"Underestimated" by Joy Kirchgessner

This painting by Joy Kirchgessner, a Corydon artist and longtime member of Harrison County Arts, titled “Underestimated,” is among the works displayed in the new Harrison County Arts exhibit No Place Like Home.

The new show at Harrison County Arts takes its title from the magical mantra recited by Dorothy in

"The Wizard of Oz." Visitors to the opening reception on Friday, May 19, were greeted by a few

props that referred to that iconic musical — a pair of ruby red slippers and a makeshift yellow brick

road. Close to 20 artist members of Harrison County Arts were also on hand to welcome visitors,

answer questions about their artworks and discuss the way the concept of “home” seems to resonate

differently with everyone.

Because Harrison County is a forested and rural area, it is not surprising that many of the artists featured some aspect of the natural world to express their sense of “home.”

Joy Kirchgessner’s painting, “Underestimated,” depicts a tiny wren sitting atop a massive turquoise egg, much too big for her to have laid. Nearby is her mate, offering up a blade of grass to help the situation.

“The inspiration for this painting was a pair of finches that build a nest every year on the wreath that hangs on my door," Kirchgessner said. "This spring, I found 7 babies which, surprisingly, all managed to survive.”

The style of the painting is “magical realism” which uses the fantastic and illogical giant egg to convey the very real situation of raising a large family.

The nest is also used as a metaphor for home in Brian Jones’s large drawing, “Nest III.” Bleach, colored pencil and black arches paper were used to create a nest that is beginning to disintegrate.

“This drawing grew out of a childhood memory when my father was ill — he died when I was 12 — and

expresses what 'home' felt like then,” Jones said. “Art, though, has always had the power for me to transform those moments when I was struggling into something manageable.”

Rita Koerber’s quilt, “Country Rising III – Swinging” depicts a guinea swinging on an old-fashioned tree swing.

“This quilt expresses the feelings of joy that living on our farm brought out in me. It is sheer whimsy”, Koerber said.

Wende Cudmore’s “Gathering” is an eco-print, a technique where plants, leaves and flowers leave their shapes, colors and marks on fabric or paper.

“The leaves, acorns and plants printed on this work were gathered from my yard,” Cudmore said.

Many of the works exhibited in this show are functional pieces that belong in a home: pottery, lamps, tables, quilts, woodwork. A vase by Ron Gurgol extends the nature theme. It was made using pine cones, roots and magnolia seed pods that he found around his home and worked into a multi-colored epoxy


“The work here tonight is all new work,” said President of the Board of HCA, Brian Jones. “Our artists

have really stepped up to the challenge of filling the gallery with exciting new pieces that project their

passion, energy, and eloquence.”

No Place Like Home runs through July 8. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.