On Friday, November 8 the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History hosted an opening reception for the Institute’s new exhibition, a one-man show of recent works by Cleveland-based artist Kim Zarney. The show, titled Habitats: abstract expressions of the natural world, ran at the Institute from November 5 through December 29, 2013.
Ohio native Zarney earned his BFA degree in painting and printmaking from the Cleveland Institute of Art. He has worked as an illustrator, graphic designer and advertising agency creative director, and is renewing his fine art career by building a body of work that focuses on contemporary landscapes and impressions of the natural world. Using water-soluble oils on coated paper and high-density synthetic panels, Zarney works quickly to develop initial layers of line, texture and tone. The versatility of this medium gives him the opportunity to work back through sections of wet or drying paint with a variety of tools to create, Zarney says, “Not direct renditions of the subjects depicted but abstractions and impressions of the natural world that leave room for interpretation.” Zarney adds, “I’ve always had an affinity for the unpretentious honesty reflected in preliminary sketches and studies; simple, spontaneous gestures put down quickly to capture an idea, feeling, the play of light, a shadow or texture. That is how I approach my monochrome pieces.”
At the November 8 opening reception guests toured the exhibition and met the artist, RTPI staff and volunteers, all in RTPI’s beautiful surroundings. Zarney spoke to all assembled about his works and told the stories behind them.