Whirldscapes and Hortimorphs
Evening Bloom on view at Geez Mound, by Ehret and Francis Conjuring a Spirit Guide from the Hardware Store Parking Lot, by Ehret and Francis Sun Shower, by Steve Ehret Ate the Sun, by Steve Ehret Alter, by Steve Ehret Haze Glaze, by Kat Francis Meet Me for Records in the Club House, by Kat Francis Mr. Soul, by Kat Francis
By Tom Wachunas
“We hope to bring you into the play place of our imagination, to live out the earthly magic of the subconscious mind. A place for people to float, have fun and most importantly get weird. Climb hills, roll down them, smell flowers, star gaze, pounce from earthy plateau to plateau.” - Steve Ehret and Kat Francis
EXHIBIT: POTION PARK – The Kaleidoscopic Garden of Steve Ehret and Kat Francis / at Canton Museum of Art’s Milligan Gallery / 1001 Market Avenue N., Canton, Ohio / last day of the exhibit is March 5th / 330.453.7666 /
The Canton Museum of Art is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sundays 1-5 p.m. Admission is free on Thursdays and the first Friday of every month.
And again, here comes that notoriously tardy blogger with a way-late vigorous nod in the direction of two prominent local artists- Steve Ehret and Kat Francis. If you’ve not yet seen their intriguing collaborative exhibit, there are still a few days remaining.
So…”Kaleidoscopic” Garden, or “Collide -oh! – Scopic” Garden? Here’s where the notion of potions comes into play. Depending on the recipe, some potions may taste sweet, others bitter. They can be remedial elixirs or toxic tinctures. The fantazzmagorical visions in this exhibit combine elements of both, though never in a spirit of malevolence.
The mixed media assemblages (acrylic paint on cut-out wood shapes) by Kat Francis are layered, 3D collages that have a scrapbook souvenir quality about then. Her painting style is charming and direct, sometimes almost childlike. A recurring motif is an embedded face in profile (her own?) which appears to ingest, or spew out, floating snippets of natural scenery. The eye is peering out beyond the picture plane as if meditating, searching, or remembering.
Steve Ehret’s strange oil landscapes are painted with a sumptuous fluidity that makes his forms appear to breathe and bounce. Here’s nature morphed into a wondrous waltz of curly puddles, pods and petals; rippling rocks rising and falling; wriggling stones, wiggling stems; and all in rainbow colors that glow from the inside with light stolen from an unseen sun.
Strangeness comes into even sharper focus when both artists partner together in one painting, such as in Evening Bloom on View at Geez Mound, or Conjuring a Spirit Guide from the Hardware Store Parking Lot. Looking at them is like tumbling into the proverbial rabbit hole of altered realities. They’re dreamy and disorienting, yet not downright nightmarish. Surreal, certainly, but not so much sinister as they are sly. Like a fox.
Begging your pardon, Kat Francis and Steve Ehret never promised us a rose garden. Still, stop and smell the weird. Eye think you’re sure to find the aroma simply…curiouser and curiouser.