Modern Woman

Virtual Exhibition

Modern Woman

The Artwork of Holli Jacobson, Jenny Lau, and Karen Searle.

Virtual exhibition on view June 25, 2021


Statements and biographies written below are by the individual artists and are published with their permission. The views expressed are their own. Thank you.


About the Exhibit - Message for Curator Rose Dolan-Neill
Women have been creating art for as long as men.  Throughout the ages, you can find examples of work created by women as a secret, a hidden talent, a rare intellect, a stifled voice, a gift. What could be more natural than the want to express ourselves? Unfortunately, in the past, the possessions required to achieve that outcome have been beyond many women’s reach: education, tools, and time. In practiced hands, the ability to express oneself through chosen materials with an outcome that is desirable by the artist is an enormous satisfaction. And acknowledgment of those talents through exhibition is a joy that few women in art history up until the last half of the last century had the experience of enjoying.  Seeking to give voice to female creatives by specifically reaching out to female artists to seek to understand their perspective is important; they have created the work, and their voice will be heard.

The three women featured in this exhibit have a range of experience, mediums, and artistic expression. Jenny Lau speaks to her memories through depicting the objects in her childhood that have given her warmth and comfort. Super illustrative, with the colors of childhood dripping with fun, these works give the sense of a happy home, and playful childhood. Holli Jacobson’s work is a swirling and slightly unsettling world full of beauty and chaos. Saturated colors blend into each other and are roughly separated by jagged lines that march up and down the canvas giving a sense of a landscape here, another world there, one can peer into their depths and discover new realities.  Karen Searle has taken the form of the female body and explored its shape, size, contents, and matter. What is this body? What if it were made from other materials? What makes this object feminine? Carefully crocheted copper wire is juxtaposed with birch bark in shapes that seem to define a woman but also redefining what materials are male and what materials are female.
Holli Jacobson
Holli Jacobson

During the last several years of tumult in politics, health, and society, many have been left indifferent or unable to focus attention on the growing changes in our environment. I often take for granted the clean water and air that surround me, but many on Earth are not so lucky. The delicate balance between Earth’s beauty and its destruction became the catalyst for my most recent series of work, inspired by images of changing landscapes around the world. Found images are translated into colorful, abstracted landscapes created with dramatic motions. My hope is for viewers to connect the paintings to a place and be drawn into the colors and movement, finding a deeper connection to the message as time passes and knowledge is gained.     

Holli Jacobson is a visual artist living in Eau Claire, WI. Her abstract paintings, drawings, and installation art reference the beauty of the natural world in a state of chaos due to human practices creating climate change. Colors are vibrant and acidic with dynamic motion and flow.  Inspired by photography and travel, her art connects viewers to something familiar in a state of turmoil.   

Holli’s art studio is located at Banbury Place, a former tire factory converted into studios.  She paints commission artwork and teaches art classes to individuals and small groups.  

Jenny Lau
Jenny Lau

As an Optometrist, my working life is very structured and by-the-books. I always had a creative side that was just needing to burst out. It almost felt like an alter-ego of mine. For some time now, I have worked on “thejennspirit” and I have finally realized that this "alter-ego" was never an illusion, but truly a part of who I am. “thejennspirit” represents the essence of my mental, physical, and spiritual life. Each new series or collection of my art is a chapter of my life in story form. New chapters will always arise, but the pages of the book will always be everlasting. Welcome to my story.  

Jenny Lau was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She was introduced to art at the age of eight and had practiced a variety of techniques till first year of undergrad. As she went through schooling and pursued other ambitions, Optometry was where she wanted to see herself. She was accepted into the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago and spent the last five years studying in the United States. In the midst of studying for this career, art had been on the wayside until she found her passion again. This time, straying away from her basic traditional teachings of art, into a world of creativity and much more inspiration. “thejennspirit” encompasses all the stories that she carries from the eight-year-old child to the present day young professional. Life has given her so much perspective in her struggles and victories and is truly the motivation for all of her art pieces.   


Karen Searle
Karen Searle

I explore light, form, and volume, creating objects that combine delicacy and strength, imagery and shadow. The ritual of a repetitive textile-making process is meditative and honors my connections to female ancestors and the feminine spirit.  I think of my sculptures, vessels and lace works as line drawings in space that interact with their intricate shadows. Much of my recent work deals with themes of aging and memory. 

Karen Searle creates sculptures in fiber and mixed media. Her artwork has been exhibited widely in the US and abroad. Even before receiving her MFA from MCAD in 1999, she enjoyed a successful career as an artist, teacher, publisher, and arts journalist. Karen has lectured and presented workshops internationally, curated exhibitions, and juried international design competitions. She has mentored emerging artists through WARM’s (Women’s Art Resources of Minnesota) Mentor Program and has led textile tours in Guatemala and Korea. Her book, Knitting Art was published by Voyageur Press in 2008. 


Interested in Purchasing a work of art?
Interested in a work of art exhibited in one of our virtual galleries or exhibits? It may be available for purchase. To purchase a work of art, contact Rose, our Visual and Literary Arts Manager.

All artwork pricing is set by the artist and is non-negotiable and non-refundable. All artwork sales are by commission with Pablo Center at the Confluence. Your purchase supports our endeavors to present quality visual arts programming that is free and open to the public.

Contact Rose