Women of many talents


Hogan Alexander

Karolyn Alexander paints in her studio, where she creates everything from acrylic abstract, water paintings, and more.

Ivy Steege, Arts and Recreation Editor

A recent exhibition at the Whitewater Arts Alliance (WAA) showed talented artists are hidden within every neighborhood. Abstracts: A Series of Series by Karolyn Alexander and Contemplating Observations by Virginia Epps were  on show at the WAA recently. Both exhibitions showed a beautiful look into the day-to-day life of Wisconsin residents through mixed mediums. 

“Discarded paper products such as tissue wrapping paper, grocery bags, corrugated cardboard, shipping cylinders, and mat board leftovers serve as my primary medium,” said Epps who also uses states she also uses lamination, graphite ink, and acrylic glazes to finish her artwork.  

Alexander, who is a life-long resident of Whitewater, also showcases many artistic mediums from which she is familiar within Abstracts: A Series of Series. Her exhibition included series titled “Home”, “Connections”, “Windows”, “Grids” and “Dots.” Alexander stated only after she finished the first painting, would she name the series while basing each piece after on that title. 

“My abstract paintings generally start with mark making using a variety of wet and dry media. I think of this activity as initiating or activating the substrate. The initial marks are then veiled or covered followed by more mark making. Often several layers are used to create depth,” Alexander said. “My ‘Windows’ and ‘Home’ series both started in this manner. In these two series my focus was on using line and shape as the primary compositional components to complete the paintings.”

The showing consisted of beautiful watercolor paintings, intricately painted pillars, and popping 3-D structures encased in frames created by both artists. The inspiration taken from day-to-day life starts to become apparent the more a person looks at each piece of artwork.

Pictured is “May Courage Reign” by Virgina Epps. (Hogan Alexander)

Such as the cost building hidden within the trees in Alexander’s “Home” series, or the single dot standing apart from the rest in “May Courage Reign” by Epps.  

The COVID-19 pandemic was another common thread in Alexander’s and Epp’s art. Both women state that the time at home during quarantine gave them time to create.

“As we all spent so much time at home during Covid, the title for my “Home” series was decided before I started painting. My plan was to start in my usual manner with mark making and multiple layers. In the late stages I used a rather simple house shape (a rectangle and a triangle) with no details such as doors or windows. The simple ‘home’ in each painting is surrounded by loosely rendered representational elements which resemble trees, fences, rocks, etc…” said Alexander.

Epps main drive in creating art during a global lockdown was to give joy to others. Her statement from the event reads, “In response to the widespread fear, anxiety, isolation, and depression driven by the pandemic during recent years, I wanted to give persons living behind masks reason to smile behind their masks. The eyes of a smiling face smile too.”

Overall, Alexander’s and Epp’s art complimented each others nicely through stories of their time at home and in their community.

Pictured is “Bridges #”1 by Karolyn Alexander. (Hogan Alexander )

Both women are members of the WAA, an incorporation dedicated to supporting both visual and performing arts in the Whitewater Community. 

When speaking about the WAA, Alexander stated, “arts organizations such as the Whitewater Arts Alliance and the Janesville Art League provide artists an opportunity to exhibit their art and art appreciators and the general public a chance to view the artwork. They deserve our support!”

If you would like to view the virtual show for Abstracts: A Series of Series and Contemplating Observations click HERE.