Visual Arts

GALLERY FIVE20

Eric Keller & Laura Willett — Ascension
Gallery Opening & Artist Reception: February 2, 5:30 to 7:30

A show of the latest work by Laura Willett and Eric Keller. Laura and Eric are a married couple from Chattanooga. They met in collegeand began working and collaborating then. Twenty years later, they have worked together at the Hunter Museum of American Art together, created an artist cooperative (along with several other artists), kept professional art studios, and had many shows. In addition to having collaborated in those ways, the couple work in the same community as art teachers. Laura is in her seventeenth year at Baylor School, and Eric is in his fourteenth year at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences.

Both artists have shown locally with Dave and Pauli’s Art Emporium and the Creative Arts Guild. Both have also shown at the Hunter Museum of American Art, Bill Lowe Gallery (Atlanta), and Northshore Contemporary in Chattanooga.

Laura’s work for the upcoming show feature oil paintings of winged insects, mainly butterflies, on copper. Inspired by the beliefs of some ancient cultures, that butterflies are symbols of the human soul, she uses them to represent change and growth as well. Focusing on growth of the human spirit by painting butterflies - the mythological symbol of joy, the essence of happiness, and hope for positive change in the world - is an act of catharsis during these challenging and uncertain times.

Eric’s works with a hot wax technique that incorporates oil paint, drawing, and glazing techniques that produce a layered, weathered surface. The paintings shift between concrete representations to dreamy abstractions. Keller’s approach leads him to make many works at a time often spanning many years before completion. Some of the artworks in the January show have spanned more than five years in the making.

While their work is not restricted to the theme of ascension, it is one of the overarching ideas that are conveyed in both Willett and Keller’s work. They hope that things they make create a lasting resonate experience in the viewer that inspire moments of reflection and introspection.