Alumni art exhibit opens at Richmond Center
April 20, 2010
KALAMAZOO--The artwork of two Western Michigan University alumni will be on display April 22 through May 14 in the Monroe-Brown Gallery on the first floor of WMU's Richmond Center for Visual Arts.
WMU's Alumni Invitational Exhibition features the paintings of Gary Koepke, B.F.A.'78, and Michael Thoresen, B.F.A.'77.
Koepke's work comes from a series of paintings and drawings he started in 2003, based in sacred geometry, kabala, chakra, quantum physics and the power of simplicity. It all began when Koepke became fascinated with drawing circles, clockwise, because of the good energy and soothing effects he felt from the motion. He doodled circles everywhere, adding elements, like the lotus flower, to them. It became meditative for him, and he eventually turned his doodles into a series of chakra drawings. Because each drawing was completed within minutes, they became an interpretation of his mood, space and karma.
Koepke sums his experiences up in this way: "Around that same time I started drawing on the pages of the book 'The Act of Creation,' first some circles then more. The language in the book was fascinating, and being a designer and typographer, I used the page to make some drawings while searching for my own meaning in the art. More and more, I believe I am ultimately searching for the language to express what's on my mind. There is an order and a frequency in the world, I guess we all just try to tune into it and as an artist attempt to express it."
Thoresen's work is best described as the end result to specific rules of engagement on the canvas. Examples include his description of the painting "Ten Figs."
"This painting references the illness of a friend," Thoresen says. "One of the last times I visited him at the hospital, his sister lifted up the blanket to show me his feet. His toes had turned black. He had been bed-ridden for many weeks and there was no longer any circulation in his extremities."
In "Hooked Up," Thoresen makes a statement about mechanical life support. The figure in this painting desperately wants to pull the plug but cannot.
Self-guided gallery tour
The Richmond Center for Visual Arts is introducing a self-guided gallery tour with this year's alumni exhibit. The tour, which uses iPod technology, features new piano compositions by WMU music professor Curtis Curtis-Smith. The music has been woven into the paintings and commentary of Koepke and Thoresen to bring about greater understanding and enjoyment of both art forms.
"This project capitalizes on the resources of the arts village--the people and places that provide the vibrant cultural life for our campus and community," says Dr. Margaret Merrion, dean of the WMU College of Fine Arts. "We've marshaled our talents among our alumni artists, technical staff and composer to reach the community with something new in this exhibition."
For more information, contact the Frostic School of Art Exhibitions Office at (269) 387-2455.
Media contact: Don Desmett, (269) 387-2455, email@example.com