“Listen” by Myra Schuetter

The works of Jasper watercolor artist Myra Schuetter will be featured at the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center for the months of January and February.

Schuetter’s solo exhibition will be on display at the cultural center, 100 3rd Avenue, Suite A, Jasper, from Jan. 6 through Feb. 20.

She will give a talk during the First Thursday reception that is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6. The event is free and open to the public. Her talk will start at 5:30 p.m.

The large, detailed watercolors that fill the gallery by Schuetter are all issue-driven.

“I want people to think about the things that are not right, but I want to present questions about race, religion, politics and social issues in a way that does not depress the viewer, she said. “I don’t mind making people angry, because I believe that anger can be a driving force for positive changes. However, I want to express my feelings in a way that can be appreciated on different levels. I have painted some very serious topics here, but have tried to do so in a way that can be enjoyed by young and old. And hopefully, when you leave the gallery, you might have a smile on your face.”

In 2021 Myra enjoyed a solo exhibition at the Canton Museum of Art in Ohio. Many of the paintings in this current show were exhibited in the Canton show, hence the same show title. She recently had her painting “Political Circus” acquired by the Indiana State Museum as part of their permanent collection.

“I use realism, along with the scale of my work, to not only draw in the viewer, but to keep their interest long enough to recognize that there is much more going on than what originally appeared to them,” Schuetter said. “I consider realism another usable tool to draw in the viewer, keep their attention and get them to think about the issues that are being presented.

“So therefore, my use of realism creates a sort of comfort zone,” she said. “Using watercolor keeps the paint itself from being a distraction and lets me really get into the detail. The placement of little figures and toys helps convey a message. And I have such fun doing it!”

Schuetter knows that her medium choice, transparent watercolor, is a non-traditional medium for such large and complex compositions.

“I feel that by using watercolor, I have control of all stages of transparency from light and airy color to fully intense color,” she said. “Watercolor allows me to render bright, shiny highlights and deep shadows without layers of paint that might intrude upon the flatness of the paper surface and be distracting. Color placement, contrast between light and dark, and my attention to detail make the key pieces of the still life stand out and demand attention.”

She is also aware that some may her works as ‘busy.’

“My paintings are very full of detail, to be sure, but that is because they are full of thought and meaning,” Schuetter said. “Much of the detail centers around small action figures and toys to help tell the story. Much of the thought behind the stories pertains to current events, political, social and cultural issues, our persistent biases, discrimination and other injustices. For example, ‘Break Out,’ painted in 2017, is an example of our tendency to pigeon-hole people, letting stereotypes rule our perception. Many times, this endemic bias has caused hardship and pain, and is justifiably an important issue. On the other hand, ‘The Chocolate Wars,’ from 2011, is important only to me and my bad habits. In each painting there is a lot going on, both in detail, color and a multitude of objects, but it is only to tell the story that is within the painting.”

In addition to Schuetter’s solo exhibit, the following activities will also take place at the cultural center:

• Jan. 7: gallery discussion and workshop with Jasper High School art students, from 8:15 a.m. to noon

• Jan. 8: Mornings with Myra for kids and adults, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

• Jan. 10: gallery talk & discussion with Homeschool Connections, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

• Jan. 22: Mornings with Myra, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

• Feb. 5: Mornings with Myra, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

• Feb. 9: Brown Bag Lunch in the gallery, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The galleries at the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, from 10 a.m.to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and from noon to 3 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is free, and donations appreciated. For more information, call 812-482-3070.

Jasper Community Arts is a department of the City of Jasper. JCA is supported in part by Friends of the Arts, Inc., the Indiana Arts Commission, The Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, and the National Endowment for the Arts.