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Looking at Painting
Looking at Painting
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Ann Tower

Ann Tower Artist’s Statement

The impetus for painting for me is to translate what is seen and felt into an image. I see painting as a means to understanding and interpreting the world. It presents a way to interject a kind of clarity and order upon the chaos of contemporary life. Painting is the reason to stand still and to look for many hours, to contemplate, and to work with a sense of urgency and intensity as the light fluctuates and changes.

My paintings are based on direct observations of the view at hand, which are often simply the view out my window, and sometimes a site that I visit. I feel a strong connection to my subjects, which are in many ways autobiographical. These are places that have meaning for me—particular locations, gardens, and views from my windows.

I love painting and its history and feel I am a part of that continuum. I approach painting in a way that acknowledges the formal and abstract issues that concerned painting throughout the 20th century. When a choice must be made about the placement of form, the use of color, or the physical and sensual qualities of paint, the needs of the painting take precedence over accurate depiction. The guiding force, however, is essentially that which is observed. I hope to evoke some truths about these places and to offer the viewer a new way of seeing.

Ann Tower, 2001


Ann Tower has been a professional artist in Lexington since earning a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Kentucky in 1975. She was also co-founder and co-owner of the Tower Cerlan Gallery in downtown Lexington. Before she opened the gallery, Ann’s résumé included teaching part-time at the UK Art Department, directing the UK Center of Contemporary Art, and serving as art critic for the Lexington Herald-Leader from 1983 to 1992. She also co-founded and directed the Hackley Gallery in Winchester, KY in 1995. There she developed expertise about folk art by working for three years with renowned folk art dealer Larry Hackley. Ann is planning to open a new gallery, the Ann Tower Gallery on Main Street in Lexington, in February 2002.

She married artist Robert Tharsing, a professor in the UK Art Department, in 1974. Their daughter, Lina, was born in 1983. Two extended sojourns in Italy, France, and England during Tharsing’s sabbaticals from the university, along with annual visits to museums in major art centers in the United States from New York to Los Angeles, allowed Ann to greatly increase her appreciation and firsthand knowledge of art. Writing about art every week for the newspaper helped her develop a critical eye for quality. And all her previous professional experience with art has contributed to her success in becoming an art dealer.

While Ann has a love and understanding of abstract painting and sculpture, her own work focuses on representational painting. Her paintings are an interpretation of that which is observed. For the past 25 years, she and her family have spent summers painting on a remote island in Nova Scotia, where they built a cottage in 1992. When in Lexington, she usually works at a studio in her home, where she paints still lifes and views out her window—often combining both—or paints outside in the countryside.

Ann’s work has been exhibited widely in museums and galleries throughout the region and in New York, California, and New England, as well as in Italy, Canada, and Ecuador. Her paintings are in numerous private and public collections, including, in Lexington, the University of Kentucky Art Museum, Central Bank, and Nancy Barron and Associates.

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In Our Gallery ...

(Painting details shown below.
Click on the thumbnail or the
title to see the full work.)

Fallen Tree, New Growth
Fallen Tree, New Growth

Tulips in March
Tulips in March

Rous Island Lilies
Rous Island Lilies

November Light
November Light

Mendes Farm
Mendes Farm

600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502 (859) 258-7000 (800) 432-0951