Large Mural created by smaller individual abstract drawings

Even Now

East Gallery
February 3, 2024
March 17, 2024
to
Artist:
Keren Kroul
Reception:

February 3, 5:30–7 pm

Keren Kroul presents a large-scale watercolor on paper and a small video projection that explore the way memories shape identity
through time and place.

Artist Talk: A Conversation with Nicole Havekost and Keren Kroul
Saturday, February 3, 4:30-5:30 pm
Nicole Havekost and Keren Kroul will discuss the work in their exhibitions, moderated by Gallery Director Nicole Watson.
Opening reception to immediately follow. Free and open to the public. For ASL interpretation and/or other accommodations, please contact nmwatson@stkate.edu by January 26.

Exhibition Brochure: featuring the essay, "Inherited Memories," by Nicole E. Soukoup

Educator & Visitor Guide: This guide is designed as a resource for all visitors, especially college educators and their students, who are eager to engage meaningfully with the artwork on view in the gallery. The content in this guide offers a range of learning opportunities and styles, with the goals of building observational skills, encouraging dialogue, cultivating critical thinking and personal reflection, and ultimately, appreciating art as a form of learning, understanding, and creating a pathway for building empathy, relationships and community at St. Kate’s and beyond.

Press:
Lydia Moran, Everything is a Process: Nicole Havekost Talks with Keren Kroul. Minnesota Women’s Press (December 27, 2023).

Mia Timlin, Catherine G. Murphy Gallery welcomes new exhibits. The Wheel (February 11, 2024).

Kendall Graham, Spring season kicks off at The O’Shaughnessy, Catherine G. Murphy Gallery. St. Catherine University Newswire (February 12, 2024).


ARTIST STATEMENT
Even Now, the title of this exhibit, takes its name from a line in the poem "In the Daytime" by Paul Celan. Like my maternal grandmother, Celan was born into a German-speaking Jewish family in Bukovina, Romania. Like her, he was a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. Celan’s poem is a lament. He mourns the repetitive nature of memory and loss, while looking at a sky alive with grief and hope. This poem is one of several that my mother read aloud to my grandmother, in German, their mother tongue, to comfort her at the end of her life. The poem frames the two works in the gallery: a large-size watercolor on paper painting, and a small video projection on the gallery floor.

The Shape of Memory is a watercolor on paper measuring eight feet tall by 30 feet long. Lyrical and cyclical, it weaves memory and terrain, collapsing past and present into a dense topography that expands as it pulsates forwards and backwards. Composed of 45 sheets of Arches paper arranged in a rectangular horizontal grid, it is a construction of individual panels, single moments that form a whole. The watercolor is inspired by memories of memories: my recollections of my grandmother’s stories, her experiences during the Holocaust, from displacement to concentration camp to refugee camp to freedom. Houses, synagogues, cobblestoned streets and tombs reference the town of Suceava, Romania, from where my grandmother and her family were forcibly expelled by the Nazis when she was a young girl. Saturated patterns are wallpapers and carpets. Arches and doorways disintegrate into jumbling masses. Dark braids belong to my grandmother’s twin sister, who perished from typhus by her side in the concentration camp. Grays and blues are a sky of smoke and clouds. Magentas and pinks are the sweet peas that flowered in the surrounding wildflower fields. Ground into a powder and force-fed to my grandmother’s father in the Nazi camp where he was experimented on, it was well known at the time that their consumption led to paralysis. While some images are opaque, reflecting their solid presence in the mind, others are a watery wash, the dissolving of concrete places, lives, and eventually, memories. Towering over the viewer, monumental in size while fragile in materiality, this work is a physical representation of the overwhelming helplessness I feel when confronted by the horror of this personal and historical legacy.

A single-channel video is projected from the ceiling onto the floor in a corner of the room. The projection is circular in shape, and repeats every 18 minutes, the number signifying “chai” in Hebrew numerology, translated as “life”. I asked my maternal grandmother’s living descendants to film their sky in a coordinated gesture of remembrance. Segments of sky span geography, climate, and time of day, accompanied by a recording of the poem “In the Daytime,” read in the original German by my mother. Accompanying the viewer through the gallery, the voice is repeated like a song or a prayer, an evocation of the memory of a vanishing world, under a sky that still continues.


BIO
Keren Kroul creates large-scale watercolor on paper paintings and paper installations. Examining identity through time, memory, and place, they are fantastical landscapes of the mind. Born in Haifa, Israel, to an Argentinean father and Israeli mother, Keren grew up in Mexico City, Mexico and San José, Costa Rica. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches Art, Design, and Spanish. Keren has received support from private and state foundations, including: the McKnight Foundation (Visual Artist Fellowship 2023; Next Step Fund Grant 2021), Minnesota State Arts Board (Creative Support for Individuals Grants 2023, 2022, 2021; Artist Initiative Grants 2019, 2017, 2015), and the Jerome Foundation (Emerging Artist Exhibition Grant 2017). Her work has been featured on television in MN Original (TPT-Twin Cities PBS), and in print publications including Paint Lab, Color Lab, Tangled Art, and New American Paintings. Keren holds a BA in Fine Arts from Brandeis University (Waltham, MA) and an MFA in Painting from Parsons School of Design (New York, NY).


Logo for the Minnesota State Arts Board & Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
Minnesota State Arts Board

Keren Kroul is a fiscal year 2023 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.


Recording

Artist Talk: A Conversation with Nicole Havekost and Keren Kroul
Saturday, February 3, 4:30-5:30 pm
Nicole Havekost and Keren Kroul discuss the work in their exhibitions, 
moderated by Gallery Director Nicole Watson.