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Miniature art shown from 'mystery' artist

"Patti's Flrilegium," an exhibit of miniature abstract paintings of flowers and still life subjects, will be open to the public from Saturday, Feb. 5 through Saturday, March 26 at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no admission charge for gallery shows. The gallery gift store will also offer some of the artist's paintings for sale as well.

Artist Kent Scheer from Wadena is the show curator, and he is a collector of works of Patti Klages -- an artist of whom little is known but who actively sells her art on eBay and Etsy, two well-known internet art sale sites. Scheer wrote about Klages and why he believes her work is significant:

"The development of Small Format Art (SFA) has solved one possible problem with fine art -- its cost. With SFA for sale on major websites like eBay and Etsy, original art is absolutely within the means of everyone. At any given time there will be at least 10,000 original art works listed on eBay at an average price of around $4 each. Of course, the quality and originality of much may be minimal but within this mix there will always be stunning work obviously done by gifted artists. Finding a beautiful work is like panning for gold.

"Patti Klages is a bit of a mystery. She offers nothing of herself beyond her work. She could be 75 years old or she could be 16. Maybe she is a silver-haired lady working in a department store who does her art at night, or maybe she's bedbound and art is her life. I tend to think of her as 50 years old with a fine art degree that she just couldn't ever use.

"I'd become recently interested in abstract flowers and still lifes, and I found her eBay page and followed her for some time. I began to see the extrordinary richness of her imagination. When it comes to flowers she is unstoppable. The variety of ways that she can abstract them amazes me. It looks so easy.

"And because in 2009 I discovered I could sell my silk tie collection to blues men around the world giving me absolute mad money (for that brief moment) I can now own about 75 flowers by Patty Klages ... whoever she is."