‘Romantic’ artist helps enliven yoga experience Artist says show draws on ebbs and flows of ‘journey we all take.’

Fort Wayne artist Kristy Jahn doesn’t like sticking to established conventions or labels.

When Jahn, a married mother of two, first showed her paintings to other people about 10 years ago, many compared her style to “abstract expressionism,” the art movement of the ’40s and ’50s associated with artists such as Jackson Pollack and Mark Rothko. Yet, according to Jahn, this comparison never sat right with her. It didn’t speak to the spiritual aspect of her work, she said.

“I do understand that’s what (this style of painting is) actually called, but I felt like there was something more to it,” Jahn said. “I guess, if I could put it into words … (my paintings are) like pieces or fragments of God’s activity. It’s showcasing the romantic love story between him and all humankind.”

To describe her paintings, Jahn said she prefers the term “abstract romanticism,” even though, she admits, her work shares little in common with the Romanticism art movement of the 18th century.

Jahn’s style will be shown during her new gallery opening, “RAW,” 6-9 p.m. today at The Gallery at Pranayoga, 1301 Lafayette St.

Paintings from RAW will remain on display for patrons of the Pranayoga Institute of Yoga and Holistic for two months. Gallery hours will also be offered 1-5 p.m. every Friday, according to Chelsea Rittenhouse, art director and boutique manager for Pranayoga.

As with her art, Jahn does not take a mainstream view on religion, either. Although she said she is technically a Christian, she doesn’t put much stock in organized religion.

“I don’t go to church because I don’t believe in the religious system we have put on the church,” Jahn said, “I’m more about grace, and there’s grace in all people.”

After studying fine art at IPFW for a few semesters in the late ’90s, Jahn worked as a makeup artist for more than 10 years. She has done several shows before RAW, although, she said, this one feels different.

Subtitled “Unashamed. Untamed. Visions of Freedom,” the show is Jahn’s way of putting herself out there and baring it all, she said. For example, RAW is made up of all entirely new paintings by Jahn, some of which did not turn out like she had expected.

“This show has to do with the ebbs and flows of life, the ups and downs, and the journey that we all take,” Jahn said. “Some of those things are really hard, and so, I guess, if I couldn’t have put my pieces out there that I thought were crap, then the whole point of the show wouldn’t matter.”

Painting has often been used by Jahn as a form of healing. After her first child was stillborn 17 years ago, she started exploring abstract art more, a form of art that she previously didn’t like, she said. Around this time, she created a pen and ink drawing of a baby in the arms of an angel in front of a painted abstract background. Jahn eventually made copies of her drawing and gave it to people who have also lost a child or experienced a similar situation, she said.

“I always get real positive feedback, saying that it really has really blessed their house, that it is something they have that they can always treasure,” Jahn said.

To this day, Jahn wants her artwork to connect with people on an emotional level, she said, whether it makes them happy or sad. And whatever her work brings out in them, she attributes mostly to God.

“Hopefully everybody who comes in contact with my work feels whatever it is that they feel,” Jahn said. “I feel like maybe there is more to it than maybe that we can humanly even put into words. I don’t claim to understand what happens with stuff like that, in the spirit realm.” <br>

<center> ‘RAW’ Gallery Opening </center><br>

WHAT: Gallery opening for local artist Kristy Jahn, titled RAW.

WHERE: The Gallery at Pranayoga, 1301 Lafayette St.

WHEN: 6-9 p.m. today

COST: $5 at the door. Cash bar featuring beer and wine from Calhoun Street Soups, Salads and Spirits <br>

Paintings from RAW will will remain on display for patrons of the Pranayoga Institute of Yoga and Holistic for the next two months. Gallery hours will also be made offered 1-5 p.m. every Friday.

The Gallery at Pranayoga will also host an Art and Yoga event 6:30 – 8 p.m. March 19 featuring Jahn’s artwork, a creative yoga class and the music of DJ Hyfi, according to Chelsea Rittenhouse, art director and boutique manager for Pranayoga.