Feature Dates: July 1 – September 25, 2021
On view at River Arts on Water Gallery (590 Water St, Prairie du Sac, WI) and online
Reception: Friday, July 16 from 5:30-7:30pm*. Artist talk begins at 6pm. 10% off all artwork in the gallery during reception!
River Arts is pleased to feature one of our artists, John Pahlas, as well as welcome guest artist Ken Schneider. John specializes in metal sculptures, often using recycled materials and imbuing them with a level of emotion not often seen in metalwork. Ken’s oil and watercolor paintings highlight the diverse natural beauty of our region, with highly-detailed dappled light and delicate melting snow. Both artists share a deep connection to and respect for the environment. On view for a limited time only!
Ken Schneider Artist Statement:
When painting landscapes, I strive to accomplish a marriage of apparent contradictions: of abstract imagery within a realistic framework, of arbitrary shapes and the single-source light that imbues realistic depth, and of imposed, formalist structure on random, “messy” nature. The desired effect is for a state of flux to exist in a painting; flat plane versus three-dimensional depth. The depiction of water in various states of movement and light adds nicely to this effect, so it continues to figure prominently in my work.
Most of my subject matter consists of small, local waterways and their surrounding topographies. I am drawn to these slight openings in dense forests, where light reveals a myriad of shapes and colors with the many elements of nature vividly exposed. The seasonal and conditional changes of these environs provide an endless and fascinating well of information and inspiration. For some time now, the streams and bluffs of the Baraboo Range have been a favorite stomping ground. There is both a sense of drama and intimacy to this area that I find appealing.
My strongest wish is to convey at least a fraction of the beauty and complexity in a natural scene, to underscore the truly sublime in what may first appear to be a common, anonymous image.
John Pahlas Artist Statement:
Art has had an influence on my life since birth. Having been brought up in a family whose artistic innovations go back 5 generations, I’ve learned that the creative act is far more than a hobby or a past time. It is a passionate awakening, a conduit through which identity and meaning of life can be obtained.
My sculptural process derives from years of learning a wide variety of fabrication skills and understanding the methodology behind working with steel. I was raised in a blacksmithing studio and from a very young age I began to work alongside my parents as they created amazing ornamental steel work for homes and gardens all over the country.
As I began to grow into my own creative skin, I developed a great deal of interest in using all of the discarded scraps created by the projects my parents were finishing. From their shop, I started raiding dumpsters of machine shops and scrap yards all throughout Wisconsin. I found a seemingly endless material base to work with, and within each scrap pile there lay before me worlds of possibilities.
I’ve always been inspired by the natural world and mankind’s place in it. We are an industrious, innovative species, but with our innovations and industrial lifestyles come a great deal of unforeseen consequences that are putting the entirety of the planet and all its inhabitants in danger. Through these salvaged steel creations, I hope to evoke a sense of awareness to these issues that are greater than ourselves, but can only begin to be remedied through self awareness and our willingness to change as a species.
*COVID-19 Safety Information for In-Person Reception: (Subject to change based on CDC recommendations)
- Maximum 50 people in the gallery at one time (less than 50% of our building capacity)
- Masks required unless you are fully vaccinated
- Complimentary food and beverages provided outside on our river deck, weather permitting