Solo art installation created by instructor Katherine Steichen Rosing

"Vigil," a solo art installation celebrating primeval old-growth forest, created by Madison College art instructor Katherine Steichen Rosing, opens this week at Abel Contemporary Gallery in Paoli.

An opening reception is planned for Friday, Sept. 14, from 5 to 9 p.m. The exhibition will be open from Sept. 14 through Nov. 4. The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visitors to the gallery will explore a quiet cool forest inhabited by ethereal 3D spirit trees, 10-foot-high delicate graphite drawings of tree trunks filled with leaves, reading like DNA rising in the sap, and small photographs of trail markers (tree bark painted with ultramarine blue) documented from the Van Vliet Hemlock Forest Preserve in northeastern Wisconsin. At the end of the path and filling the wall with color, is a large deep blue painting of a night forest titled "Vigil."  Shimmering spots across the forest floor allude to the communal relationship within a forest where mother trees nurture saplings, share carbon and nitrogen, and communicate with other species via a vast network of mycorrhizal fungi. Visitors are invited to contribute a note, poem, or sketch of a favorite tree on a translucent paper leaf on the Memory Tree.

"Vigil," an immersive installation, is a new step for Steichen Rosing who is known for her contemporary paintings of forests and trees. Surface texture and color are important in Rosing’s paintings where relief surfaces enhance the play of light and color like nature’s textures. Color is minimal in much of this installation which contemplates the loss of so many old growth forests, but pattern and visual texture in the leaf drawings invite slow contemplation while the burst of color on the end wall brings the forest to life.

A lifetime spent hiking, camping, fishing, and kayaking in northern Wisconsin and Canada instilled a passion for nature that inspires her contemplative contemporary abstract landscape drawings, paintings, and installations that explore, celebrate and venerate trees and forests in urban and wild areas.

Steichen Rosing’s paintings and drawings have been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and abroad, including Tokyo, Beijing, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Washington D.C. Her work is included in numerous private and corporate collections internationally including Northwestern Mutual in Milwaukee, and the State of Wisconsin Collection. Rosing teaches Drawing Fundamentals and Basic Design in the College Transfer Art program at Madison College. She earned an MFA from Northern Illinois University and an undergraduate degree from UW-Madison.

This project is funded in part by Dane Arts with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation, The Evjue Foundation Inc. (the charitable arm of The Capital Times), the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation. 

Published September 10, 2018. Updated September 12, 2018.