“My work mainly concerns mood and feeling,” explains painter Shawn Krueger. “I tend to lean into the somber mood and, sadly, the times seem to be ripe for it. Ultimately, I’m looking to depict peace and a sense of place. I’m looking for a quiet that is not easily found anymore.” That feeling of quietude may be precious, but it will be on full display at Grovewood Gallery during Krueger’s solo show titled In a Minor Key.
The Michigan-based artist, who frequently visits Western North Carolina, returned last month for the opening reception. “For those months where travel was not possible, the initial studies of NC mercifully kept me going. I have been painting in the mountains of Western NC for the past 10 years, so this [exhibit] felt like a natural progression.”
In 2021, Krueger was honored with the designation of Master Artisan by the Roycrofters-at-Large Association. That nonprofit is devoted to inspiring the continued evolution of the Arts and Crafts Movement, which has strong historical ties to WNC. “I believe that the general tone of my work fits well with the warm wood tones and color palette found in Arts and Crafts furniture and architecture,” says Krueger. He is also a member of the American Tonalist Society, which celebrates Tonalism, an American art movement that emerged around the same time as the Arts and Crafts movement in the late 1800s. Tonalism explores the use of tone, color, and shadow to create misty, dream-like atmospheres — without demanding strictly accurate and realistic depictions of nature. Tonalist painters like Krueger also typically use a restrained palette of dark or neutral hues to express or inspire emotion.
As he describes, “There’s a subtlety to the paintings, and while I think they can be described as colorful, I frequently utilize a limited color palette. I feel this approach, along with my tendency to work on a smaller scale, asks a bit more of the viewer and invites them to contemplate my paintings in a more intimate manner.
“There are color relationships that blend away at a distance but are heightened when a viewer looks at the work from the same distance the artist saw them.”
Grovewood Gallery, 111 Grovewood Road, Asheville. www.grovewood.com. 828-253-7651. The exhibit runs through July 31.