(Farmington, ME) The UMF Art Gallery presents Juliet’s Room: Recent Work by Juliet Karelsen. The exhibition runs February 2 through March 12, 2017 with an opening reception on Thursday, February 2 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

More on Karelsen’s Work

This exhibition brings together several recent series of artworks in mediums as diverse as gouache and needlepoint as Juliet Karelsen affectionately explores memory, loss, and unexpected instants of life. After her father’s death in 2013 Karelsen dismantled her parents’ New York apartment, her childhood home. Her embroidered pill bottles and delicate portraits of the figurines that graced her mother’s mirrored vanity speak both to her parents’ last years and their more glamorous youth.


“Lichen” by Juliet Karelsen

What unites the work, along with Karelsen’s idiosyncratic vision and humor, is the attention to surfaces as ornamental overlays of personal history and private memory. Karelsen’s needlework lichen “paintings” writhe and dance or sit in solid silence through the seasons as their colors burst and wane. She studies each tiny plot in minute detail and renders them with expressionist force, a record of an intense encounter between the artist and the lichen, mosses, fungi, flowers and ferns inhabiting each diminutive stage.

In the Joyous Cosmology series of gouache paintings on paper, Karelsen borrows characters from the fantastical, violent stories told in the prints of Hokusai and Yoshitoshi and Henry Darger’s In the Realms of the Unreal and places them in flat, cooly ornamental worlds composed of Katz and Warhol flowers. This sometimes delicious, sometimes poignant tension between surface and deeper emotions suffuses the exhibition. The best example may be the artist’s portraits of her parents at different times in their lives–her mother, in a quirky needlepoint composition, is young and vibrant while her father is depicted in extreme old age in a series of painted impressions from his very last days.

About the UMF Art Gallery

The UMF Art Gallery is located at 246 Main Street in Farmington, behind the Admissions Office. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm and by appointment. For more information or to make an appointment, please contact Sarah Maline at [email protected] or 207-778-1062, or visit the website at artgalleryumf.org.

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