Memories in Shadow and Light: Paintings Inspired by the Art and Life of Willa Cather

Memories in Shadow and Light: Paintings Inspired by the Art and Life of Willa Cather

Red Cloud Opera House Art Gallery
May 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021

Memories in Shadow and Light showcases the work of Chicago-based artist Karen Vierneisel. In this exhibition, Vierneisel explores the themes and settings of Cather's novels and the places she knew during her lifetime. The impetus for this show came to Vierneisel in 2017 when she read Alex Ross's article in The New Yorker, "A Walk in Willa Cather's Prairie." It was then that she began systematically rereading all of Cather's novels and set about creating a body of work that brings to life the evocative images created by Cather in her fiction and honors her legacy as one of the most important American novelists of the twentieth century.

This exhibit will be on view during our 66th annual Willa Cather Spring Conference "Willa Cather and Popular Print Culture" from June 3rd through the 5th.

About the Artist

Karen Vierneisel's journey as a painter began at a young age. With her interest in art first nurtured by her elementary art teacher Mrs. Smollack, Vierneisel was selected to be part of a program for elementary students who showed promise in the arts. It wouldn't be until she retired however, that she would go on to realize her dream of being a painter. Since 2006, she has taken workshops across the United States, and in Ireland, Provence, the Swiss Alps, and Tuscany. She continues to practice art at the Ponce Studio of the Ravenswood corridor of Chicago.

Vierneisel's interest in Cather goes back to her days at the University of Chicago where she wrote her dissertation "Fugitive Matriarchy: Willa Cather's Life and Art" which reflected her appreciation of Cather's deep insights into the human heart and was the embodiment of Vierneisel's effort to correct the misconceptions of male critics' patriarchal bias.