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  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Sharon Keller is an abstract artist

  • They say that one picture is worth a thousand words. For Pittsburg artist Sharon Keller, pictures may sometimes get in the way.

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  • They say that one picture is worth a thousand words. For Pittsburg artist Sharon Keller, pictures may sometimes get in the way.
    That’s why her work is abstract rather than representational.
    “When I was introduced to color and the emotion that could be expressed when the representational image was eliminated, that was it,” she said. “It’s like the reality of the subconscious rather than the conscious.”
    Interest in art came early for Keller, who was born in California and spent her early childhood traveling the East Coast with her family, since her father was in construction. She spent her adolescence in Oklahoma, and has been in Pittsburg since 1994.
    “I painted as a child, but I went to a school that did not have art,” Keller said. “I did learn to sew. That was about the only class that had hands-on creativity.”
    She had planned to study music at college.
    “I had learned to play piano,” Keller said. “My mother had trained as a classical pianist, and she taught me.”
    She was advised instead to take business courses, which didn’t work out that well.
    “When I went back to college again I thought I was good at drawing portraits and thought I’d do something I was good at,” Keller said.
    That’s when she discovered abstract art.
    “There comes a time when I had to get in or get out, and I decided to make that choice,” she said.
    Keller said that some of her paintings have stories and some do not. Some are in series, such as several inspired by a book she read about the Dust Bowl, the drought that devastated the Midwest in the 1930s, but other paintings are standalones.
    “My paintings are more questions than answers,” she said.
    She works in a studio/gallery that was formerly known as the Little Room in downtown Pittsburg. It had been rented as a collaborative effort by a group of local artists and had occasional themed exhibits.
    “I had been a part of the Little Room, and when it broke up, I decided to keep the space,” Keller said.
    She has shown her work during Pittsburg Art Walks, but at the fall event, the gallery primarily featured work by the late A.R. Ebel, grandfather of her husband, David Keller. That was because many of her paintings were on display at Club 609 in Joplin.
    “The show went up at Club 609 on Sept. 25, and I’d sold one piece,” Keller said. “On Oct. 24, around 8:30 or 9 p.m., I got a call from Jody Jennings, a producer designer for Extreme Makeovers. She said, ‘I’m in Club 609 and I absolutely love your work and I’d like to use it in the house I’m designing.’ I met her the next morning and she showed me on her phone the paintings she liked.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Keller contacted Ted Monsour, who had hung the paintings at the club, and had him take down the paintings Jennings had specified.
    “We took them to the house, which was the Bohemian House, and Jody Jennings wanted me to decide what paintings and where to place them,” she said. “The three of us decided. I sold some and donated some.”
    Keller did not see the paintings placed before the Joplin edition of “Extreme Makeover” was broadcast on Friday.
    “It was all pretty exciting,” she said.

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