February 6 – May 31, 2009
Mari Kloeppel's technique is traditional, but not her approach to animal painting. More than simply depictions of animals, her paintings are portraits, with personalities, thoughts, and sometimes even a sense of humor. Kloeppel's commitment to pursuing art as a full-time profession was in large part due to her horse—Cobahsaan, a 1,000 pound Arab gelding that crushed her in a riding accident. Severely injured and temporarily blind, Kloeppel's reverence for animals was not deterred, and she decided that if she could regain her health and sight she would become a full-time artist. She has since done exactly that. Today she paints horses, dogs, rabbits, chickens, and cattle, along with less domesticated creatures such as ravens, pelicans, and falcons. The species, however, matters less than her personal connection to the animal. She knows most of her subjects, having lived with them for years at her rural home in Elkhorn, north of the Monterey Peninsula. Others she encounters through animal rescues and local environmental activism. She finds beauty and intelligence in them all, and within them discovers her muse.