Artist Cynthia Kukla has not put her feet up since retiring from teaching in the Illinois State University College of Fine Arts. Instead, she's put on her traveling shoes and found inspiration on a far shore.
The McLean County Arts Center in Bloomington is hosting an exhibition of Kukla's latest work. The show is entitled To The Sacred Grove and features watercolors depicting classical architecture and sculptures from ancient Greece. There's also a sculpture installation: the far end of the Armstrong Gallery has hundred of dried flowers festooned before a large burnished silver altar. The time she spent as a visit professor in Greece helped to inform her new work, explained Kukla.
"I wanted this to have a sense of memory, a sense of memorial. The piece in the back is meant to give an impression of an ancient altar where one is making an offering. No matter what your level of spiritual interest is, we all have loved ones who have already passed. And I'm hoping the roses trigger a sense of memory for those people."
Kukla journeyed throughout Greece, observing ancient temples and visiting cultural museums. "Everywhere I'd go, I'd be walking on marble steps that has a beautiful indentation. And some of the marble steps had inscriptions on them because they had been a part of other things originally. Anywhere you looked there was a piece of human effort, like a piece of a relief carving. It was overwhelming, it was so much."
"My work has always had an undercurrent of concern, of humanism. I think roses trigger a lot of associations. I think that alone will help people make their own journey mental journey, spiritual journey, seeing this show."
The show is up through July 29.
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