Caroline Kahler, professor of art at Southeast Missouri State University, is hosting her exhibit “Fanning My Art” through March 2 at the Cape Girardeau Public Library.
“Fanning My Art” is an exhibition of art fans Kahler has constructed based on a collection of paper fans.
“I have always wanted to make pieces inspired by the mechanics of the tri-fold fans,” Kahler said. “The subjects I have collected are mostly women, children and advertising. Fans have no cultural boundaries and examples are even evident in early Egyptian stone carvings.”
She has collected fans for more than 30 years. Her oldest tri-fold paper fans are from Colson Printing Company, which operated from 1892-1992 before air conditioning was in churches, funeral homes and businesses.
“These fans offered the immediate function of relief from the heat, but also served as showcases for businesses and organizations,” said Kahler.
The collectible fans displayed in a glass case to the left of the gallery are based on these themes: Fan Images Depicting Women, Fans Depicting Children and Babies, Fans that Depict Advertising and Fans that Depict Patriotic Themes.
The opportunity to explore the mechanism of the fan’s construction while finding a vehicle for personal expression allowed Kahler to deviate from the original purpose to provide relief from the heat.
“The ideas of memory combined with discovery and material exploration have allowed me to create a two-dimensional object while creating a three-dimension art form,” Kahler said.
The process, she says, has challenged her to find new materials and techniques to express her ideas.
For more information about the exhibit, please contact Caroline Kahler at firstname.lastname@example.org.