Touring exhibit brings fairy tales to life

Special to The Log
Works of Katherine Ace. [SPECIAL TO THE LOG]

The Mattie Kelly Arts Center Galleries present a national touring exhibition, Tales and Myths: The Paintings of Katherine Ace, from May 30 to July 22 in both the McIlroy and the Holzhauer Galleries at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville.

The exhibition of works Ace takes familiar and not-so-familiar fairy tales and retells them in large-scale mixed-media paintings. The exhibition is free of charge and open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 90 minutes prior to most Mainstage Theater performances.

Ace will exhibit 23 paintings from the past decade. Her recent paintings depict scenes from the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. She is a masterful realist painter who creates haunting, poetic images that are personal and often surreal, but simultaneously draw upon myth and the history of art. Her paintings are beautiful, drawing the viewer into narratives that are both strange and emotionally resonant.

In this exhibition, Ace will show a selection of paintings from the past four years inspired by the original Grimms’ fairy tales, dark and sometimes shocking stories drawn from the German folk tradition. Some of the works draw on familiar tales like "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Hansel and Gretel," while others like "The Fisherman’s Wife" and "The Devil’s Three Hairs" may be less familiar.

Ace was inspired by reading Jungian interpretations of the Grimm tales, which focus on their deep psychological structure.

“The kingdom of these stories is the psyche, and there the challenges of one’s inner life are dramatically explored. Many of the tales concern a life passage where one part of the psyche is not valued, or where a crisis awaits resolution, personified by the protagonist and his or her journey,” Ace said.

Other works in the exhibition are allegorical figure paintings.

Ace, from Portland, Oregon, has developed her own inventive techniques, painting in oils and in alkyd paint, including embedding paper into paper into alkyd, fusing it to the surface. She sculpts the paintings surface using a variety of tools, and incorporates small objects including insects, feathers, beans, tacks, glass, and small figures. She has exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions nationwide. Tales and Myths: The Paintings of Katherine Ace is organized through Katharine T. Carter and Associates. For more information, contact the Arts Center Galleries at 850-729-6044.