Arts Galleries

Shawn Krueger’s Southern Migrations at Grovewood Gallery

From top, Elk Mountain Road, May; Late Afternoon Maggie Valley

By Savannah Koval

The Grovewood Gallery will debut Shawn Krueger’s solo exhibition Southern Migrations: Five Years in Asheville from Saturday, July 15, through Sunday, August 20. There will be a free opening reception on Saturday, July 15, from 2–5 p.m. that gives the public an opportunity to meet the artist.

Based in Michigan, Krueger favors the American Arts and Crafts and Tonalism movements. He has been making trips to Asheville for about five years, delivering art to galleries or visiting just to paint. “No matter the time of year,” he says, “I enjoy Plant on Merrimon and the warm embrace from a pint of ABC’s Fire Escape.”

Krueger began to realize the Asheville area would become a major part of his work when pieces of the landscape began to show up in his paintings of the Midwest. “Suddenly I was looking for mountain scenery in Michigan, which isn’t a terribly practical thing to do,” he says. “So pretty quickly I knew I had to keep coming down here to work.”

He finds most of his inspiration in the Forks of Ivy area. His style gives a nod to the Barbizon, the Hudson River School and Dutch Masters. “The Barbizon School was a mid-19th century group of French painters whose approach to landscape had a tremendous impact on those who followed them,” said Krueger. “While their work marked a shift to a less grandiose and academic style, for me, it is how these artists affected the American Tonalists.”

Tonalism refers to an American progressive art form established in the 1880s and dominated by soft, natural tones and dark, neutral hues such as gray, brown or blue, creating the effect of a colored atmosphere or mist. Embracing this style, Krueger likes to provoke a “mood and feeling” that he may have when he is present at the landscape he is using as a subject.

“I feel successful when the viewer can stand in front of a painting and smell smoke in the air, or feel the coolness of that air on the skin, or perhaps even get a sense of disquiet I feel from hearing animal slaughter coming from an adjacent property,” says Krueger. “I fully realize there are people who never see the eeriness that I may see in a given landscape, but my job is to make you feel something.”

Krueger has become a fixture in the Asheville art scene, being drawn into the multitude of landscapes available here. His art can be found at the National Arts and Crafts Conference every February at the Omni Grove Park Inn. He is also a member of the Roycroft Artisan Guild.

The Govewood Gallery is located at 111 Grovewood Road, adjacent to and below the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free parking is available onsite. To learn more visit grovewood.com or call 828.253.7651.

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