Few exhibitions in our region have been more anticipated than the joint showing of oil paintings by David Mueller and MaryBeth Karaus at Eisele Gallery in Fairfax.
This exhibition showcases the romantic figurative and still life work of this couple, relying on well rendered compositions of surface refinement and harmonized color palettes.
The female figure is featured in the oeuvre of internationally exhibited David Mueller.
Sure and painterly, Mueller’s romantic expressive manner explores several nuances of the human experience with subject matter ranging from a group of religious women at worship in a church setting, to sensual female figures enticingly posed as well as several self-portraits.
Mueller imbues his paintings of the female figure with sensual energy and poetic beauty. One of the most impressive pieces is the large painting “White Butterfly”. The private boudoir moment, immortalized in the sensual gesture, is arresting in its simplicity of design. The subdued but articulated palette carries the composition beautifully to fulfillment.
Other paintings include little girls crowned with floral wreaths, descending a set of steps and a young woman clothed in a white off shoulder sheath contemplating the beautiful sunset from the bow of a boat, faintly reminiscent of the tragic Titanic imagery of cinematic lore.
A unique work entitled “Yachtsman” intrigued this writer because the artist’s brushwork was more in evidence than in other exhibited pieces and the color palette more vibrant. The dynamic composition convincingly conveys the contest of man and wind filled sail against the sea.
Fleeting moments of poetry and harmonized color palettes characterize Karaus’s still life pieces, this subject matter being the core of her contribution. Her delicious still lifes range from dramatically nuanced to simplistically abstract and are often composed with deceptively simple devices, capitalizing on lost and found edges and dramatic value design.
“Dreamy” exemplifies a pictorial poesy of eggs, kitchen porcelain and swirling pink roses. Back lighting color notes and limpid shadow passages carry the eye forward as the composition unfolds.
“Dawn Light” is successfully composed to a horizontal extreme in muted tones of blue grey complemented with rustic earth tones.
In other works, Karaus exercises her chromatic confidence for our pleasure.
“Come Together” features the robust fruits and melons of summer. Lush watermelon reds and carnation crimsons harmonize with diaphanous peony heads, complemented with deep green accents and limes. “Citrus Sensation” unleashes a fantasy of cascading purple florals, a large orange temptingly pealed and several small citruses afloat in a flowing dark passage.
“First to Flower”, simple daffodils afloat in a poetic passage and “Simple Beauty” are examples of Karaus’ abstract simplicity.
The title “Timing is Everything,” comes from the trials and joys that make up the canvas of a lifetime. “Works (in the exhibit) draw on the emotions of Mueller’s recent health crisis, the loss of Karaus’ parents, and the unexpected happiness that comes with finding a partner to share it all with.” quoted from the gallery press release.
The art community showed its continuing support for this couple and the success of their joint exhibition which continues through October 7th.
–Marlene Steele paints and teaches in Cincinnati Ohio