Artist Donald W. VanAuken invites the community to enter a place where “the absurd, whimsical and dark dream begins to lift and the solid fog where no one was able to see dissipates.”
This fall, that place will be Kellogg Community College’s Eleanor R. & Robert A. DeVries Gallery, where VanAuken, an adjunct instructor at the college, will display his exhibit “Gates of the North” from Monday, Sept. 9, through Friday, Oct. 4.
An opening reception will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the gallery, which is located in the college’s Davidson Visual and Performing Arts Center, 450 North Ave., Battle Creek.
In his artist’s statement for the exhibit, which will feature nearly three dozen paintings and mixed media works, VanAuken cites influences ranging from medieval paintings to modern pop cultural imagery. He says he’s always been attracted to epic narratives, symbolism, attention to detail, and the “timeless, eternal interest” in the narratives of medieval paintings.
“Medieval paintings seem to develop new meanings when viewed today and yet they had a very specific function during the time of their making,” VanAuken says. “This is how I conceive my work operating – through the use of a meta-narrative. Each work tells a portion of an overlapping and arching story; combined they tell of a greater whole.”
VanAuken’s exhibit will be free and open to the public for viewing during gallery hours, which are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
In addition to exhibiting “Gates of the North” at KCC, VanAuken will be competing in this year’s ArtPrize art competition in Grand Rapids, where his interactive sculptural mini-golf installation “Goomyland” will be displayed outside of the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
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