Karen Austin: Abandoned at the Quad City Arts Center Gallery -- May 10 through June 21.

Exhibit: Friday, May 10, through Friday, June 21

Reception: Friday, May 17, 7 – 9 p.m.

Quad City Arts Center, 1715 Second Avenue, Rock Island IL

Fascinating new works by a pair of Iowa artists will enjoy an Illinois showcase from May 10 through June 21, as Rock Island's Quad City Arts Center Gallery displays photographs by a Camanche talent in Karen Austin: Abandoned, and paintings by a gifted Cedar Rapids resident in Maureen Healy Mossman: Accidental Stories.

As she travels across the local countryside with her camera, Karen Austin discovers hidden treasures – treasures come in the form of abandoned homes, farms, and other structures that are slowly being taken back by nature. The Camanche photographer consequently captures the mystery and beauty of these hidden places, with some of her most recent works on on display in her exhibit Abandoned. As Austin explains, “The ideas for this collection came about after I had taken some images of an old abandoned house outside of Camanche and photographed it over a period of three years. I was drawn to its rough beauty and mysteriousness. Every year there were many changes to the home. Fortunately, I have a husband who is an outdoorsman and hunts all over the local area. I put him on the lookout for these hidden treasures as he traveled the countryside, keeping the word 'abandoned' in mind. He began to pay attention to these places that he had driven by on many occasions. We began to take road trips on weekends looking for these forgotten places with him as our guide. We would discover new places along the way. Most of these photographs are within a fifty mile radius of our home.”

Maureen Healy Mossman's "Sissy & Doc"

As artist Maureen Healy Mossman explains, “Art is both a way into my life and a way out … almost anything can trigger a painting – a stray line, fear, the downright pleasure of color or an unkind impulse.” Figures populate colorful fantasy lands that combine dreams with reality in her paintings, with some of her newest and most beautiful on display in Accidental Stories. Mossman states, “Compelled and constrained by my own limitations, a piece often begins as one thing and winds up something else entirely. I’m reluctant to examine or impose meaning on my work. Because of a serious backwards streak, I’m acutely uncomfortable promoting it. The act of painting itself is private, visceral and blind. I trust in a seemingly haphazard intuition – and luck – to occasionally produce something true.”

An artist reception for Karen Austin: Abandoned and Maureen Healy Mossman: Accidental Stories will take place at the Quad City Arts Center Gallery from 5 to 7 p.m. on May 17, and the exhibit will be on display from May 10 through June 21, with regular gallery hours Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, and more information is available by calling (309)793-1213 or visiting QuadCityArts.com.

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