Coming Full Circle
exhibition marks Dupont
artists return to painting
Circle of Life show
draws on religious influences
Lela Jane Bradshaw
(July 2012) When Gigi Straub left public health
nursing 15 years ago to focus on massage, she expected that her change
in career would offer her more opportunities to paint. However, her
successful Madison, Ind., business, Complementary Health Therapeutic
Massage, quickly began taking up her time and energy. While Straub,
51, of Dupont, Ind., presented a few art shows after opening her company,
for many years it seemed that life was taking her down a different road.
by Lela Jane Bradshaw
Gigi Straub says
her art is inspired
by the Mandala.
After 10 years I didnt think I was going to
be painting anymore, she reflects.
Then, this past November, Straub woke up about 2 oclock
in the morning with her mind filled with the images that would
inspire her new show. She quickly began work on three pieces that very
However, her painting then hit a dry spell and Straub began to fear
that she would be unable to realize her plans for an exhibition. Then
in April, Straub was talking with fellow artist and friend, Anne Farnsley,
whose advice helped to get her back at the canvas. She recalls the thrust
of their conversation as being you just need to get out of your
ego and follow spirit.
Ive been painting pretty solid all through May, June,
Straub says, adding that she has been working on up to eight paintings
at once during this creative period. Its been a fun ride!
Straubs exhibition, Circle of Life, will open with
a reception on July 27 beginning at 4 p.m. as part of downtown Madisons
Fourth Friday series of events. The show will include 27
new works by Straub. The exhibit will mark the first show at the new
Carlson Atelier Fine Art Gallery at 301 Jefferson St. in downtown. The
opening will give the public a chance to meet the artist and enjoy the
musical talents of John Scheckler on the dulcimer.
Straub says that the evening will be something of a block party since
during the reception visitors will be invited to walk across the street
to Complementary Health, where Cara Stillwell will be setting
up with her handcrafted jewelry and offering free chair massages.
Circle of Life will remain open through August from 4-7
p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The Carlson
Atelier Fine Art Gallery marks a new venture for Kevin Carlson, who
has owned Carlson Art and Sign for 26 years. As a painter and art instructor
himself, Carlson said he looks forward to welcoming other artists to
show their work at the gallery.
Circle of Life will present artworks showing variations
on the Mandala form. Straub explains simply that, Mandala just
basically means circle. She notes that those most famous for working
with the Mandala are Buddhist monks who create intricate sand paintings
that are a type of art that is very prayerfully done. She
notes that her pieces are meant to be a prayer for the earth,
for nature, the animals, and humanity.
Straub works in mixed media with her pieces incorporating everything
from acrylic, pen and ink, glitter, gels and glass beads.
She describes the appeal of using several different mediums in one work
of art saying, Its easier for me if I want to
get something really fine, and the smallest brush isnt going to
cut it, Ill just use pen and ink.
She also uses collage to add a three dimensional aspect to the pieces.
This flexibility allows Straub to more accurately realize her own vision
in her work. The glitter is just fun, she notes with a smile.
Straub believes that her work will appeal to a wide range of people.
While she hopes that her pieces will inspire anybody who considers
themselves on a spiritual journey, she also believes that the
works will be appreciated by anyone with a love of color. If they
like color, they will like my show.
Carlson described the vibrancy of Straubs work saying, She
uses a lot of bright colors and highlights the metaphysical,
mystic influences behind the pieces.
Straub stresses that she is more concerned with creating an experience
for the viewer rather than imposing her own interpretations on
her paintings. To this end, no titles will be displayed on the pieces
and there will be no written artist statement presented as part of the
While during the process of painting Straub did a great deal of research
into the different symbolic meanings behind the animals and colors she
includes on her canvases, she does not expect those symbols to necessarily
mean the same things to her viewers as they do to her. In fact, that
is part of the point of her work. She hopes that the pieces will inspire
her audience to create their own meanings and stories behind the paintings.
To Straub a successful piece of art is something thats going
to make me think and form my own story for what the art is something
that if I was to take it home, I could hold my grandchildren on my lap
and tell a hundred different stories.
For more information on the Carlson Atelier
Fine Art Gallery, call Kevin Carlson at 812-701-3993.
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