The Kolman & Pryor Gallery is pleased to introduce, Indeterminate Present, a new exhibit of abstract paintings and works on paper by gallery artist, Betsy Ruth Byers, January 10 through February 21, 2015 with a free public reception on Saturday, January 17, 7-10 p.m. In the new works, Byers is focusing on two primary concerns. One involves her signature use of color to create emotional and sensory qualities in the paintings. The other is her ongoing exploration of the sweep, heft and mutability of the horizon line.
Because color is so central to Byers’ artwork, Kolman & Pryor Gallery will also host a panel discussion on Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 7-9 p.m. entitled, “Color: What Is It Good For? Facilitator, Dr. Christina Schmid, Assistant Professor of Art, University of Minnesota, and panelists, Mary Abbe, Art Critic, Minneapolis StarTribune, painter, Jim Denomie, and Kolman & Pryor Gallery artists, Betsy Ruth Byers and Jil Evans, will explore color as a phenomenon and the role of color in art, its effects on us, and what kind of content it carries.
A superb colorist, Byers is working with a new palette. She’s pushed beyond the blues and oranges familiar in her paintings to violets and greens. “The color values and saturations,” she explains, “give viewers new visual, emotional and spatial experiences in the work. They also add an element of surprise that awakens the viewer and pulls them into the painting.” For Byers, color is also a way to play with and create space or even conjure memories of sound or sensations of movement or pressure.
“Visitors to our gallery have long responded to Betsy’s work because of her use of color,” says Anita Kolman, gallery co-owner. “Her work is also carefully and exquisitely executed, with a finely honed sensibility that draws people deep into the work.”
Because people recognize the world through their senses, Byers also seeks to embody experience in her work. “The paintings in Indeterminate Present play with the slippage between real and imagined landscapes; present and past moments; objective and subjective knowledge,” she says.
Byers began painting with oil when she was 20, after a childhood of drawing, writing, and profound and memory-laden experiences in the natural world. The works for Indeterminate Present draw from that history and include acrylic on canvas and works on paper. “It’s important to recognize the present and our connection to landscape and the natural world, as we grow increasingly separate from it,” Byers says. Abstraction, she continues, is a powerful way of “allowing us to play with perception, to flip between worlds and memories, to recall sensation in the moment.”
Byers earned a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies, with an emphasis in painting, from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Her creative process incorporates non-traditional tools, including paint rollers, squeegees, rags, spatulas and palette knives.