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Chickens come home to roost at Abode Gallery’s new “ANIMAL” art show

Local artist Collette Sakschek’s work, which often features chickens, will be on display at Abode Gallery in Stockholm as part of the “Animal” artist show. (Photo courtesy of Abode Art Gallery & Design Studio)1 / 2
Minnesota painter Jeff Boutin is known for his bold array of color and texture in his cow paintings. This one is titled “Got Milk?” (Photo courtesy of Abode Art Gallery & Design Studio)2 / 2

STOCKHOLM -- ”Everybody loves chickens,” said Stockholm animal photographer Barbara O’Brien, stopping by Abode Gallery last week to discuss the photos she’ll display in the upcoming “Animal” art exhibit. “Maybe I’ll bring in a hen for the show. She can just wander around looking pretty.”

O’Brien, whose animal photos are sought by clients worldwide, will show some of her favorites in a group exhibit that will also include work by painters Jeff Boutin and Collette Sakschek, assemblage artist Lucy Elliott and sculptor Gib Krohn. The show, at Abode Gallery in Stockholm, will run from July 5 through Aug. 15, with an opening reception 4:30 TO 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 8.

“Animal” is part of a series of six themed artist shows at Abode Gallery running throughout the summer and fall. All exhibits feature the work of local and regional artists.

“Animals have always inspired artists to create images, back to the earliest cave paintings,” said Abode Gallery owner and exhibit curator Alan Nugent. “That instinctual attraction to fauna is alive and well in our modern world. Whether it’s the elegant form of a bird, the friendly face of a cow, or an imaginary creature of old, art is still inspired by the animal kingdom.”

In the rural Midwest, animal art is often inspired by chickens and cows. Local artist Collette Sakschek paints chickens in a style that reflects influences as diverse as Warhol and van Gogh. Renowned Minnesota painter Jeff Boutin uses a bold array of color and texture in his paintings of cows, which frequently adorn the walls of Abode Gallery -- but not for long. Customers buy them before the paint is dry.

Stockholm artists Gib Krohn and Lucy Elliott both depict birds in their work. Elliott assembles unique “shrines” from found objects, antique jewelry parts, common hardware and assorted religious items, paying homage to her Catholic upbringing. Krohn, whose work is inspired by the strong sculptural forms of Inuit soapstone carvings, is fond of birds as models for his popular clay whistles, as well as cats and fish.

O’Brien may well have the widest range of subjects: she lives on a farm with three dogs, 18 cats, 10 rescue Morgan horses, two ponies, seven sheep, 30-some chickens, five ducks, and three “very naughty goats,” all of which she has photographed for her art as well as her corporate clients. One client needed a polar bear for an advertisement; O’Brien photographed it.

The Abode Gallery art openings are a part of the “Stockholm Arts Stroll” series in this tiny Wisconsin village, nationally known for its lively arts scene. Artists will be present to meet visitors to the gallery.

Wine, beer, and locally-made snacks will be served at the free opening receptions. The gallery is next door to the wildly popular Stockholm Pie Company, which will be open late for the art openings.

Dates for the upcoming shows are:

July 8 - Aug. 15: “Animal”

Aug. 19 - Sept. 26: “Word”

Sept. 30 - Nov. 7: “Earth”

Submitted by Abode Gallery & Design Studio