Working with allegory

Pastoral Serenade is part of a multi-piece showcase of local artist Bev Krupp
Pastoral Serenade is part of a multi-piece showcase of local artist Bev Krupp's exciting and unique paintings.
— image credit: Will Johnson photo

If you wander into the Nelson Public Library any time in the next two months, you’ll be met with a startling image: a cellist, alone in a field, serenading her bovine companion.

Pastoral Serenade is the centrepiece of a multi-piece showcase of local artist Bev Krupp’s exciting and unique paintings. The pieces were hung on May 1, and will be featured for the next two months.

“I’ve always been a fan of Bev’s work,” said Anne DeGrace, the exhibition coordinator.

“Thematically, she works with really interesting subjects. She has these human stories, but she takes them and gives them a twist. And that twist tends to be environmental.”

Krupp’s work jumps from biblical milieus right up to present day, and her work has a prominent spiritual component. One of her pieces depicts Noah receiving a message from God via a raven on his shoulder.

“She’s working with allegory, but she’s playful about it,” said DeGrace

Pastoral Serenade, which is vaguely reminiscent of Andrew Wyeth’s famous 1948 painting Christina’s World, exemplifies Krupp’s aesthetic approach. She juxtaposes pastoral images with jarring contemporary intrusions, as seen in her painting The Internet, which is also on display.

In the painting, a naked Eve peers at her computer screen rather than acknowledging the dense jungle foliage surrounding her, a disturbingly familiar image these days.

Krupp expresses her concern about humanity’s troubled relationship to nature and technology through her creative work. She sees her role as mining for beauty and finding truth amidst the chaos and destruction of contemporary life.

“Like a lot of people these days, I’m feeling a kind of urgency about the state of the earth, about what could be coming down as we stand teetering on the brink of a very big precipice,” Krupp said.

She hopes her work will help get society get back on track.

“Art is, after all, about transformation,” she says.

DeGrace said Krupp is shy about self-promotion, and prefers to let her work speak for itself: “For her, it’s all about the art.”

DeGrace said the library is fully booked for the year with work from a number of exciting artists, including painter George Binns, wildlife photographer Jim Lawrence and illustrator Jason Asbell, who is working with repurposed books.

“We’re really fortunate to have the caliber of work in this community and people willing to show at their public library. There’s something about the nature of libraries, it’s different than having work in a gallery, people are inclined to come in and spend time looking.”

Originally from Ontario, Krupp migrated to BC in the 1970s and to Nelson in 2000. Her paintings can be found in a number of private collections and she’s shown her work in Vancouver, in Nelson’s Artwalk, at Touchstones Nelson, and in various Kootenay venues

DeGrace hinted that Krupp may change the paintings during the course of the show, swapping in various new pieces.

“So people, even if they’ve seen the show, might want to come by again,” she said


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