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‘The Object of Memory’ art exhibit opens at Curfman Gallery

Collegian | Reuel Indurkar
Artists Chris Kannen and Lauren Lipinski Eisen’s art on display at the Curfman Gallery in the Lory Student Center Aug. 22. Both artists create work highlighting organic objects observed in their natural environments as a response to their own memories.

Until Sept. 15, “The Object of Memory” art exhibit by Lauren Lipinski Eisen and Chris Kannen will be shown in the Lory Student Center’s Curfman Gallery at Colorado State University.

“The Object of Memory” exhibit is a collection of nature-inspired art meant to invoke memories and nostalgia. The pair spent over two years curating these pieces from their own experiences and shared fascination with the workings of memory. 


“I hope students can have an open mind about painting and about observing things in nature,” Kannen said. “To me, these paintings suggest a feeling of expansiveness. I wanted to loosely suggest the biggest ‘thing’ we can observe with the naked eye using the smallest possible things you can fully represent with just one mark. The range between these two scales, hopefully, provides a feeling of openness to the viewer.”

Kannen was born in Cleveland, and he received his BFA from the University of Dayton before going on to receive his MFA from Hunter College in New York City. Since then, Kannen has been making art all across the world, and he received a National Science Foundation Antarctic Artist and Writer Award in 2007. 

Currently, Kannen works and lives in Denver, where he continues to draw inspiration from local landscapes. His art can be described as realistic, earthy and obscure. They are what he calls his personal experience of nature. 

Kannen’s work in “The Object of Memory” is no different. His large, snow-white landscapes contrast with the eye-catching bits of hyper-realistic nature and make the observer feel like the memories infused into the portrait are ones of their own.

Eisen, on the other hand, is also celebrated for her nature-inspired art — but with a twist. Eisen’s work is a portrayal of a sequence in time combined into a single image. Instead of being a frozen moment like Kannen’s, her work contains an entire cycle.

Eisen received her MFA in painting from Tulane University and her BFA in fine arts from Columbus College of Art and Design. Her work has been displayed in galleries in London, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco and Denver, and she has participated in exhibits at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, The Butler Institute of American Art and more. 

Eisen currently teaches painting at the University of Northern Colorado

“I have been working on this series for the past two years, and I am honored to have the work exhibited in the beautiful Curfman Gallery,” Eisen said. “The staff has been amazing to work with.”

Eisen chooses to focus on memory and place, much like Kannen’s work in the gallery; however, she also alludes to the subjects integrating into human activity, commenting on our consumption of natural resources. The contrasting nature landscapes in this wistful exhibition explore the idea that objects hold memories. The artists invite viewers to explore the intersections of the tangible with the intangible, the past with the present and the present with the future.


“I am honored to show my work at an institution like Colorado State,” Kannen said. “I know the CSU students and faculty care about artwork but also about environmental issues since the university is home to many programs concerned with the local landscape and the planet. This is important to me as well.”

Students who have visited the exhibition were touched by the message and the striking artwork.

“Not to be biased by the title of the collection, but I like how cozy it feels,” CSU student Hannah Parcells said. “I don’t know, all of these pieces from both artists evoke nostalgia. Maybe it’s the life cycle themes, but they’re not even my memories, and I feel at home.” 

For those eager to embark on this extraordinary artistic journey, the exhibit is open now. Admission is free, and all are welcome to immerse themselves in this exploration of memory. On Tuesday, Sept. 12, Eisen and Kannen will be in attendance at the closing reception from 4:30-6 p.m. to share their comments and speeches. 

Reach Sophia Masia at or on Twitter @sophie_masia.

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