C-Ville Weekly - June 2019 Mary Shea Watson
Three years after starting her tenure as Second Street Gallery’s executive director and chief curator, Kristen Chiacchia says she feels at home. For the next month, when she enters the gallery, among the works greeting her are a watercolor and oil painting by celebrated mid-century abstract expressionist Joan Mitchell. The untitled works from 1957 form the pièce de résistance in Second Street’s “Lady Painters: Inspired by Joan Mitchell” exhibition. Joining Mitchell in the show are five female artists from Virginia—Isabelle Abbot, Karen Blair, Janet Bruce, Molly Herman, and Priscilla Long Whitlock.
Karen Blair’s “Blue Iris” energetically conveys joy and excitement. Displaying her painting next to Mitchell’s watercolor made her realize how much of Mitchell’s aesthetic became part of her own.
“Abstract marks can convey an entire world,” Blair says. “As an artist, if you walk into a gallery, the thing that you’re looking for is whether or not the show is more than the sum of its parts,” says Blair. “The energy in [Second Street] knocks you off your feet. Kristen did that. Having a painting next to Joan Mitchell does that.”
“Lady Painters: Inspired by Joan Mitchell” Excerpt from Virginia Living Magazine review by Sarah Sargent.
“With a semi-abstract language, Karen Blair’s paintings verge on the non-objective without ever entirely letting go of the subject matter. She guides our perception by inserting landmarks like the funny little trees in “Garden Plan” and “Visit to the Botanical Gardens”. These schematic physical representations help us interpret the rectangular swatches of paint as cultivated beds, whose color is dictated by the quality of the light hitting them. The dynamic brushwork is both narrative tool, describing plants and shrubs, and expressive visual flourish, and the fresh palette of yellows, greens and pinks pull you back to the sense of the gardens she is representing.”
Tichenor & Thorp Architects are featured in the May/June 2018 issue of Elite Magazine.
"A portrait hangs above a mantle in the master suite. The fireplace's surround is adorned with newly installed Andalusian tiles. The lady of the house, Tina Brand, sat for artist Karen Blair."
Second Street Gallery's mission is to enliven Virginia through access to the best in contemporary art and artists: to inspire new ways of thinking, seeing, and doing.
Making the most of the 2015 Southern Living Idea House near Charlottesville
“Looking for some design inspiration? A showhouse that celebrates Southern style, decorated by Bunny Williams, opens Saturday in North Garden, Va., just southwest of Charlottesville.”
Practice Makes Perfect
“Blair is constantly observing the world, employing not just her eyes, but all her senses. When out in nature, she notes wind, temperature, moisture, birdsong, smells, etc., incorporating all these aspects into her impression of a place. Her aim is to produce a fully fleshed-out representation of her subject, and capture its essence in a more powerful way than an exact replication ever could.”
“I love Karen Blair’s riotous flower paintings that seem to explode with vernal energy.”
VCCA advances the arts by providing a creative space in which our best national and international artists produce their finest literature, visual art and music. In 2008 Karen received the Reynolds Foundation Grant for her Artist Residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
The Visual Arts Center of Richmond is a community arts center that has been helping adults and children explore their creativity and make great art since 1963.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.
The mission of The Women’s Initiative is to provide women with effective counseling, social support and education so they can transform life challenges into positive change and growth.
The purpose of WARM is to provide support, temporary shelter or housing, and community development for homeless adults and families in the Waynesboro & Augusta County areas of Virginia. WARM's services are delivered through a winter shelter for homeless adults and a beautiful transitional housing facility for homeless women with children.