"Down to the Lake II," Oil, by Jens Carstensen, whose work is now on exhibit at the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock through Dec. 24, 2010. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)
HANCOCK -- "I find more and more that a painting will remind people of something that has happened in their own lives. There is nothing a painter loves more than making a connection with the viewer."
These are the words of Jens Carstensen; and for us to make a connection with the artist it may be as easy as a visit to the Copper Country Community Arts Center, where his paintings are currently on exhibit. Carstensen’s work is mainly about how he sees landscapes.
Farming Country, Oil, by Jens Carstensen.
According to the Geographer, Donald Meinig, "Any landscape is composed not only of what lies before our eyes but what lies within our heads."
Clouds, water, trees, roads, barns, and bathers: All of these elements of landscape are translated into brushstrokes by Carstensen and communicate scenes of familiarity that are visual, but also emotional.
"Fractured Sky," Oil, by Jens Carstensen.
"A landscape," Carstensen says, "is state of mind. When I look at the hills, the cornfields, the woods, I am filled with an impression which I want to capture on 2-D canvas. I am always asking myself: What is the inner image of a scene I am witness to, and how close is my painting to that inner image?"
He often draws on impressions from his time spent in the Western Lake Superior region. Carstensen has a second home in Michigamme, where he often paints local landscapes.
"Straight and Narrow," Oil, by Jens Carstensen.
"In Michigamme I have access to a place that affords peace, light, and freedom from distractions," he notes.
Friederike Roach, who represents Carstensen at the Moonshine Gallery in Michigamme, observes that Jens’ "deft use of color brings out the interplay of light between transient clouds, living vegetation, and solid human-made objects."
When Jens Carstensen translates what he sees into paint on a canvas we, the viewers, are witness to a way of seeing that is particular to Carstensen’s experiences. He was born in Brooklyn, NY, raised in Denmark, and spent many years in Madison, Wis., on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin -- not teaching art, but working in pharmaceutical research. For Jens, art and science combine in the use of shape and color to "focus and capture the mood I first experienced in a certain place."
This exhibition can be seen at the Copper Country Community Arts Center’s Kerredge Gallery through Dec. 24. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturdays 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. The Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock.
Youth Gallery: Art by students in CLK Schools
An exhibit of art by K-12 students in CLK (Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw) Schools is now in the Youth Gallery of the Copper Country Community Arts Center.
"Summer Memory," by Karlee Chute, third-grade student at Calumet Elementary School. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)
CLK art teachers are Susan Rosemurgy and Debbie Mues. The exhibit will continue through the month of January.
"Portrait of Thomas Jefferson," by Abbey Koskiniemi, fifth-grader at CLK Elementary.
Tempera by Brian Torola, 12th grade student at Calumet High School.
Ceramics by Byron Parks, Grade 11, Calumet High School.
The Community Arts Center also has a wide selection of art for sale. Check it out for your last-minute holiday shopping. For more information call (906) 482-2333 or visit the Web site: coppercountryarts.com.