(The Valley, oil on linen, 58”x80” by Kenneth Marunowski)
This November and December, Bend artist and educator Kenneth Marunowski proudly exhibits Large Paintings: Landscapes & Abstractions at the Betty Gray Gallery, located on the second floor of the Sunriver Lodge. Featuring approximately ten large-format oil paintings, this is the artist’s first extensive solo exhibition in Central Oregon. The paintings themselves date from Marunowski’s permanent move to Bend in 2016 to the present and reflect his deep interest in and dedicated pursuit of both landscape and abstraction. The Lodge will host an artist’s reception Friday, December 10 from 4-6pm. All are welcome!
Whether an abstracted landscape or a non-representational abstraction (meaning without reference to the world of people, places or things), Marunowski’s paintings suggest rather than name, leaving interpretation open to the viewer. This openness is a quality the artist deliberately strives for in his work and greatly admires in his favorite painters: Joan Mitchell, Willem de Kooning, and Cy Twombly. “I want people to be not only initially awed by the striking color, gestural mark-making and magnitude of the paintings, but also compelled to investigate the work at different viewing distances, to get lost in the flow of the paint and the tonal nuances present,” Ken explains. “Before I moved to Bend, I only painted relatively small, plein air landscapes in the tradition of the French Impressionists, but once here and with a decent size studio to work in, I cut loose and went big!” Marunowski continues, “Working large feels natural to me; I’m a pretty tall guy with a wide wingspan, and I use my whole body in this intuitive, feeling-based painterly investigation.”
Artworks on display include signature pieces like The Valley, a 58”x80” memory-based painting of his hometown of Valley View, Ohio, and Enchanted Forest, a 48”x96” diptych that recalls a hike Ken and his wife Carly took this past summer in the Columbia River Gorge area. Also on display are Firefly Tango, a 40”x48”, three-panel painting that evokes the frenetic dance of a late-night soiree, and Spring Willow Glow, a 48”x60” painting based on daily walks the artist took along the Deschutes River in the season of blooms. “Many of my abstract landscapes are based on memory,” Marunowski states. “Relying on memory eliminates unnecessary details and gets to the heart of the subject matter. I don’t care about the literal depiction of place; I want the feeling, the essence, and memory acts as a filter that allows me to get there,” the artist concludes.
In addition to this exhibition at the Betty Gray Gallery, Marunowski displays more modest size oil paintings at the Artists’ Gallery Sunriver in Sunriver Village, where he is an artist-member. Beyond Central Oregon, Ken is represented by the LAURA VINCENT DESIGN & GALLERY in Portland and enjoyed a successful first solo exhibition there this past April. Every third Sunday of the month, Ken teaches either Abstract Acrylic Painting or Intro to Oil Painting at Layor Art + Supply, and also teaches winter/spring and fall/winter classes at The Art Station, both in Bend. In an effort to promote communication, collaboration and the joy of abstract painting, the artist guides groups of families and friends in painting a single, large canvas together, an endeavor he refers to as “Spirit of Play Art.”
Don’t miss Large Paintings: Landscapes & Abstractions this November and December at Sunriver Lodge’s Betty Gray Gallery, and be sure to attend the artist’s reception on December 10 from 4-6pm.
For a preview of Marunowski’s art or to contact the artist, visit his website at kennethmarunowski.com. You may also connect with him on Instagram and Facebook @kenmarunowski.