Pysanky artist to give gallery talk on Feb. 6

February 4, 2020 | 9:59 AM

MacMurray College welcomes artist Katherine Alexander to campus for a gallery talk and a brief demonstration of how she creates her artwork on Thursday, Feb. 6, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Applebee Gallery in the Putnam/Springer Center. Alexander will begin talking at 6:15. 
Alexander’s art is known as pysanky, the traditional Ukrainian art of “writing on eggs.” In her artist statement, Alexander said this “is a perfect medium for a chaos junkie. Every egg is a new shape. Each shell accepts dye in a unique way. Wax lines cannot be erased. Cracks happen. Eggs shatter. But sometimes the fates align, and after hours of planning, waxing, and dyeing, the finished egg rolls around in my hands exactly the way I envisioned.”

The geometry on the asymmetrical surface appears both impossible and effortless. White outlines shine brightly against vivid colors and a deep black background. Traditional symbols intertwine with a modern spirit. 

“The process is difficult, but the result is indeed pristine,” Alexander said.

Alexander is a second-generation Polish immigrant who learned pysanky from her mother. She draws inspiration from the art's original purpose of celebrating the changing seasons and inherent beauty of symmetry in nature. After earning a bachelor's degree in music education from Kansas State University she started a 9-year career teaching orchestra. Her master's degree is in instrumental conducting from Webster University. When she left academia to raise her sons, pysanky became her nightly obsession. She has researched this ancient pagan art and created a lecture to share its rich symbolism and challenging technique. Her goal is to elevate this folk tradition to high art status by bringing it into galleries and art fairs.

The event is free and open to the public. Interpreting services will be provided at the event.

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