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NEW WORKS BY CALIFORNIA ARTISTS at the Triton Museum

SUSPENSIONS
Karen von Felten

November 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






 
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