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 opened her gallery on Main Street in February 2002. During the 70s and 80s, she taught in the UK Art Department, directed the UK Center of Contemporary Art, and served as art critic for the Lexington Herald-Leader from 1983 to 1992. She co-founded and directed the Hackley Gallery in Winchester, KY from 1995-1998, where she developed expertise about folk art. Ms. Tower married artist Robert Tharsing in 1973. Their daughter, Lina, was born in 1983, and has become a successful artist in her own right. She also has two grown step-children, Annika and Behr, Tharsing’s children from a previous marriage, who are both happily married with families of their own living in California. For more than 30 years, she and her extended family of children and grandchildren have spent summers painting on an island in Nova Scotia. When in Lexington, she works at a studio in her home, or she paints in the countryside.
Artist's Statement Nature and my relationship to it has been my subject since the 1970's when my husband and I started spending summers on a remote island in Nova Scotia and I became enthralled with Nature. My work is based on direct observation and a strong connection to my subjects: still lifes set up in the studio, views out the window, places I visit, and flora and fauna I collect. Translating what is seen and felt into an image continues to fascinate me. I am interested in capturing the distillation of the first striking moment when I see the subject or light or thing I want to paint.
Painting is a means to understanding and interpreting the world. It is the reason to be still, to observe, and to contemplate. Within the calm, there is a parallel sense of urgency and intensity as the light fluctuates and flowers wither. Painting presents a way to interject clarity and order upon the uncertainty and chaos of life, revealing beauty in the ordinary.