Kathleen L. Oettinger: Charting the Cosmos

Oettinger's new exhibit features her two most recent fiber art series focusing on images from the Hubble Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope. Her mixed collages are created using various layers of fiber, stitching, beads, sequins, and other embellishments. The original stunning telescope images inspired Oettinger to find deeper and more compelling methods of artistic expression.

Star Light, star bright, The first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.

My fascination with the vastness of the cosmos, and our role as humans within it, was present when I was a little girl looking out of my window and softly reciting this nursery rhyme.  The interest has remained constant throughout my 80-year journey here on earth.

In this exhibition, while inspired by the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes, I do not attempt to reproduce their photographs.  Instead, like Alice, I step through a looking glass and into Wonderland.  There I soar and play among the stars and galaxies awhile, until the colors, forms, and empty spaces saturate my imagination. Back in my studio, I use my intuition to manipulate my materials into an abstract expression of what I saw and felt.

As an artist I am very tactile and enjoy working with my hands.  The physical experience of my tools and materials helps me to manifest interior and more subtle aspects of myself.  I enjoy the textures and techniques available when using fiber as the main component in my mixed media collages.  In incorporating personal flotsam and jetsam, literally and metaphorically, into my depictions of the universe, I am choosing to responsibly recycle and upcycle textiles to protect our environment.

My goal as an artist is to invite viewers into a journey of their own.  Through my art I seek to communicate with them in a way that supports a sense of belonging and connection within the mystery we inhabit together. --Kathleen L. Oettinger

Kathleen Oettinger earned a BFA in printmaking from the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, and an MA in studio art from the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC; as well as an MA in Marriage & Family Therapy from Regis University. She has led an accomplished and expansive career as a teacher (at many institutions, including the Kennedy Institute and Polk College), as a therapist and counselor, as magazine editor and columnist, and as an artist. Oettinger's achievements include being selected as the featured artist of the Contemporary Finnish-American Artist Series at Finlandia University, receiving an award for creativity in service to America's children from former First Lady Roselyn Carter, and, as a member of the Women's Caucus for Art, serving as a non-governmental delegate to the Fourth U.N. World Conference on Women in Beijing, China.

On exhibit at Laughlin Library from April 16, 2023 through July 15, 2023

Monday: 10:00AM – 7:00PM
Tuesday: 10:00AM – 7:00PM
Wednesday: 10:00AM – 7:00PM
Thursday: 10:00AM – 7:00PM
Friday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Saturday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Sunday: 1:00PM – 5:00PM