By Andrea Kelley
WESTMINSTER — Gateway Arts Center director Melody Davis spent the week hanging 84 pieces for the center’s winter show.
Jurors Patrick Wright, a professional photographer, and Anderson artist Kathy Moore came out, watching the show with a keen eye to choose the show’s five winners.
Prices will be announced during the grand opening of the show tonight.
“I think all things considered — and I’ve had quite a few shows here — it’s probably the most diverse show I’ve had,” Davis said. “Some are so traditional, then so abstract and so unusual, and the subject matter is unusual.”
Mediums range from pastels to photography to collage and everything in between, and Davis said she couldn’t choose a favorite.
“I find something new every time I walk around and look at it. There are so many interesting pieces,” she said. some of the abstract work, when you get close to it, it’s just amazing. I’m happy.
Davis opted to forgo a theme for the show and let people submit whatever topic they wanted.
“I don’t want people to feel stuck with anything. I don’t want them to feel pressured into doing anything special,” she said. “Anything they work on and love, they can bring, and that’s what we’re going to do from now on.”
Artists who produce works tailored to a specific theme often find they can’t do anything else with the piece once it’s finished, Davis said, adding that she usually doesn’t have time to sit down and paint something specific for a theme either.
“I’m just lucky if they have something themed that I have something for, so I understand the frustration,” she said. “I’ve decided that we’re not going to do themes anymore.”
Stained glass and old paper
Carte blanche brings in new artists with unique pieces.
Ruth Bolles, who recently moved to the area from Florida, submitted stained glass torsos – in three dimensions.
“They have these vines climbing all over them. Almost life-size torsos made from stained glass,” Davis said. “They’re beautiful. I’ve only seen stained glass and then other little tchotchkes. But this is the first time I’ve seen this.”
Returning artist Diana Walter submitted two pieces in mixed media, using what Davis called “unusual” media.
“She does some really interesting things with old fabrics and things like that, that you really can’t find anywhere else, like old books,” she said. “She goes everywhere looking for these things.”
Walter said she experienced his unique art style.
“I definitely started more with the realism of things. What I discovered with mixed media – the reason I like it is you don’t know how it’s going to end,” a- she said. “If you were going to do a watercolor of a landscape and you went out and took a picture of the hill behind your house, you would know what it should look like. But for my work, I don’t know I have an idea in my head, but once I get into it, the art itself sort of leads in a direction that I may or may not have anticipated, which, I think, is more interesting.
Walter created his “Things are Looking Up” submission using different colored papers and acrylic paint.
“Some of them are handmade paper, some of them are hand painted, some of them are vintage, some of them are even stained,” Walter said. “He’s very colorful and there’s hopefully a lot of energy.”
Her second piece, “Revival,” incorporates the same mentality in a different way, using “found objects” like tree branches and recycled sari fabric from India.
“The colors are all rust or that kind of burnt sienna, and black and off-white,” Walter said. “It’s all things that were other things at the same time, whether it’s the silk of the sari or part of a tree, and the idea of renewal is that together they create new things with a new energy and a new direction.”
Walter’s pieces will be on display when the show opens tonight at 5 p.m. at the Gateway Arts Centre, located at 213 E. Windsor St. in Westminster. The exhibition will be in the gallery until March 12.
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