Maude Kerns was a woman — born in Portland in 1876, studied at the University of Oregon as well as the San Francisco Art Institute and Columbia University, world traveler, instructor at the UO and artist whose first of many exhibitions was in 1925 — who was ahead of her time.
Kerns also helped found Eugene’s foremost community arts center in the late 1950s, and in 1961 presented the deed to the Eugene Art Center, which would rename the facility the Maude Kerns Art Center.
The center now is celebrating this amazing life well-lived with a month-long exhibit of her work, In the Realm of the Spirit: Work by Maude I Kerns, Jan. 12 through Feb. 9 at Maude Kerns Art Center.
The exhibit covers Kerns’ non-objective work in more than 75 pieces from the center’s collection as well as work owned by private collectors and archived artwork on loan from the Lane County History Museum. Non-objective painting is a type of abstract art. A highlight of the show includes correspondence between Kerns and Rolph Scarlett, a well known non-objective painter from New York. Kerns and Scarlett exhibited at the Museum of Non-Objective Painting in New York City, the forerunner of the Guggenheim Museum.
An opening reception is 5 pm to 7 pm Jan. 12 at the center. In the Realm of the Spirit: Work by Maude I. Kerns is Jan. 12 through Feb. 9 at the Maude Kerns Art Center, 1910 E. 15th Avenue. Admission is free.