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Art: Elizabeth Ann James, Columnist
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Laurie von Endt
Lay of the Land: From Sweden to Sedona
My intention is to take the viewer on an unpredictable journey, a journey that includes beautiful twilight marshes, lovely sylvan groves, campy desert motels and southwest skies dotted with UFO’s. – Laurie von Endt
“Lay of the Land: From Sweden to Sedona” runs through April 28 at the JungHaus Gallery. This is an unusual, very pleasing show. Its creator is the photographer/artist Laurie von Endt who is presenting hand-colored infrared photographs.
Von Endt loves to travel and for this exhibit her trips have taken her from Sweden to Arizona, with the Midwest in between. She explains that the “lay of the land” in her title refers to the archaic use of the phrase: “How the land itself lies or is situated.” Of course, at JungHaus – a vortex of dreams and symbols (in the presence of a poised, imaginative artist like Laurie von Endt) – the title implies the existence of inner and outer journeys and lands.
Von Endt’s art is hallmarked by wide horizontal ribbons or lengths of color – sky, land, fields, and deserts – as though we’re seeing a frosted layer cake cut through.
Again, these mixed media “paintings,” 11 x 14 inches, are hand-colored infrared photographs: their over-all impression is that of distance and tranquility. Infrared is capricious, magical, and produces ethereal effects. Von Endt’s mixed media includes oil pastels, eye shadow, collage.
Red Crest bleeds upward, attractively, an infrared sunset. A cherry-bright line shoots straight across the middle where sky meets field. The sky is a strong robin’s-egg hue, a color field on its own.
A dull green field – yes, a color field – meets the red crest. And there, on one side, close to the center, is one small, dark, obstinate tree; beyond that, a strange dark shape, likely a second tree.
Laurie von Endt
© Photo by Steve Henthorne
The artist likes to imbue her works with secrets, and her colors, however warm and soft, manage to reign. That’s good! She reminded me that photo oil paint predates color film, that photographic studios used to hand color black-and-white work. In Red Crest, hues that might “sound” trite are anything but. If there are such things as dream fields – as in color fields –Laurie von Endt invented them. The actual work must be seen.
Rhumba presents a bouquet of color, a landscape of dreams. Simplicity rules in this halved composition. Five slim dark trees, ballerina-like, stretch out of the canvas. Once cottonwoods, their foliage is now von Endt’s heartbreak blue, and so is the undergrowth beneath them. Farther down? Delicate green scrawls, fronds. And on each side, lavender puffs resemble tumbleweed. Eye shadow glimmers while the cottonwoods rhumba!
The artist and her boyfriend are fans of ballroom dancing, which inspired seven landscapes named for dances: Waltz, Swing, Rhumba, Tango, Foxtrot, Bossa Nova. The gorgeous Tango glows like a mixed drink!
Von Endt has a penchant for kitsch. Certain pastel landscapes include surprises: wagon wheels, two carved black bears, a large inflatable Santa Claus. Tiny UFOs, as well as three mystical ravens, are likely to appear. “Remember,” von Endt whispered, “this is Arizona, and Roswell, where dead Martians were supposedly found, isn’t far off.” She likes to transpose, and superimpose, sites and objects. A lumpy gold desert morphs into Afghanistan, or Iraq. In Iraqi Rock, two tiny “paper” soldiers fire at each other.
Again, the artist loves to travel, and she’s interested in the occult and spiritual places. One doesn’t usually think of Sweden as being known for its sacred sites, yet von Endt found some, and you will too, although Hot Rock and Farmer Larsen’s Mother Lode resonate with more history than magic. Saguaro Snow, in photo oils, oil pencil and oil pastel, is one of my favorites. The snow here may be a drift of cottonwood; the terrain may once have been a rocky desert; but slender cacti and heavenly pink “have it.” The Feminine rules. When all is said and done, von Endt’s very hip and savvy efforts exude romanticism. I’d like to see her make some of her works larger than 11 x 14 inches, as murals or large canvasses, but they’re irresistible just as they are. As to pleasures, von Endt enjoys yoga, loves gardening (“can't wait to dig in the dirt!”) and reading (“so many books, so little time”). A licensed astrologer with diverse interests, she is an observer, not only of landscapes, but of kitsch, as in lawn ornaments and plastic statues, and she retains at least a smidgeon of interest in UFOs and space travel. She loves to travel, period.
Von Endt is “owned” by three cats, and has two wonderful sisters, one of whom is Karen Thimmes, a musician, who lives in Columbus. Her twin brother resides in Arizona, a favorite site for space travel subjects. She loves the tawny landscape and empty skies there.
She praises her father for his encouragement in her early years. He provided art kits, books on drawing and occasional art classes at the local library. Yet, von Endt says her real childhood passion lay in simple coloring books, a suitable activity for a “quiet, careful little Virgo.” Even now, she still owns her perfectly-colored-within-the-lines Barbie Coloring Book.
After high school graduation in Norwalk, Ohio, the blossoming artist thought she’d like to work in fashion design and illustration. She headed first to Atlanta, Ga., and then to Boston, Mass., where she earned an associates degree. She returned to Ohio where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in drawing/painting/graphics at the Ohio State University. After that she moved to Chicago to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, obtaining her master’s in painting. It was at the Art Institute where she grew to love photography. Her twin brother had given her a Nikon FT3 as a graduation gift, so von Endt signed up for a photo class with the noted Kenneth Josephson who introduced her to photography as “subtlety and visual wit.”
After finishing at SAIC, von Endt moved back to Columbus. She began to combine paint and print and has continued to work in that direction for 21 years, exhibiting extensively, winning awards and curating shows. As previously mentioned, she uses black-and-white infrared film in her work, along with Marshall’s photo oils, photo pencils, oil pastels, and the occasional iridescent eye shadow or collage.
In 1999 von Endt moved to Wisconsin, working in the art department of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh for five years. During that time she taught several art classes at UWO, as well as continuing education courses in hand-coloring at local tech schools. She also won Best of Show for a sculptural piece she created for a public art competition in Oshkosh. Returning to Columbus in late 2005 was like “coming home,” and although she’s shown in group exhibits around town since then, she views “Lay of the Land” as her serious re-entry into the Columbus art scene.
Laurie von Endt’s one-of-a-kind images can be found in private collections throughout the U.S., France, and Australia. Only one day after her JungHaus opening, several works sported red dots – “Sold!” I would describe von Endt’s work overall as neo-romantic, minimal, meditational – often with a dash of kitsch for seasoning! A darn good show.
Up next, Jerry Tollifson, sculptor, and Alan Reeve, painter, will rock JungHaus with their masculine take on the feminine. In May at the Ohio Art League, as curated by JungHaus veteran Sandy Aska, Tom Baillieul and John Dickinson will exhibit their cerebral but different approaches to art in “From Reality to Realism.”
C.G Jung Association’s JungHaus Gallery is located at 59 West Third Ave. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. and by appointment. Call (614) 291-8050. Visit www.JungCentralOhio.org. The gallery will be open especially for the April Gallery Hop, 7-9 p.m. Laurie von Endt’s show closes April 28, 2007.
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