HAILEY JACOBSEN, GUEST WRITER
The Waldemir A. Schmidt Art Gallery, located in the Bachman Fine Arts Center, hosts a variety exhibits throughout the year. The current exhibit is “The View from Here: Reflections of the Iowa Landscape,” a series of paintings by Kirk Hovenga, an Iowa native. The exhibit is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until Dec. 19 in the gallery.
THE START Kirk Hovenga: I had an interest in art since I was young and started painting seriously in college.
INSPIRATION TO PAINT KH: I grew up in Iowa and moved away after college. The cities I lived in were large and certainly complicated. Some 30 years later I moved back to the small, rural town of Dumont, Iowa. This gave me a newfound love of the land. That is when I turned to landscape as subject matter.
LANDSCAPES TO PAINT KH: I drive a lot of back roads. Almost all of my paintings are based on specific sites near
my home. Since I live close to Wartburg, I wouldn’t be surprised if these paintings seem familiar.
INTEREST IN YOUR WORK KH: It is certainly nice when people take the time to come see my work. I am trying to communicate, so it feels good when I have the opportunity to connect with an audience.
THEMES IN PAINTINGS KH: Most of the time light in
my painting is crisp and vibrant. I think this is important to the impact of my work. I present the land as simple as possible, without commentary. Man-made objects are rarely used.
ADVICE TO YOUNG ARTISTS KH: Try to find good mentors. Their lessons will stick with you for a lifetime.
INFLUENCES KH: I think Matisse was a wonderful artist. His work is simple and rich. As far as American painters [go], I find Homer inspirational. Gerhard Richter is one of my favorite contemporary artists. Also, being a landscape artist from Iowa requires me to come to terms with Grant Wood.
DESCRIPTION OF ARTWORK KH: I think photorealistic might be the closest description. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to represent Iowa through my art. Most Iowans are proud of their roots and so am I.