Charles Harris Library Gallery

I love to hike. I love to be present in the very gravel I crunch, the mud I sidestep, the tree and light patterns I espy, the sounds of birds, insects and my own breathing. My work does not only represent place, it is place—somewhere not far from here, somewhere in heaven, somewhere in communion, somewhere touched, everywhere immersed.

-Geraldine Kiefer, Artist Statement

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The Charles Harris Library Gallery
is happy to present Maps, Mountains, Islands, Coastlines: Recent Work by Geraldine Kiefer. Working in a variety of media, from
ink and pencil to coffee and silt, Kiefer creates intimate, inward works that are part landscape, part esoteric map, and part sacred text.

About the Artist:

Geraldine Kiefer has a Ph.D. in art history and a B.A. in art history and studio art.  She specializes in mixed-media drawings and teaches drawing as well as art history and art appreciation at Shenandoah University, where she is an associate professor.  She has exhibited her work in solo and juried shows throughout Virginia as well as in Hawaii, Ohio, Georgia and Panama. She has also received artist residencies in Panama and Virginia.  Her work, scholarship and teaching may be viewed on her website

Artist Statement:
My recent works explore chorographies--places of the imagination--in kinesthetically executed, shaped drawings inspired by Medieval mappaemundi (circular paradise maps), Dutch coastal charts (landscapes in elevated perspective), Chinese ink and watercolor paintings (horizontal landscape scrolls) and Japanese paintings (horizontal landscape screens). They are also inspired by maps of the town of Portobelo, Panama and the Hawaiian islands, whose colonial and postcolonial imagery forms a strong subset of my practice.  Inscribed with text, including Christian texts, Hawaiian texts and Far Eastern poetry, they bring the viewer into an emotive relationship with the imagery and illusions and thus imply that process rather than staging generates each series. Each series is a sort of "guide to paradise," a landscape journey, a landscape pilgrimage. Each implies the next and the works are ongoing. They combine illusion, spirituality, movement, material presence and memorial absence. Motivated strongly by my personal pilgrimage through valleys of shadow and loss, they seek peaks of light and restoration. They are records of journeys taken and milestones accomplished. They are records of deep breaths, long strides, uphill climbs, stream fordings, sideways downhill steps, and trail endings. They represent passages to new dimensions of life.