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updated: 7/12/2012 10:32 AM

Waukegan artist's ever-evolving works on display

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  • This Maggie Schwarz Kraus painting, "Sailor," depicts the artist's son. Kraus' show is presented by the Lake County Art League and runs through Aug. 9, with a reception from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, July 19.

      This Maggie Schwarz Kraus painting, "Sailor," depicts the artist's son. Kraus' show is presented by the Lake County Art League and runs through Aug. 9, with a reception from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, July 19.
    Courtesy of Lake County Art League

  • "Morning Paper" is one of the works of Waukegan artist Maggie Schwarz Kraus on display at the Jack Benny Center in Bowen Park, Waukegan. Told at one time that nudes could not be exhibited for a particular art venue, Kraus challenged the rule with this self-portrait.

      "Morning Paper" is one of the works of Waukegan artist Maggie Schwarz Kraus on display at the Jack Benny Center in Bowen Park, Waukegan. Told at one time that nudes could not be exhibited for a particular art venue, Kraus challenged the rule with this self-portrait.
    Courtesy of Lake County Art League

 
Lake County Art League submission

The art of Waukegan artist Maggie Schwarz Kraus will be on display through Aug. 9 at the Jack Benny Center in Waukegan. The show is sponsored by the Lake County Art League.

Touring Kraus' home studio in Waukegan, extraordinary and eccentric works of art can be seen around (and on) every corner, and are created out of an ever-changing variety of materials.

"I can't just leave something plain," Kraus said. "I have to embellish it."

While her paintings have become local legend in the Lake County arts scene (and overseas: she also has a painting that hangs in a city hall in France), Kraus has expanded her artistic scope to every item imaginable.

Pillows and rugs display detailed needlepoint. Self-illustrated books are on the shelves. Sculptures rest on every open surface. Paintings done in every style and size hang on the walls, along with the artwork of her friends and family. Home furniture and storage spaces are altered to a warm aesthetic. Everything is one of a kind, much like the lady herself.

The artist's works have been a constant evolution of style, interest, and subject matter.

"You keep changing," Kraus said, noting that her pieces have gone through "umpteen" transformations. "Maggie Schwarz Kraus … from the start" is about that evolution.

Kraus' art started in grade school with sketching and drawing after an inspiring art project of paper stained-glass windows. In high school, Kraus picked up any available art class, and that soon included advanced work.

Studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1946-48, she majored in sculpture, but took on all art forms without fear.

"I can do anything I want," Kraus said. "I've got control of the brush."

Her work since has been bold, emotion-packed, and always comes with a wink, the sole consistent style of the artist.

"Maggie Schwarz Kraus … from the start, " featuring the art of Maggie Schwarz Kraus, will be on display from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays at the Jack Benny Center, 39 Jack Benny Drive Waukegan.

The show is sponsored by the Lake County Art League. An artist's reception will be from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, July 19.

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