Valdosta Daily Times

February 16, 2014

Exhibit reveals Ruth Kahler’s colorful life

Dean Poling
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — There’s a funny story behind artist Ruth Kahler’s painting of two lobsters on exhibit in her retrospective show coming to a close this week at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts.

Arts Center Curator Bill Shenton shares the story. “She bought one lobster because they were on sale. She decided to paint it so she put it in the pot and painted, then pulled it out and placed it beside the pot and painted, then she ate it for dinner. The title became ‘Two for the Price of One.’”

The story illustrates the methods of an artist at work but her show defines a lifetime in the arts.

Kahler began as a fashion illustrator in the 1930s. Two of Kahler’s fashion illustrations, circa the 1950s, demonstrate the resilience of classic illustrative pen-and-ink work, the supple dark lines, the wash of greys, the contrast of ink against the paper white. The timeless brushwork revealing the latest mid-20th century fashions.

Her floral still-lifes and landscapes delve into the duality of depth and the ephemeral. Colors that both saturate canvas and the soul of the bloom. They become archetypes of a floral still-life – everything the specific flower should be while capturing all that such blooms are. Shenton is using a detail from one of Kahler’s floral canvases to illustrate this year’s Spring Into Art poster which will be seen in posters around town and an upcoming ad in the Valdosta Scene magazine. Born in Maine, she studied at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia and received her bachelor and master degrees from Florida State University. She studied art further through the years. She taught art at Valdosta State from 1970-86.

Professionally, she has worked as a fashion illustrator, a painter, a weaver and as an art teacher. She conducted workshops and museum tours through the U.S. and Europe. Her works have been exhibited in several Southeast galleries and have been displayed in homes and offices throughout Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Texas and California.

In her 90s, Kahler continues her creative work, concentrating on her oil paintings, retaining a creative spirit and a fine sense of humor.

Artist Ruth Kahler’s Retrospective continues through Wednesday at the

Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, 527 N. Patterson St. Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays and

Saturdays; closed Sundays and Mondays. Admission: Free.

More information: (229) 247-2787.