January 08, 2013

image courtesy of the artist
"Stain 1," Anna Kell

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. The Downtown Art Gallery will present "Pentimenti," a solo exhibition by Anna Kell, assistant professor of art at Bucknell University. The exhibition, which begins Jan. 16, may be seen through March 22. Admission is free during gallery hours.

Kell asks viewers to consider how nature is depicted in their homes and question what stories these objects may tell, saying "What does nature look like in your living room? Are there roses on your wallpaper, or seashells on a lamp?"

After a more traditional start painting images of nature as she saw it, Kell began to question this idea of "nature." Rather than looking at reflections of herself in the way a rock eroded or a plant grew, she realized that the unnoticed representations of nature in everyday objects might have something to say about society in general.

"I am assuming that if I examine them in a certain way, they will tell me something about the culture in which they are made" said Kell.

The title of the exhibition, "Pentimenti," comes from the Italian word for repentance. In an art context, "to repent" has been used to describe the alteration of a painting, evidenced by traces of under painting from a previous version. The act of "pentimenti" reveals the impulse of change or superimposing another's hand on an existing work of art.

Kell contemporizes this historical tradition, painting over ornate patterns already found on the surface of fabrics, such as a mattress covers, highlighting what is already there. She also takes notice of stains and other markings from the object's past, incorporating these in the final product.

The discarded mattress or scraps of wallpaper tossed aside are considered opportune for Kell, who connects with these objects from an anthropological perspective.

"Anna tells a beautiful story from traces of the forgotten," said Pam Campanaro, gallery associate. "I met with her for a studio visit a few months back and was taken aback by the methodical nature of her work.

"She incorporates her hand as a painter into the life of the found, stained object. The final product is a glimpse into what the object used to be as discarded trash in nature and how it exists now."

An opening reception will be held Thursday, Jan. 24, at 6 p.m. in the Downtown Art Gallery, located at 416 Market St. in Lewisburg. Kell will give opening remarks. The public is invited to engage with the artist and continue the dialogue surrounding her work. Refreshments and light snacks will be served. This event is open and free to the public.

Future public programming for "Pentimenti" will continue the discussion of the discarded object in nature. Kell will lead a walking tour through Lewisburg on Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. to uncover objects in the community of interest to tour participants, followed by a workshop on the contemporary pentimenti, allowing participants to alter the found objects. To participate, please contact Pam Campanaro at pam.campanaro@bucknell.edu.

For upcoming public programs and events for this and other Samek Art Gallery exhibitions, visit http://galleries.blogs.bucknell.edu/events/

Contact: Division of Communications