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Cerulean Art Gallery Premieres Exhibit Featuring Mixed-Media Paintings and Sculptures

  Cerulean Arts Gallery opened a new exhibit on First Friday titled “Twist of Nature”, featuring local artists Caroline Furr and Linda Brenner. The exhibit will be on display until February 25th.

   Furr and Brenner each had their own take on the theme of nature for the show.

   Furr’s mixed-media paintings show an unconventional side of nature. Her paintings show fleeting moments like leaves and petals falling from trees and moonlight shining on ponds and grass.  Furr describes her paintings as not the most uplifting due to the dark colors and the transient aspect of nature she portrays.

   Her painting titled Cherry Blossoms shows the red petals of the flowers drooping with the branches, which have a tentacle-like quality.

   Another painting, Moon Rises Over the Backyard, depicts a nighttime scene with animals in a backyard looking at the moon.

Caroline Furr, Moon Rises Over the Backyard

Caroline Furr, Moon Rises Over the Backyard

   Furr explained how she started painting and working with mixed-media. She has been painting since the early 80s, when she was living in Barcelona. Working with paper was practical to her at the time because she needed a smaller material that would be easy to mail.

   She has enjoyed working with paper ever since. Rag paper is practical to use because it is not as difficult to hang on the walls as a canvas, Furr explained. She used push-pins to hang her paintings in the gallery.

   “I get to work large without all the cumbersomeness of the stretchers,” Furr said.

   Tina Rocha, a co-owner of Cerulean Arts, said she chose Furr and Brenner as the artists to feature this month because their work complemented each other well. The owners had thought of Furr because she had been in a group show at Cerulean Arts in the past.

   Michael Kowbuz, the other owner, said they named the exhibition after choosing the artists. They wanted to play on the word “twist” and Furr’s work takes that idea literally with depictions of twisting branches in her paintings.

Furr said the paintings shown at the exhibit go back four years.

   “I’m usually working on three or four at a time,” Furr said.

   According to Furr, she used several kinds of paints and materials, including metallic and gold leaf.

   In addition to mixed-media paintings, Furr is also a sculptor and author. She creates her own books completely from scratch, including the bindings, writings and illustrations.

   Brenner’s sculptures are unique, as well. Several are made from old Christmas trees that the sculptor has collected over the years.

   Symmetrical in shape and size, Brenner’s sculptures portray the structure and order found in nature. Some examples in the gallery include Target, Red, Fortress, Chevron, February and Friday and Saturday.

   All works are made from various materials, but the one trait her sculptures share is that they are made from wood, manipulated into one form or another.

Linda Brenner, Christmas Tree #1: Levi's Pole

Linda Brenner, Christmas Tree #1: Levi’s Pole

   She explained that her current work includes carving discarded city trees that would have been left for trash. By recycling these trees, she gives them a new purpose.

   Brenner’s fascination with Christmas trees goes back to growing up in a Jewish household. Her family did not use Christmas trees during the holidays, so Brenner was naturally attracted to them and would visit all her friends’ homes to see their intricately decorated trees.

   “People buy these Christmas trees and decorate them and then just trash them,” Brenner said. “They would all pile up on the street and looked pathetic.”

   Brenner’s three Christmas tree sculptures are each made with reused materials. The sculpture titled Christmas Tree # 1: Button Stick is made using a rescued Christmas tree, button stick, buttons, gold leaf, nails and a concrete base.

   Christmas Tree # 10: Levi’s Pole is made with a found Christmas tree, a pole, Levi’s inseams and a concrete base. Brenner said she used her husband’s old Levi’s jeans, because he used to wear nothing but that brand.

   The third tree sculpture, Christmas Tree # 7: Cola Pole, is comprised of Coca-Cola can strips, nails, a Cola pole and a repurposed Christmas tree. This one also has its own unique story, Brenner said. Her husband is a “Cocaholic,” so Brenner used saved Coke cans to strip and cover the tree with.

   The exhibit will run until February 25th. Anyone with questions can call Cerulean Arts at 267-514-8647.

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