?
Let’s meet the artists, see their work, and hear how they speak of where a sense of home is found in their art.
Pamela Ruschman, oil painter, claims “home has always been the driftless region for my artistic soul. After living and working in the Milwaukee area for more than 30 years, our family decided to leave the city lights and rediscover the solitude of country living. I’m so delighted to be close to my artistic muse of the livestock and landscape of this beautiful part of southwestern Wisconsin. It’s good to be back HOME.”
Richard Fayram’s watercolor is of a National Register Historical Site that has always been a family home in addition to other businesses that were present, including a hostelry and brewery. “As I completed the watercolor, I realized that it also had a powerful connection to our family. My great grandfather Considine (my grandmother’s family) was a riverboat captain on the Mississippi River of the same era. It was likely that he stopped here on his trips up and down the river as a part of each trip he made.”
Julie Raasch, photographer and jeweler, is influenced by where she lives. “My restored prairie is where I walk, meditate, and make photos. It influences my creativity in many ways. Home is the heart of my creativity. It is where I live, become inspired, and create.”
Oil painter, Pamela Grabber, speaks to the “validity of our emotional connections with the places where we dwell. “Turn to the Sun” was painted from life in my home studio with sunflowers from our garden. As a gardener, I’m invested in my plants as I tend their needs and await the blooms and fruits Capturing the glory of these vibrant giant sunflowers in oil feels so rewarding – their beauty and my efforts to cultivate them lives on in paint long after the flowers wilt.”
Judy Robb, oil painter, is ‘drawn to the mystique of nature and the curiosities of creatures and their surroundings which is their homeland. History and lore, fact and tradition inspire me and how I translate feelings and ideas in art.”
Chuck Bauer’s oil paintings capture the essence of an emotion and location. “Home is a relative feeling, not only a place. For example, even a park shelter can feel like home, at least for awhile, especially if you’re caught in a thunderstorm as I was while painting one afternoon.”
Susan JAZZ Mendenhall’s watercolors frequently showcase houses. “From the lines of the rooftops to the foundational structure, the design of a house fascinates me. Creating a home is much like creating art. The process is intentional, personal, and forever evolving. Just as each house tells a story of the people who live there, the same is true of a piece of art – both revealing a bit of the artist’s soul.”
Ceramic artist, Heidi Clayton feels called to create for the heart of the home, the kitchen. “When I think home, I think home cooked meals and breaking bread with those I love. I am honored to be included in these rituals through my work, in the hands of those who share important moments with their loved ones.”
John Pahlas who sculps in salvaged steel shares, “My home IS art. Without artistic expression I am literally, spiritually and figuratively homeless! My art has flourished here in the Mount Horeb area, and because this place has taken me in with such outstretched and loving arms, I can keep evolving as an artist, father, & concerned member of this growing community. I feel I’ve found my true self amid the prairies and Savannah’s of old oaks & I am beyond thrilled to see what the future holds here.”
Vicki France uses her camera to capture photographs that remind her of home. “These are the roads that take me home, these are the hills and valleys I grew up with.”
Luci Shirek’s watercolors bring light and color to the paper.
“Home means a sense of peace, a sense of belonging, a place to feel warm and secure.”
Katherine Ford’s watercolors are full of flowers. “Flowers are a gardeners reward for their persistence. It is the anticipation of their beauty that gets me up in the morning and going out to see the changes. Taking close up photographs of flowers allow me more time to interpret their beauty into watercolor paintings and admire the complexity of their design.”
Sue Schuetz, assemblage artist, selected a variety of objects to “represent how women were kept together and held down, often being denied the opportunity to work outside of the home. Their work was, for the most part, contained to home chores.”
Karen Watson-Newlin, acrylic artist, finds “I am most at home with nature and being outdoors walking, hiking, and gardening. This painting is a different look at one area I find for inspiration.”
For photographer, Jessica Curning-Kuenzi, “When I look for a good photograph, I try to find a subject or scene that conveys the peace and serenity of the nature all around us. I capture a moment in time, in hopes that it will provide the future viewer a chance to see the same beauty and feel the same peace I felt while I was there making a photograph. When a piece of my art is in someone’s home, I hope that it can provide them with happiness every time they look at it.”