Category Archives: NCSU

Layers and Lineage: A ‘round about, and home again

Abstract, Impressionist, and an introduction to new art and processes from four Fine Art artists

I planned to visit this particular gallery this month and was happy to have chosen Super Bowl Sunday (I normally ramble around galleries on Sunday afternoons –they’re quieter and I find less competition for viewing space -it is a selfish thing…). I was greeted not only by room after room of new and interesting paintings, jewelry, sculpture, pottery, photography –but also met and spoke with four of the 20 or so up and coming artists that make up the co-op, Roundabout Art Collective!

I moseyed around listening quietly to some discussion at the far end of the building for several minutes until I had made my way to one of the front rooms. I admit I’d seen so much art by the time I made it to that room (and, kids, the gallery building is not that big!) that I was happy to be welcomed by Yuko Taylor who engaged me in discussion about her paintings and some of the other artists’ work displayed elsewhere in that room. Yuko then introduced me to Sue Edmonson and Linda Kimball who were also at the gallery that afternoon. And, after my tour of the Roundabout, Yuko brought me over to Moondog Cottage, a nearby collection of studios she shares with a few more artists, one of which was Susan Dahlin who was working away on a new painting.

Back to Yuko – she has a very interesting  technique in her work in which she references historic photographs from the South and layers them with traditional themes and imagery from her Japanese heritage. The applied symbols and imagery, and her use of an overlaying/dripping technique in her oils, empower and ‘encourage’  the affect of allowing the past to dissolve to a new reality which is emblazoned with prayers and dreams of happiness, wealth and grace.

One Day II (c) 2013 Yuko Taylor

One Day II (c) 2013 Yuko Taylor

In “One Day II”, Yuko’s use of a very traditional crane image and symbolism act  as as both a foil to the child’s job as a sharecropper and a balancing reflection of the white of the cotton he’s bagging. I’m drawn to the myriad of visible layers in this painting as well as the cross symbolism style. For me, more than most of her works, this piece reminds me of a richly embroidered brocade.

Sue Edmonson was the next ‘host’ of my tour. She is a relatively new artist and has taken lessons from various instructors in the area. Sue paints many layers as she develops her paintings whether they are tree-scapes or visions of the night sky she enjoys as a lover of nature. In one of her tree paintings, I can really get a sense of the atmosphere you’d be standing in while viewing the trees in person. She’s also the 2nd snow painter I learned from that snow holds many more colors than just white which, in her painting, makes it seem all the surrounding earth and sky are within the snow.

Whirlpool Galaxy (c) 2013 Sue Edmonson

Whirlpool Galaxy (c) 2013 Sue Edmonson

In her work Whirlpool Galaxy, Sue shows how well she personalizes such an image normally only viewed from a NASA photograph and invites a long gaze at all the stars and depth she’s captured.

I also ‘met’ a new art technique up close that day, as well as the artist: The encaustic painting technique of layering melted beeswax and colored pigments. Linda Kimball starts with the wax and pigments and adds fabrics and layers of other embedded materials including, in some, gold-leaf.  Her encaustics appear fragile as melted wax but the process gives this work surprising toughness.

Elaine Still Life (c) 2013 Linda Kimball

Elaine Still Life (c) 2013 Linda Kimball

The image Linda sent for this post is “Elaine Still Life” which won 3rd Place in the recent Visual Art Exchange’s 29th Annual Art Auction & Gala Silent & Live Auction. Yay, Linda!  All of these encaustics’ layers of wax and imagery include “…a presence of ‘Elaine’”, a representation of her mother. Some of the ‘presences’ are quite visible, but some you’ll have to search for!  I particularly like the texture layer added to the fruit in this still life, and can really appreciate the dream quality she affects.

Yuko lastly brought me over to the Moondog Cottage and introduced me to more of her work and also to Susan Dahlin, who was working away at one of her newer pieces. Susan’s work is as individual as she is and she is a prolific contemporary painter –a “colorist” in her words. Susan paints in oils with a pallet knife and mixes her thickly applied paints on the canvas versus the pallet.

Still Standing (c) 2013 Susan Dahlin

Still Standing (c) 2013 Susan Dahlin

The piece I highlight here is at first glance quite muted when viewed near her other works but the contrast of the textured earth and stone tones against the smooth sky give it a nice energy – energy being another reflection of Susan’s personality.

Our State Magazine writes of Susan:  “…as each painting nears completion, she pulls out one of [her dad’s] old tubes and applies a little color from it. It’s a way, she says, ‘to stick a little bit of Dad in every painting’” –similarly embedding lineage as done in Linda’s encaustics and Yuko’s layering of heratige, and in the many layers of nature in Sue’s paintings.

Look for a link to the video from ‘Tarheel Traveler’ on her website from when her family artists visited – so fun for me to hear Norske accents again –Mom always did claim her as a daughter when we would see her on the TV…!

As if having all this eclectic collection of work and artists to meet isn’t enough for a visit, the Roundabout Art Collective also has a gift shop where the artists offer items for sale including small scale pieces, greeting card repro’s and even some sale items of full-scale work. Give yourself a lift with a visit to this gallery if you’re in need of a popping hot art gift, want to peruse armfuls of collections to brighten a not so sunny day,  or to meet the artists who can excite you about a potential investment in their art. You can find more info about each of these and the other 20 or so very interesting and welcoming artists online, but I hope you’ll take my suggestion and visit in person.

Question: Have you ever happened into a shop and found you’d happened upon a landscape that harmonized really well with your interests? Post your experience in the comments and drop me a link if you think I’d like to check it out on my trekking!

The First Art is the Sweetest

(i.e., the first steps down this path are as familiar as the soles of my Earth Shoes on the aisles of the Little Art Gallery)

I listened to an interview with James Taylor a few years ago who’s answer to a question really stuck with me. He was asked how, with such a large catalog of songs, does he come up with new lyrics. He said something to the effect that his method is to “go back to the well” — in other words, all of his music (his art) comes from within him, and that is where he ‘goes’ to look for new ideas, in effect.

What does that have to do with The Little Art Gallery?  I have enjoyed browsing and shopping there in each of its locations over these past decades and had the inspiration to begin this blog trek at that one place where I became introduced to so many artists from this area – I would say that gallery is my ‘well’ where I go back for inspiration whether it is viewing interpretations of current design trends or how the local artists and their work are evolving, or for new subjects and ideas for my own work. I visited Little Art Gallery at Cameron Village this past weekend and checked out some of the works currently carried by owner/manager Rosanne Green Minick and founder Ruth Green, her mother.

Blackwater Falls, Micah Mullen

Blackwater Falls (c) 2013 Micah Mullen

Once I got through browsing my favorites -which always seems like re-visiting long lost friends- I came across the acrylic paintings of Micah Mullen and was drawn to the virtual 3D affect he achieves in the overlays of patterns and values -which remind me very much of the Mola of Panamá as well as contemporary art quilts and some of the works of Klimt —  and how cool to see he offers video art lessons on his website! Micah provided me with a photo of one of his newest pieces to use on my blog, “Blackwater Falls”  – Thank you, Micah!

Leah, the gallery sitter that Sunday, also introduced me to some of Nancy Hughes Miller‘s work as one of her favorites. Nancy captures that thing I stare at most -besides computer screens- while travelling the down east country or seaside: North Carolina’s horizons. The strong horizon lines she develops provide a calming fulcrum balancing the sky and earth in many of her works. I am also reminded of the color fields and horizontal lines Rothko achieved in many of his pieces.

Walk to Bird Island - Nancy Hughes Miller

Walk to Bird Island (c) 2013 Nancy Hughes Miller

My favorite paintings of Nancy’s are those that are the more impressionist seascapes, but all merit a good viewing — this artist can even make Lake Crabtree appear majestic!  My favorite piece of Nancy’s is, of course, a seascape… “Walk to Bird Island “, and Thank you, Nancy, for allowing me share it here!
Another thing to note is Nancy graduated with a BA in Environmental Design at NCSU’s SOD – my (partial) alma mater!

Another of my long-time favorite artist’s work shown at The Little Art Gallery is that of Stephen White of Carrboro/Chapel Hill. The Little Art Gallery has represented Stephen for over 35 years. I am always drawn to Stephen’s use of very simple shapes and the figures’ subtle expressions. I don’t think I could own just one, but my favorite so far is ”Two Women, Black Background” which I found on the City Art Gallery of Greenville website.

Two Women - Black Background - Stephen White

Two Women, Black Background (c) Stephen White

The composition might be simple but it offers a very dynamic visual effect much like what I see looking at a print of da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”. That is, when you at the Mona Lisa’s eyes, you see her smile! For this painting of Stephens, when you look at the eyes of the figure at the top of the composition, the lower figure’s eyes seem to smile — maybe I’m just staring at my computer too long -again! I hope to catch up with Stephen in the future when my trek carries me westward to Carrboro.

Question:

What is the most successful way you find to break writer’s block? Post your answer below

Art Exposure: Connecting three influential artists from the Triangle area

The path to here|today from high school art class and the seeds of a local art show begins…

1. Bob Rankin: Sanderson High School – ArtSpace –  ArtSplosure – International Festival – reconnection through my Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) Design student’s field trip to The Hudio (link is to a 5min. video tour!)-

Bob and my connection to the evolution of ArtSplosure:- The Position Statement on the link Artsplosure website states: “Artsplosure was conceived in 1978 by subcommittees of the newly formed City of Raleigh Arts Commission who were planning a citywide arts festival that would combine an “explosion” of art activity with people’s “exposure” to all types of art.”  I, however, believe that it began by a group of Art teachers in the Raleigh area who put together a student show at the old North Hills Mall. In fact, the very first one I participated in was called “the Spring Thing” and highlighted the artwork of the current seniors in Bob Rankin’s class. I remember Lycra body-sized pillow cases donned to walk the halls of Sanderson and the inflated super-snake made of taped-together garbage bags that wound its way through the halls as well. When it came time for the show, we all gathered at  the then-named Carrol Jr. High to climb into our individually decorated refrigerator boxes that spelled “SPRING THING” then we walked in single file (what else could we do?) to the old Cameron Brown building, and then crossed Six Forks Road to the mall where we had displayed our artwork for the show.

BobRankin1Bob moved on from High School teaching, although he has several demo videos on Jerry’s Artarama website, Youtube.com, and folioacademy.com, and creates a yearly poster for Raleigh’s International Festival. He was one of the first artists I thought to bring my students to for a mini lecture on being a professional artist when I taught a couple of Design classes at Central Carolina Community College at the original Siler City Pottery Studio location. Thank you again for your time and generosity, Bob!

My current favorite piece is from his Representational works collection on his website, and is of a dynamic wave shape superimposed with rectangular landscape vignettes. Bob has a unique way of combining the organic and inorganic in his work that is pleasing as well as surprising.

2. Emma Skurnick – CCCC – ArtSplosure – FirstNightPlanetarium

EmmaSkurnick1Emma Skurnick was one of my design and marketing teacher at CCCC. She is a wonderful watercolor/colored pencil artist who is dedicated to whimsy and exploration. Emma also works as a professional illustrator of life sciences. I so appreciate the encouragement Emma gave me for my artwork, class work and the pointers she shared with me on teaching the Design classes at CCCC. Emma now holds classes at her studio in Pittsboro and recently created the backdrops to a new winter program at the Morehead Planetarium. She remains involved in production decoration for Paperhand Puppet Intervention which also appear at ArtSplosure in their –living tree– and the “Trigon” dragon parade for First Night Raleigh New Year’s Eve celebration.

My current favorite piece: The sketches Emma shared on FaceBook of her Planetarium backdrops for the Paperhand Puppet’s production of “The Longest Night”.

 

3. Marina Bosetti – CCCC- ArtSplosure – various shows –

MarinaBosetti1I connected with Marina Bosetti during my ‘sculpturation’ at CCCC as my externship mentor. Marina is a production ceramic tile artist who has been showing and selling her tile art throughout North Carolina for the past decade. She has been influential and inspirational in several art and business groups in Raleigh including the Carolina Designer Craftsmen, and Chix in Business to name a quick few. I marvel at the amount of work she puts into tile sinks, mirrors and fireplace surrounds for the Parade of Homes she has participated in!

Marina teaches classes in ceramics at her studio as well as NCSU Craft center. Thank you again, Marina, for lending me a corner of your studio when I was in my ‘clay-days’!

My current favorite piece: Although I love the birdhouses (especially the White Rose Bungalow), the five vertical panels on her ‘Design Gallery-Ornamentals’ page is a lovely balanced grouping of natural colors. This piece is currently hanging in the reception area at Vision Park Optometry.

Well, I’m off on my art trek with camera and sketchbook in hand!

If you are interested in embarking on your own art trek, I’d suggest picking a few artist names who’s work you like and then check out their websites. Current shows and event listings on their websites will provide you with new artists and artwork to check out and events to participate in. You may also, like I am, follow that new path to your next discovery!

Question:

Have you ever taken the opportunity to go on a self-guided tour of your city? What inspired you to do so -and did you see any great art you think I should write about? Make sure to comment and leave a link!