The Grackle

Observations, Reflections and Miscellany from the Wacoan

Creating Curiosity

The Art Center of Waco opens new exhibit

9 years ago

By Caitlin Giddens

Art often evokes questions without an exact answer. Jenna Foster, a local artist featured in the new exhibit at the Art Center of Waco, hopes her abstract work encourages curiosity and conversation.

“Humans want so badly to inject meaning into the unknown,” Foster said. “My paintings and prints are somewhat abstract and widely open to interpretation because some elements are just barely identifiable enough to get a narrative going.”

The Art Center of Waco opened an exhibit featuring the works of Jenna Foster and Noel Kalmus last Thursday. Art aficionados attended the event to meet the artists and enjoy their inquisitive abstractions.

“I think the exhibit opening went really well because we had a diverse group with more artists at the opening than we usually have,” Meg Gilbert, operations manager at the Art Center of Waco, said. “I enjoyed talking to Jenna and Noel and hearing about how their artwork has evolved.”

Foster and Kalmus studied at Southwestern University in Georgetown and moved to Austin to join the vibrant artistic collective. Before moving to Austin, Foster was raised in McGregor. In March she returned to McGregor to work as an artist and freelance graphic designer. She practices her art in a renovated studio at the Old Masonic Lodge.

In her paintings, Foster instills a sense of ambiguity through her artistic process and technique. She uses heavy linework, movement and fluidity in her paintings, but then allows the scenes develop organically.

“When beginning a new painting, a different narrative emerges out of abstract forms, and I try to embrace that element of uncertainty and let the work go its own direction,” Foster said. “It’s like freeform dancing — you build up technique through practice, but you still make it up as you go along rather than following an exacting routine with an expected outcome.”

Foster’s peer, Kalmus, also allows the viewer to find meaning in her colorful paintings. Kalmus said, “The abstractions focus on interactions between colors, mainly my favorites, hot pink and lime green. The representational pieces are scenes depicting parties or gatherings.”

Kalmus’ abstractions contrast from Foster’s painting. But their works also complement each other. “Noel’s work has a whimsical feel that I really like,” Gilbert said. “Her use of broad brush strokes and bold color worked well with Jenna’s calculated design and equally colorful pieces. I love the look of this exhibit. It gives our gallery a fresh, modern feel.”

The works of Jenna Foster and Noel Kalmus will be on exhibit at the Art Center of Waco until Sept. 12.