The newly renovated Morris Library now features six original paintings by artists Kenzie Raulin and Ruth Lozner. The collection includes paintings that focus on books as the main subject, celebrating the significance of literature. However, the subject matter is not the only striking part of these works, as Lozner and Raulin collaborate together in their paintings — two artists, one canvas.
Lozner studied art throughout college, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from American University. Although retired, she maintains the title of Professor Emerita of Art and Graphic Design from the University of Maryland and still teaches painting privately. Raulin studied design in college and graduated from University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science degree in advertising design. Raulin continues to do design work with over 30 years of experience under her belt.
Lozner and Raulin began working together about four years ago while Raulin was taking painting lessons with Lozner.
“One day we were in the studio … and I think I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to paint together?’” Lozner says. “And then we went ‘Yeah, let’s try it’ right then, and we just pulled the canvas out and started to paint together, and we have been doing it ever since.”
Lozner and Raulin work together to paint collaboratively by coming up with an idea and bringing it to life on a canvas at the same time, talking and exchanging thoughts about the piece. For this Morris Library-specific collection, their ideas were centered around books. The collection features many different whimsical portrayals of books, including books flying across picturesque landscapes and books with pages and letters falling out of them onto the world below.
“We kind of got into the meaning behind the covers, so to speak,” Lozner says. “What kind of wisdom you get from opening the book and those kinds of discussions is what we went through when we paint.”
The university acquired these paintings as a part of the recent renovations to Morris Library. Back in February of 2020, Lozner and Raulin had the pieces featured at an art show of theirs in New York City. Shelly McCoy, associate university librarian for Communication & Space Planning, had seen their works at the show and reached out to them later to purchase the paintings for Morris Library.
Lozner and Raulin are very excited for students to be able to view their works this upcoming semester and are very grateful for the university supporting them as independent artists.
“Showing artwork is a public activity … and the more people that see it the better,” Lozner says. “It’s very nice to have a connection with viewers, even if you don’t know them. That they’re going to respond to your work, knowing that that happens is very satisfying. So it’s a particularly wonderful opportunity for us at the university that many, many students, faculty and staff will interact somehow with that work.”
The paintings are available for in-person viewing on the third floor of Morris Library. More information about Lozner and Raulin is available on their website, lrcollaborate.com.