Display Dates: February 2 – March 2, 2019
The 28th Annual Gala consists of three separate events which each offer unique cultural activities to attract a variety of patrons, both young and old. These three events are tied together by the month-long Gala Art Exhibition of the featured artist, Karen Weihs.
Using mostly palette knives and particular brushes, Weihs applies pigment in lush impasto layers interspersed with thin glazes that enrich colors and result in canvases that glow with mysterious light and form. The vague forms and evocative spaces in her paintings become magnets that draw audiences into the mystery of creation by way of human imagination.
Her works radiate an otherworldly ambiance of shimmering colors and swirling shapes, representing whatever subject matter the viewer chooses to see. Drifting clouds reflected in a lake, a distant skyline of forest or city, grey fog rolling across the horizon are these forms real or imagined Weihs galvanizes her audience’s natural curiosity with compositions that border between abstraction and landscape. She alludes to the familiar without telling the story.
No narrative of detailed brushwork exists in her pictures to construct the meaning of what viewers envision in their mind’s eye. Her abstracted representational subject matter is deliberately simplified to capture the “idea” or the essence of a place, not the reality of it.
Weihs invents each new journey of creation by trusting her intuition completely and by following wherever her hand and intuition lead inside the very textural composition. Like memories that bubble to the surface of the mind, the images her palette knife creates as it carves, smoothes, jabs, and dances across the surface eventually coalesce to form a holistic picture.
Her obvious lack of fear or attachment to the outcome as she completes each painting models an attitude of joy in abandoning fears and preconceived notions. Weihs is a master of following creative impulses that inspire courage, uplift the spirit and elevate art-making to a new level of intellectual stimulation.
She is also an extraordinary teacher known for giving permission to students to explore their creativity, encouraging them to make marks with joyful abandon and experiment with tools and techniques that lead to individual style. Weihs studied with LaMar Dodd at the University of Georgia earning a BFA degree. His repetitive, coloristic modern style was a great influence.
“The magic happens and draws me in, and I find myself driven to capture and paint those responses over and over again. It’s deeply gratifying. This erudition has earned me a confidence in looking for the cutting edge of paint technique, ever evolving to a higher standard. Usually, the viewer can find something of the subject matter to relate to. This process allows me to tackle a subject that may or may not appear as my eyes see, painting the paint.”
Karen was born and raised in Charleston, SC, raised two sons and worked with and sold 7 restaurants there with her restaurateur husband, Chris Weihs, also a European trained professional chef. They now live in Highlands, NC where she maintains a private home studio in Wildcat Cliffs. Her studio is a working and teaching studio for creatives looking for mentoring or respite in the mountains.