ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Yard birds of epic proportions might seem an odd subject for serious artists but in the hands of painter and Central Washington University professor emerita Cynthia Krieble, they simply become “poultry” in motion.
The magnificent six-foot by ten-and-a-half foot “Chickens on Parade” and eighteen more of Krieble’s Menagerie (1978-1986) paintings will be on exhibit 5 to 7 p.m. May 6 at the CWU President’s Reception Center at 211 E. 10th Avenue for the First Friday Artwalk. In addition to Krieble’s portraits of Gallus domesticus, Menagerie also features her unique visions of other familiar creatures.
Krieble joined the CWU art faculty in 1973, at a pivotal time in her artistic development. She began painting intensive studies of sunflowers and other subjects on a magnified scale, as “a reaction to the, at first, overwhelming spaciousness and starkness of the central Washington landscape.” She made the switch from flora to fauna when she desired to work with more animated subject matter.
Although critics have labeled her paintings as neo-realistic, she states that her work “in many ways has more in common with non-objective art than with realism.”
“In this series, chickens and other members of my menagerie served as a jumping off point for exploring the creative process of painting,” she said. “My goal was to make bold images of form, color, light and space, and at the same time to capture the essence of these animated creatures with all their narrative suggestiveness.”
Krieble taught at Central for 28 years and received a Distinguished Professor for Artistic Achievement award in 1987. A native of the northeastern United States, she completed an art history degree at Middlebury College in Vermont. She then traveled west and received a bachelor’s of fine arts from the San Francisco Art Institute and a master’s of fine arts from Stanford University. Her work has been featured in countless solo and group exhibitions, and is displayed in numerous public and private collections. Locally, a few of her commissioned paintings can be seen at Kittitas Secondary School, and at CWU’s Milo Smith Tower Theatre and the James E. Brooks Library. Krieble is represented by the Linda Hodges Gallery in Seattle.