Artist Cyndee Kaiser’s exhibit “Smoke and Shadows” on display at Infinitea Teahouse

Kevin Gisi

The low-key atmosphere of Infinitea Teahouse, 112 E Grand Ave., now owes a little of its character to the works of local artist Cyndee Kaiser. Her exhibition, “Smoke and Shadows,” takes a glimpse into a darker world than the usually sunny teahouse is prone to.

Kaiser’s work is hung along the left side of the store and its blacks, whites, and spatters of red stand out among the more earthen colors surrounding it. The exhibit is made up of six different paintings, all of which have a sort of silent detective film feeling. Depicting anxious-looking men and women, the paintings definitely have a mysterious air to them.

Kaiser said she was looking to make a series with plenty of shadows and a lot of contrast. These goals were well-accomplished and even more striking are the few colors she used in each piece.

“Not Everything is Black/White” probably has the most color of all the pieces in the series. It depicts a young woman dressed in the fashion of the 1940s standing under a street light, perhaps waiting. The otherwise black and white paint is interrupted by some blues, reds and a lot of green.

What’s most interesting about the series is her use of canvas along with less traditional materials. Kaiser said she was really just using materials that she already had. The effect is interesting, though.

“Living in Fear in America,” which is painted behind a window frame, is very dramatic and the subjects of the painting appear as if they are looking out the window at the viewer. A bright spattering of red and a black shadow in the background solidify a feeling of fear and danger.

“I wanted to do something with mystery and gangsters,” Kaiser said. “Something fun, but political.”

Kaiser went on to say she thought of this country as a frightening nation.

“There are a lot of guns here,” she said. “We are all very fearful.”

“Dangerous Curves,” the last of the paintings on the wall, depicts a woman holding a gun. The colors in this piece seem sadder than the rest, more of a dreary blue. Kaiser said this piece, as well as “Living in Fear in America” were painted to depict her message of fear.

Though Kaiser had less than a month to complete these paintings, she said she is satisfied with the way they turned out.

Kaiser has been a working and teaching artist in the area for quite a while now, graduating from UW-Eau Claire’s art program. Kaiser’s history of painting is pretty renowned in the area, as some of her most recognizable work has been displayed on the side of 2 S. Barstow, near Phoenix Park.

Kaiser is now working on her new project, painting the outside of Wax Paper Etc., 602 Water St.