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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


“Native Turf” abstract art gallery opens in Melville Library

A Stony Brook student views the “Native Turf” exhibit in the Lawrence Alloway Memorial Art Gallery in Melville Library. The exhibit includes six paintings by abstract artist Katherine Kaiser. ALEXANDER BAKIRDAN/THE STATESMAN

Bright hues and colors, unshapely forms and curves make up the abstract art of “Native Turf,” at the Lawrence Alloway Gallery, located on the first floor of the Frank Melville Jr. Memorial Library.

The six paintings presented at the Alloway Gallery were created by Katherine Kaiser, a third-year master of fine arts student at Stony Brook University. Kaiser did not give any titles to the individual paintings, explaining that a title can make viewers see things she does not want them to see. Instead, she grouped them under one title “Native Turf.” All of the pieces communicate and are related to one another since Kaiser created them side by side.

Her artist statement opens with: “A significant place has a tremendous amount of power. It has the ability to bring back the most fleeting of memories, by triggering our sense of sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch.” Memory and recollection are leitmotivs, or recurring elements, in her work.

She takes a photograph of “the landscape, vegetation and architectural structure of the place to supplement the earth sample.” By doing so, she creates a painting that evokes both nature and architecture.

For the exhibit, she used oil stick and spray paint. Kaiser manages to create light effects through the use of layers of oil paint. Like surrealist and abstract artist Jackson Pollock, Kaiser lays her canvas on the floor to paint, with her hands and fingers becoming painting tools.

“The artist’s composition is central and she is deeply interested in formal elements,” Cici Lampa, a junior studio art major, said. “[Kaiser] has a very good use of space and mixed media.”

Kaiser, who was born on Long Island, takes a deep interest in the geography of her surroundings. As an abstract painter, she likes to reinvent nature and that is why the colors are not supposed to represent her archives or photographs. “The palette does not mimic anything that I’m seeing within the archives,” Kaiser said. Thus, it is more of an impression she has of a certain spot, rather than a representation of reality.

Coenraad Van Bandoeng, a junior political science and international studies major, liked the exhibition so much he wished he could see more paintings by the artist. He said that the artwork displays a depth of emotion through the painter’s use of color combinations.

“Native Turf” will be at the Lawrence Alloway Memorial Art Gallery from Sept. 17 until Oct. 1. The gallery is open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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