Artist Profile: Kathy Turner


Sailors on shore leave in NYC are “grabbing a moment.” It was a moment grabbed by many sailors and soldiers in World War II, but this one is more personal to Kathy Turner—the handsome, laughing man holding the bottle was her stepfather. He survived the war, but what happened to his buddy? Nobody knows.

Kathy loves to drag the backstories from vintage black and white photographs like “First Maide.” It’s an instant in the life of real people—lives assembled from millions of moments. It’s a “jumping off point.” She enlarges and reassembles each life in a painting to where it is renewed and recreated. The color is hers, as is the arrangement of some pictorial elements. She explores the personalities, using “creative license” and makes the ordinary extraordinary.

She often paints on “found” scrap rusty metal, using water-based vinyl pigment. She starts with “washi,” (literally, Japanese paper), made from mulberry and other fibers.  Applied wet, it shrinks slightly and melds with the surface of the metal. It makes the colors denser and more vibrant. Kathy also paints on wood. “Lifting as We Climb (Sojourner Truth)” is oil on an old door panel. She doesn’t use an undercoat of gesso so the grain can show through.

Kathy grew up in a creative home—her mother was a seamstress and she has inherited those sewing skills. Her father was a WWII vet who gave her the stories behind her art. Since graduating from Towson University with a BFA, her art has developed in all directions in both topics and techniques. You can see the wide range of her work on her Face Book page, “KA Turner Art,” and in the current virtual show at the Hill Center, “Uniting US.” (see At the Galleries.)

Jim Magner’s Thoughts on Art
I have written much about seeing. Not just surface appearances but the meaning that lies beneath…those insights that prowl the depths of understanding. You can sense the implications that surround reality and give them significance.

But what about the power of being seen? Most living beings seem to understand that they can be seen and are sometimes watched. Animals, both predators and prey, are acutely aware of that. Those closest to the bottom of the food chain live in a state of constant awareness.

What about humans wanting to be seen? There are untold numbers of narcissists who strut and posture and demand to be observed and admired. Others are uncomfortable in the limelight.

What about flowers? Do they pose and deliberately act pretty? Do mountains rise up to be more easily observed? Does the sunset employ a spiritual artist who composes the evening spectacle? It seems like it.

And art? Does art wish to be seen? What other purpose does art have?  What other gift could it give?

Some paintings, I have noticed, practically hang themselves. They appear to fly up to the hook, preen in the light and ruffle their pigments as you pass by. They droop with disappointment if you pass without even a glance. If you stop to look with honest interest, they happily reveal their secrets. It’s your reward for being cool enough to care and smart enough to understand. The more you look, the happier they become.

The people resurrected in the paintings of Kathy Turner (see Artist Profile) beam with pure joy at having been studied keenly and given a new life in color and visual harmony. Actually, the whole painting gleams. You are seeing below the surface to the depths of understanding.  You recognize a period of great significance—a time of daring and dedication. You look at the painting and it smiles back with exalted pride.

At the Galleries

Bradley Stevens
Zenith Gallery
1429 Iris Street NW
– Jan. 9, 2021

Zenith Gallery Presents “Intimacy & Isolation.” Bradley Stevens “explores the psychological intersection of people and interior spaces.” As usual, he puts it all together—color, composition, exacting technique—creating a space that you will want to share…to mingle with the familiar visitors to a museum—connecting, but without losing the shared sense of contemplation in isolation.

Uniting U
Hill Center
921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
– Dec. 31

This is a very special virtual exhibit featuring the art of 30 US military veterans and vet families. There are 125 works of all kinds and varied subject matter—organized by Uniting US, veterans’ family members and friends.  Kathy Turner (see Artist Profile) is included in the show.

Also, the annual Regional Juried Exhibition continues through 2020. A wonderful work from each artist can be seen at:

Cristy West
Foundry Gallery
2118 – 8th St., NW
Dec. 4 – 27

Cristy West is fascinated by marks.  “Runes and petroglyphs, the scripts of other languages, children’s drawings—all these point to meanings I don’t quite understand. “ Yet, marks with now obscure meanings can have a power that common words and representational art may lack

Capitol Hill Art League
Frame of Mine Gallery,
545 8th St SE
—Dec. 9

The “Winners Circle” exhibit features CHAL members who have won awards in various shows in the past year: Louise Holland, Kim DiDonato-Murrell, Linda Norton, Karen Cohen, J Jaffery, Judy Searles Ken Bachman, Nan Raphael, Deb Furey, Erika Rubel, Rindy O’Brien, Tamora Ilasat, Mike McSorley, and Jane

“Small Treasures”
American Painting Fine Art
5125 MacArthur Blvd., NW
Suite 17
Dec. 5 — Jan. 30
Recp. Sat. Dec. 5, 5-8

This is a terrific show for the holidays with an actual Reception, (complying with the usual requirements). You’ll find the small, less expensive works from the wonderful “American Scene” painters who exhibit at the gallery. Perfect for gifts. For complete information:

Happy Holidays everyone. Buy art.