The City of Ojai Arts Comission is pleased to announce an exhibition of the work of artist Karen Lewis in our the Ojai City Hall Gallery,401 S. Ventura St,. and a concurrent exhibit at the Ojai Valley Museum,130 W. Ojai Ave., from January 7 to March 15. The exhibit is called “Faces, Places, and Things” and is a retrospective of the former Ojai Arts Commissioner and respected Ojai artist. Lewis will be on hand for a public reception at the Museum on January 18th from 5:30-7:30 p.m. as part of downtown Ojai’s Third Friday events.
Lewis, whose works are large scale oils on canvas, received her BA from UCLA and her MFA from Lehman College in the Bronx. During her time in New York she exhibited in the SoHO district at the Pindar Gallery in New York City and taught high school art for 15 years. She was also an adjunct instructor for arts education at the College of New Rochelle. Lewis returned to California in 1990 settling in Ojai. She continued her educational journey with cutting-edge printmaking workshops in Santa Fe New Mexico; in Lucca and Florence, Italy; and in nearby Santa Barbara.
“It was after landing in Ojai that I really fell in love with the landscape and joined a throng of local plein air painters,” said Lewis, who now divides her time between landscape painting, studio painting and printmaking.”My progress with plein air painting had a slow start because while living in NY I fell in love with painting ‘portraits’ of chairs, which I collected on weekly trash nights. My N.Y. loft and home were filled with my scavenged beauties and their large scaled portraits. I left many behind when we moved to Ojai and when I started plein air painting here, I was immediately drawn to the beach, deck, and patio chairs that populated the California scene. A few are included in this current show. I’ve gradually weaned myself from those California natives and am deeply in love again with the California sky, sea and mountains.”
Lewis, a vital part of the Ojai arts community, has had innumerable solo exhibitions, including “Please be Seated” an exhibit of her large scale paintings of California chairs at the Ventura County Government Center and annually exhibits with the Ojai Studio Artists. She was honored in 2012 as a documented artist in the Focus on the Masters archival project.One of her larger pieces, inspired by a London garden scene, was purchased by Bank of A. Levy and is in the Ventura County Museum of History and Art’s collection.
“Faces,Places, and Things” can be viewed at City Hall from 9 a.m,- 5 p.m. Monday- Friday and at the Ojai Valley Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 12-4 p.m. Sunday. Her work can also be viewed online at her website, www.karenklewis.com, and at ojaistudioartists.org, and by appointment at her Ojai studio.