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Flowers at the Ober Gallery

July 19, 2015
“Fleurs Fatales,” works by 12 contemporary artists curated by KK Kozik, can now be seen at the Ober Gallery in Kent. In a variety of media including sculpture, painting, drawing and photography, the pieces demonstrate the infinite number of interpretations that can be applied to a single subject. Some of the images are humorous, others serious, some whimsical and others full of mystery.
In her large (76x 60”) painting “Wallflowers” curator KK Kozik has depicted a grey wall with a door opening into another space painted bright turquoise. The door is surrounded by a collection of flower paintings of varying shapes and sizes loosely arranged in two diagonals. An orange tiger lily, irises, a sunflower and many other flowers are rendered true to life, almost as if they were botanical illustrations. Some images are more abstract and stylized. In the turquoise room a mirror hangs above an ornate mantle piece where a grey cat sits with its paw raised as if he were waving to us. Despite the bright colors and benign subjects there is something mysterious and a little disquieting about the painting. Its meaning eludes us.
"Wallflowers" by KK Kozik
Peggy Cyphers’ large cyanotype on paper, ”Stallion,” is from her series Future Byzantium. In each corner of the deep blue print Cyphers has depicted white stallions two running free and the other two standing still. In the center surrounded by delicate wisps of grasses and other leafy plants, a stallion tries to mount a mare who is having no part of him. At the top, just to the left of center, are two mysterious beings with daisy like heads above long wispy stems.
"Stallion" by Peggy Cyphers
My favorite work in the show is Jim White’s “In Praise of the Flower Child.”  In his artist’s statement White calls himself “a fringe artist …in a variety of mediums” who splits his time between being a musician, music producer, visual artist and writer. He mostly produces assemblages such as this one that hangs on the wall by the entrance to the gallery. It consists of two circles, one above the other. A halo of delicate leaves surrounds the large upper disc – a face made of small pebbles onto which are affixed three circles representing the eyes and mouth. A tiny white button depicts the nose. Attached to the smaller disc is a doll with a flaring white skirt. Hanging below is a gizmo that resembles a flint starter the ends bandaged in white cotton wool. But perhaps it is simply just a gizmo…the artist provides no clue.