Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Art in the Stacks: Kathleen Poehler, Seaweed Collage

The Friends of the Vineyard Haven Public Library are pleased to present an exhibit of seaweed collages by artist Kathleen Poehler. The exhibit will be on display during regular library hours throughout the month of July.

"Art in the Stacks" is an initiative of the Friends of the Library, to provide individual artists an opportunity to show their work, and for library patrons to enjoy art at the library throughout the year.


Kathy Poehler learned about seaweed walking the island beaches with her father when she was young, and continuing her interest in her studies at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. Later she was able to integrate this interest with her creative expression as she sought to introduce the young children she was teaching about life in the ocean.

Interest in the medium proved to be contagious and led to several private showings at Harvard University, and the placement of her work in homes from San Francisco to Seoul, South Korea. Kathy has recently returned to the Vineyard after a sixteen year hiatus. She has participated in the All-Island Art Show, and was awarded the Rose Treat Award for her Island Collage.


I grew up on the island with parents who instilled an appreciation and understanding of our natural habitats. I accompanied my farther as he collected, classified, and mounted seaweed (Algae), for teaching purposes, and I’ve acquired a deep understanding of individual seaweeds and their properties.

In my collages, I’ve merged an understanding of the limitations of my medium with the possibilities for self expression. The process of creating these pieces is as important to me as the work itself. Being in the ocean observing the seaweeds movement in its natural state and trying to stay true to that feeling as I work with it on paper is an important part of what I hope to reflect in my work.

My collages are created the same day the seaweed is gathered to maintain its color and structural integrity. I may have a vision or direction I would like to move in, but ultimately I listen to the seaweed and the finished pieces reflect that balance. They vary from the abstract to the more sculptural depending on the specifics of the seaweed I am working with at any given time.

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