Walters Cultural Art Center reopens with 'Intuitive Perspectives'
When she starts to paint, Carole Zenny never has a plan.
"But throughout the journey of painting, there are different emotions I'm feeling very strongly, and sometimes ideas come into my head as if someone is guiding me," she said.
A collection of Zenny's paintings, called "Intuitive Perspectives," are now on display in the gallery of the Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center in Hillsboro. People can view them through May 21.
The exhibit is the first new exhibit to be put up at the Walters since the beginning of the pandemic. It will be featured in a First Tuesday Reception as part of Hillsboro's First Tuesday Art Walk event 5 to 8 p.m. May 4.
Zenny's paintings are landscapes, but the exhibit shows a vast range between complete abstraction and more identifiable nonabstract landscapes.
Becoming inspired by single moments, places or memories, Zenny pours or applies paint directly from a tube onto her canvas, sometimes using thin, minute brush strokes, and other times using thick sweeping strokes, she said.
Oftentimes shapes and images — tree branches or windows — appear during the process and she rolls with it, she said, forming clear or somewhat distorted scenes.
"I look at it for a long time, sometimes for days, until I start seeing things on the canvas," Zenny said. "I say the canvas teaches me."
Most of the paintings show vibrant colors with multiple paint textures.
Zenny says she grew up on a French-speaking island in the Caribbean where everyone around her was an artist in some way.
Although she was always drawn to it, she never had an opportunity to devote time to painting.
"My life was so busy," Zenny said. "I had to take care of my mom, I had to raise my brothers and sisters, when I came (to the United States) I became a single mom, I had to put myself through nursing school."
After her kids grew up and moved out, she realized she could start painting.
Her daughter told her, "Mom, this is your time," Zenny recalled, adding that her daughter bought her paints for her birthday.
She taught herself how to paint, she said.
"When I tried to learn (artistic techniques), I felt very bored because I felt restricted by the guidelines," Zenny said.
Painting has become an important part of her life, she said. It helps her find peace and channel feelings, which she hopes are received by viewers in whatever way they can, she added.
Some of Zenny's paintings have a haunting, dream-like look to them, with structures appearing to be in ruins or shadowy forests. It's an effect she says may have been influenced by the scary stories she was told growing up in a place where some practice voodoo.
Several of the works on display Zenny painted during the pandemic. Each one features street lights with colorful auras lining pathways or rivers.
"My painting is geared toward providing people a little bit of that light and energy they need at that moment," she said.
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