Juliet Karelsen’s ‘Juliet’s Room: Recent Work’ On Display At UMF Art Gallery
By Sofia Vanoli, Contributing Writer
The UMF Art Gallery is hosting artist Juliet Karelsen for the third time with her new exhibition “Juliet’s Room: Recent Work,” which is on display through March 12.
It is an exhibit appropriately described as a path from the natural world to the personal and emotional life of the New Yorker artist.
The first floor of the two-leveled Art Gallery holds the colorful exhibition “Lichen” that features abstract and vibrant “paintings” on linen with thread, embroidery floss and paint. They depict lichen, mushrooms, fiddleheads and mosses in a forest environment while seasons go by changing their colors from brown to green in each work.
“The downstairs is kind of like a forest, I would say. And I think people will really like it coming here in the middle of the winter,” said Karelsen. “It’s kind of an oasis, as someone once said,” explained the artist and longtime member of the Farmington community.
“I think it is an interesting and original way of portraying nature,” said Eva Schneider, UMF Language Teaching Assistant and attendee of the event. “The variety of mediums used by the artist is particularly creative,” she said while admiring one of Karelsen’s works in detail.
“I’m impressed because the works are not labeled so that leaves you to your imagination,” said Chris, a Farmington community member as he tried to name one of the lichen “paintings” located at the entrance hall which he noted was his favorite.
“The Apartment,” “Oma’s Gloves,” and “Sympathy Series” located upstairs explore the concepts of memory and loss in Karelsen’s life in diverse mediums such as gouache and needle point. Visitors can also find pieces of furniture from The Karelsen’s apartment in New York that the artist decided to make into art after her father died in 2013.
“Upstairs is more psychological, it’s more about the sense of loss and memory. And I think it’s particular for people who have lost their parents or their home. It really resonates,” said Karelsen when describing what visitors can find on the second floor of the Gallery.
In one of the tours around the exhibition during the opening reception, Karelsen fondly remembered where all the things were at her family home and she said they brought memories to her, pointing to her mother’s vanity where she would spend time with her heated curlers and lipsticks.
“The exhibition is very realistic, like it depicts someone’s life,” said Danielle Bowler, secondary education major. “My favorite artworks are the embroidered portraits of pill bottles.” They are part of “The Apartment” series and they represent how present they were in her life as her parents aged.
Farmington community member Greg Kimber agreed with Bowler. “I really like the paintings of the pill bottles because they remind me of a children’s illustration from when I was a kid.” The free interpretation and the personal connection with the artworks are present in each of them.
Anyone interested in the exhibit can visit the Art Gallery at 246 Main St. on noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesday through Sunday, and by appointment.