‘Aqueous’ brings watery images to Gallery Visio

by | Feb 19, 2015

The exhibit features work by UMSL alumna Caitlin Funston and will be on display at Gallery Visio until March 11.
UMSL alumna Caitlin Funston's show Aqeous will be at Gallery Visio until March 11. (Photo by August Jennewein.)

UMSL alumna Caitlin Funston’s show “Aqueous” will be on display at Gallery Visio until March 11. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Visitors to Gallery Visio’s latest show might think they’ve stepped inside an aquarium instead of the Millennium Student Center.

Viewers of “Aqueous” by Caitlin Funston get the impression they’re viewing colorful octopuses through large windows in the watery playground created by the alumna of the University of Missouri–St. Louis. For Funston’s first solo show, her paintings are a departure from her previous abstract works. The show is on display through March 11.

Funston, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art and art history in 2014, crafted the show based on her fascination with the sea and the enigmatic eight-limbed creatures inhabiting her canvases.

“There’s something mysterious about the ocean, but there’s a fun juxtaposition with these pieces, instead of being scary and dark,” Funston said. “My vision was to make an atmosphere that’s like a habitat for sea creatures.”

Most paintings feature octopus arms without seeing the full creature, something that reflects the way that the animals are often seen in nature.

“Seeing a whole octopus in the wild is really rare,” Funston said. “You see a limb or arm or maybe an eye. They’re really good at camouflaging themselves.”

Funston developed her artistic abilities while she was growing up in Kansas. She got started drawing and painting with an uncle. Then, her friends came to school with trendy Lisa Frank Trapper Keepers, known for their bright designs with unicorns and rainbows. To Funston’s disappointment, her parents bought her plain office binders, which she decorated herself.

“I wanted to make my things pretty,” Funston said. “It was me trying to be cool with the other kids.”

Funston brings the same bright, whimsical imagery to her current work. Gallery Visio Director Stu Shadwell said viewers can look at Funston’s work for hours, taken in by the vibrant colors and patterns.

“You could sit and meditate to them,” Shadwell said. “They’re very visually dense. There’s a lot to them.”

For more of Funston’s work visit www.caitlinfunston.com.

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Rachel Webb

Rachel Webb