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Indepth Arts News:

"Jens Carstensen: A Dane in Dane County"
2002-01-23 until 2002-03-10
Charles Allis Art Museum
Milwaukee, WI, USA United States of America

The exhibition will include 60 oils, watercolors, and pastels of Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula landscapes that inspire this son of Denmark to create his works of tranquil and luminous beauty, as well as reflections of the nude. The exhibition is part of the citywide International Arts Festival celebrating Scandinavian Heritage.

A recently retired professor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy, Jens Carstensen emigrated from Denmark to Wisconsin in 1950. While on a Parisian sabbatical in 1977, Carstensen began his second career as a painter, beginning with ink drawings, gouache and watercolor. His mentor, Lake Geneva artist Elton Krafft, influenced his use of color in oil and acrylic and endorsed his induction into the Milwaukee Sketch Club. He began site sketching his favorite locations near Deerfield, Richland Center, Devil‚s Lake, Door County and Lake Superior. There's nothing like the light and atmosphere of the site itself to instill life into painting, said Carstensen. His landscapes are fond recollections of Wisconsin‚s familiar forested areas and roadside views of the rolling countryside, often with a familiar farmstead tucked among the hills.

During the winter Carstensen creates rapid pencil sketches then paints in his studio, rather than battling the harsher elements. He admits that studio paintings are canned representations, but adroitly recollects compositional elements and colors. Using brushes no larger than a half-inch flat and mixing no more than two colors, Carstensen contemplates his work in two dimensions. He maintains a Florida studio, where he also paints from sketches, many beach scenes depicting men and women complete with bellies and fat legs, musing, There is more beauty in the body as it is than when it is idealized.


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