NEW WORKS BY CALIFORNIA ARTISTS at the Triton MuseumSUSPENSIONS
Karen von FeltenNovember 4, 2004 to January 2, 2005
Karen von Felten's work is rooted in
the visual sensibilities of Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Käthe
Kollwitz and Pierre Bonnard, and she gives credit to David Park, Nathan
Oliveira and Jay Defeo for affirming the direction of her art. We see
juxtapositions and influences in the thoughtful, expressionistic work
seen in this brochure and exhibition, aptly titled, Suspensions.
In 1992, frustrated by the lack of
time for reflection, von Felten and her husband put their busy Bay Area
lives in storage and spent eighteen months in Mexico. This leap of faith
served as a visual and metaphorical bridge to the next level of
commitment to her artmaking. While in Mexico, the artist spent time
observing and drawing the footbridges that cross a stream near San
Miguel de Allende.
The bridge has always been a rich
symbol of life and all its attendant challenges. The bridge has power;
its absence can protect and isolate; conversely, its presence can
connect the unconnected or disconnected. The bridge can be viewed in
terms of enlightenment, of leavings or of new beginnings, or, for the
artist, as a marker of the "past and future, fear and adventure."
Karen von Felten's paintings and
prints of hand-built wood and rope footbridges are visually interesting
and compelling with their anthropomorphic links. She renders rope with a
kinetic tension that pulsates with organic energy and mathematical
harmony. Her expressive, rough-hewn wood has a connective, casual
symmetry. Her art makes evident that the bridges seen in Suspensions
have served many generations of travelers, yet we know that climatic
conditions and time will continue to weather their materials until they,
as will we, disintegrate into nothingness. This realization makes her
beautiful, full, expressions heartbreakingly poignant.
Susan Hillhouse, Chief Curator, September, 2004