A thing and a process

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If you've spent any time alone in the woods, just sitting still, you'll understand Karina Noel Hean's work.

She captures that moment in nature that can come only when you've been quiet for a while and are aware of your surroundings -- when what you see melts away, and something unnameable takes its place.

¤ Opening reception for "Natural Reflections, " including drawings and prints by Karina Noel Hean

¤ 5 to 7 p.m. today

¤ Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St.

¤ 879-9008

The word "spiritual" doesn't quiet capture it, but that's the word she uses. The quality translates as softness in the form as if you are viewing the plants and brush that she portrays through a veil.

Hean writes in her artist's statement, "(Nature) is the forest, the way a tree branches, and the wind that can push a tree down. Nature is both a thing and a process."

To obtain her expressions of nature, Hean mixes natural materials with traditional media -- combining mud, ashes, wax or pieces of decaying tree with store-bought charcoal. Partly as a result of her materials and partly as a result of her aesthetic, Hean's palette is limited to tones of black, brown, red and yellow.

She leaves her work unframed to show off the thick, toothed paper they are made on, a choice that reflects her alter-interest as a printmaker.

Hean likes to work on pieces of paper that are larger than herself to accommodate her aggressive gestural drawing style that uses her whole body.

"I want people to be engulfed by the work -- by the emotion or color of it," Hean said.

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