WILSON, N.C. – An astounding array of student work in the 2012 Barton College Student Art Exhibitions will be on view in the Barton Art Galleries on the campus of Barton College from April 21 through May 7.  A reception to introduce these students and their work to the community will be held on Saturday, April 21 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Artist talks will be held on Friday, May 4, in the Barton Art Galleries beginning at 1 p.m. Both events are open to the public at no charge, and the community is invited to attend.

Within the Virginia Thompson Graves Gallery, there will be two micro exhibitions by five talented Barton College seniors. “Between the Lines” will showcase Megan Kay Bell, Erin Dempsey, Jamie Brittan Kistler, and Krystin G. Moore. The exhibition will focus on ceramics, drawing, painting, and photography. Robert Kowalczyk is displaying site-specific designed technology-based work in “Technomancer.”

Megan Kay Bell

Megan Kay Bell of Durham plans to graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education. Bell’s portions of the exhibition “Between the Lines” are pieces that describe her personal artist voice and style.  On display are a broad range of skills in several areas of the art, such as her “On Your Mark” oil on canvas, collographs, and ceramics.

With a concentration in ceramics, Bell prefers the creativity of hand-built work. Professor Susan Fecho, advisor for the student exhibitions, expresses admiration for Bell’s nature themed collographs. “Bell’s ‘X Marks the Spot’ is one of three multi-hued collographs, which are essentially inked and printed collages,” Fecho explains. “This expressive work achieves on paper, what Bell enjoys about working with clay.”

Bell is guided by a quote from artist Federico Fellini, “All art is autobiographical.”  She says, “I hold that statement to be unequivocally true. All artists create pieces that directly relate to the things around them and experiences that have changed them. The artwork that I create comes from the heart that has been sojourning in a world that is very much ephemeral.” Bell continues, “Growing up in the very urban city of Durham, I have always been surrounded by art. My artistic ability is very diverse and is often times about experiences that I have been through.”

After graduation, Bell plans to enter the Expressive Arts Therapy Program at Appalachian State University.

Erin Dempsey

Erin Dempsey of Rocky Mount is an Art Education licensure student displaying a series of graphite drawings and oil paintings of still-lifes in the “Between the Lines” exhibition in the Virginia Graves Gallery. “My emphasis in art is drawing,” Dempsey explains. “The attention to detail in works such as ‘Huntin Games’ uses both atmospheric perspective and controlled balance to achieve success of the composition. Using graphite helps me focus on shaded details and provides surface control. When mapping out my subject matter, I tend to be drawn to shapes and knots of fruits, vegetables, duck decoys, and antiques.”

After graduation, Demsey is interested in pursuing a career as an elementary art teacher.

Jamie Brittan Kistler

Jamie Brittan Kistler of Selma is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education.  Kistler is exhibiting her “Language of Flowers” series for the “Between the Lines” exhibition. These four photographic pieces titled “Wisdom [Iris],” “Imagination [Poppy],” “Innocence [Daisy],” and “Dedication [Sunflower]” are mixed media composition.  Black and white photographic imagery is altered with gesso, crackled medium, and threading to focus on Kistler’s continued research concerning the evolution of women and mental illness.

Associate Professor Gérard Lange, recognizing Kistler’s work, shared, “Jamie’s work involving mixed-media application of photography with sewing strongly benefits her interest in becoming an educator. This unique approach demonstrates a versatility that will aid her future students in coming up with original solutions to assigned projects.”

Kistler explains, “I create work based on feelings, specific emotions, and my constant desire to express myself through an outlet that allows for experimentation and interpretation. I work to combine color, texture, and a variety of materials to convey a meaning that is not always clear to me. I never start a piece with a specific message that I intend to convey, but instead I allow the work to evolve on its own into a statement that is at times only evident during the conclusion of my creative process.”

Krystin G. Moore

Krystin G. Moore of Clinton, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education, also is participating in the “Between the Lines” exhibition. With a concentration in drawing, Moore’s personal focus for the exhibition has been to try new technical approaches while producing imagery based on natural subject matter.

“It was a combination of media and processes used for each piece,” Moore shares. “Some drawings were done strictly with drawing mediums, and others were done in mixed media using paper, paints and washing, and drawing mediums.”

Fecho notes, “I have enjoyed working with Moore this past year and seeing her develop work based on personal scenery. Her heritage-based imagery is presented with rich colors, organic shapes and familiar textures that evoke nostalgic memories.”

For Moore, being a southern female is more than just an acronym. “Having southern roots is one of the most inspirational parts to my artwork,” she shares.  “I am inspired by some of the smallest things in life, such as dew on morning grass or the dust that rises up behind an old tractor as it plows up a field.  It is a breathtaking feeling you get when you look out over a field when the sun is setting on a summer day; these are the feelings that I try to portray in my work.  I try to create emphasis in my pieces by using subject matter people can relate to and using colors to create unity in my pieces that also relate to the things that inspire me.”

After graduation this May, Moore plans to move home to Sampson County and pursue work while continuing to create art, helping to tutor and teach art to local students.

Robert Kowalczyk

By using current technologies in new ways, the Virginia Thompson Graves Gallery is also presenting a micro-exhibition “Technomancer” by graduating senior Robert Kowalczyk. Kowalczyk, a native of Chicago, Ill., is a Visual Design major showcasing the fine art applications of digital graphic design. This exhibit is meant to engage the viewer with the use of their personal electronic devices. Kowalczyk is showing sculptural abstracted drawings, vector based illustrations, and highly designed Quick Response (QR) codes all under the theme of “magic through technology.”

Sharing his technique, Kowalczyk explains, “My imagery begins in Photoshop. I create undersketchings and pre-modified imagery using a digital drawing tablet. The imagery is dropped into Illustrator for converting and finalizing.

“Music, the expansion of technology, and social trends based on history inspires me,” he continues.  “Art, as a bridge between science and philosophy, is an extension of my study and research of tangent ideas, of programming and computer modding.”

Painting, a lifelong passion —

Also on display is “Passion to Paint” in the Lula E. Rackley Gallery, representing Life-Long Learners who study painting under J. Chris Wilson. On view will be the work of Lynne Arnold, Clara Daughtridge, George F. England, Margaret Evans, Mary C. Evans, Patricia Evans, Janice Gravely, Carolyn H. Neville, Jo Rhodes, Dinah Sharpe Sylivant, Fran Tyson, Marion Clark Weathers, and Susan S. Webb.

Professor J. Chris Wilson explains, “Having the Life-Long Learners in the painting classes at Barton College enriches the experience for all students and artists. The Life-Long Learners are motivated, dedicated, and hard working, and [they] set a great example for the traditional students. The traditional students challenge the Life-Long Learners with creativity and enthusiasm.  It is a great symbiosis.  Many of the Life-Long Learners are regional artists of note that have found an artistic community at Barton College that increases their productivity while elevating the quality of their work. Learning to paint in an academic setting requires achieving clear learning objectives and developing transferable skills.  The community spirit that has evolved among the artists and students has brought pride in the successes of each and every member and a joy to their teacher.”

Lynne Arnold

Lynne Arnold is a native of Rocky Mount. She has used oil and acrylic in her paintings featured in the exhibition. “Study of Girl with Pearl Earring” and “Snake River, Wyoming” present painting completed within this studio painting course.

Clara Daughtridge

Clara Daughtridge of Stantonsburg, a 1969 alumna of Atlantic Christian College, is exhibiting oil paintings with a focus on the imagery of dogs and horses. Daughtridge’s “The Competitor” and “Bully Running” are part of her ongoing series depicting dogs and horses. Daughtridge shares, “My subject of choice is animals offering unconditional love, trust and loyalty – as reflected in their eyes. Capturing this spirit is what motivates me to paint.”

When asked about her choice of media, Daughtridge explains, “The slower drying time of oils allows me to mix and blend more easily. The buttery texture, smell, and results give me pleasure.”

George F. England

George F. England’s first art medium was wood, spending over 30 years making furniture.  England now spends his time painting with oil on linen canvases.  He likes the fact that oil does not dry quickly, lasts longer, and is more forgiving compared to watercolor and acrylic paints.  England’s favorite subjects to paint are North Carolina landscapes, from farm scenes to the ocean.

One painting England is exhibiting is “Ox Creek in the Fall,” portraying a scene from Buncombe County on the mountain side near Weaverville. “My technique is to paint beautiful landscapes from pictures that I take mainly across North Carolina,” he shares.  “My paintings are somewhat realistic but do adhere to proper color combinations and utilize good atmospheric expression similar to the Hudson Valley School of Painters.”

A native of Asheville, England attended Asheville-Biltmore Junior College and went on to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating in 1963 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics.  England and his wife, Nancy, have resided in Wilson since 1967.

Margaret Evans

A native of historic Edenton, Margaret Evans currently makes her home in Rocky Mount. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education. Evans is exhibiting two paintings: “Red House on HWY 97,” an oil on canvas completed in 2010 and “Carolyn Petway,” an oil on canvas completed in 2011.

Mary C. Evans

Mary C. Evans is from Bethel.  Evans enjoys painting oil on canvas and continues to explore art technique, atmospheric perspective, and the use of color to improve her art.

Patricia Evans

Patricia Evans of Greenville is a painter who primarily uses oils in her paintings. “I was first taught using Alkyd Oil,” she says about her choice of medium.  “It dries slowly and gives me time to blend.”  She adds that her favorite art style is realism. Evans admits that she is inspired by and loves paintings of children and scenes of people in natural settings, such as children at play or people at work. In addition to painting, Evans also enjoys interior decorating, knitting, cooking, and playing golf.

Janice Gravely

Janice Gravely of Rocky Mount is a peripatetic painter with 30 years of watercolors documenting 20 or more countries around the world where she has visited. For the past two years, under Chris Wilson’s tutelage, Gravely also has been documenting her small world of family and familiar scenes. For the “Passion to Paint” exhibition, Gravely is exhibiting several oils, including: “Mother and Daughter,” an oil on linen painting she completed in 2011 of herself standing in front of a painting of her mother. Gravely has exhibited in several solo shows and recently participated in a retrospective of 79 pieces at the Dunn Center at North Carolina Wesleyan College, and had 30 new oils in an exhibition sponsored by the Winston-Salem Associated Artists. She has had had solo exhibits at the Allegheny County Library, the Nash County Arts Council, and at Roaring Gap.

In her artist statement, Gravely shares, “‘Ever learning and never coming to the full knowledge of the truth,’ a wise one has said about me and perhaps others.  However, I bring to my art a joy shown in this painting that should encourage any younger artist.  After a lifetime of painting for my own pleasure, I discovered that others want to share in my joy. Such an expression is neither shallow nor profound, but without apology I can model the value of art in life.  I find the following statement true in art and life – unlike in athletics:  ‘Even in old age, they shall still bring forth fruit.’”

Carolyn H. Neville

Carolyn H. Neville of Whitakers is an oil painter and enjoys the medium because of its flexibility and true colors.  Her work reflects places and things that have personal meaning and inspiration.  She is inspired by John S. Sargent, Monet, and Georgia O’Keefe.  Neville believes life is truly good, and beauty is everywhere.  When she is not gardening and sharing her harvest with friends, she spends her time learning new things.  Neville says, “My philosophy is you don’t know what you don’t know until you know it.”  Within her exhibited oils on canvas, “Childs Play” and “B & E Hunt Club,” Neville uses a painting technique of thin layers of oil paints to bring life and nostalgia to the canvas.

Jo Rhodes

Jo Rhodes of Wilson is primarily an oil painter who gains inspiration from the beauty of everyday landscapes and the charm of everyday people.  For Rhodes, the most important subject is where she begins her focus, and the image grows from there, developing a relationship between the subject and artist.  Rhodes enjoys traveling and incorporates her experiences with the people, cultures, and landscapes into her works of art.

In the case of her portraits, she shares that she is “inspired by images of children or adults enjoying life.”  Rhodes, exhibiting images of Vollis Simpson, began this series as a “result of a casual visit to see his whirligigs. Simpson graciously invited me to ‘sit down and stay awhile.’ So, prompted by his ‘gracious hospitality, I asked if I could photograph him.” Rhodes enjoys traveling and hopes to paint a series from her travels in Europe, China, and Australia, and adds, “I still have a lot of the world left to see!”

Dinah Sharpe Sylivant

A native of Snow Hill, Dinah Sharpe Sylivant has been painting most of her adult life.  She is an established artist in the traditional sense, using mediums of oil and pastel. Sylivant has studied art at the Barton College Department of Art and Design, East Carolina University, Nantucket School of Art and Design of Massachusetts, and Savannah College of Art and Design of Georgia.  She has also attended numerous workshops and studied under well-established artists in the states as well as Scotland.

Sylivant is a member of the American Society of Portrait Artists, Greene County Museum, Kinston Community Council of the Arts, Lenoir County Artist League, Brushstrokes, and the Carteret Community Council of the Arts.  She has served as an artist-in-residence and teacher at Arendell Parrott Academy of Kinston, and as the president of the Lenoir County Artist League.  In 2002, Sylivant’s work was chosen for the North Carolina Seafood Festival poster.  She was also named the 2002 Core Sound poster artist and the North Carolina Sweet Potato Festival poster artist for 2009 and 2011. She is currently painting the labels for Mother Earth Brewery, a recently established business in Lenoir County.

Sylivant, who is showcasing oils on linen in the exhibition: “Atlantic Beach” and “Along Contentnea,” believes “art should invite the viewer to enter into the piece of work and feel the presence of the subject.”  She says she enjoys the challenges presented with each work of art and the continuous learning process helps her to return to her easel daily with enthusiasm and anticipation of what each day holds.  Through the years, Sylivant has developed a love of the arts that is evident in her painting career.

Fran Tyson

A resident of Stantonsburg, Fran Tyson began taking painting lessons in 2002. Her choice of medium is oils; however, she also enjoys using watercolors and drawing. The fluidity, control, and freedom of expression come easy for her while using oils.  She prefers painting portraits, but she has added landscapes and still life, such the recently completed “Reflections with Orchids,” to her collection as well.  Her works are inspired by the beauty of nature and people’s expressions.  “The process of creating a work of art from a blank canvas is the ultimate degree of satisfaction and achievement,” explains Tyson.

Tyson’s love of painting portraits and the fact that she had already painted her two older sisters, gave her the incentive to paint the youngest granddaughter.  Before beginning this project, Tyson made sure she had the proper visuals, color concept, distribution of values, and composition.  Her granddaughter was hospitalized while still working on this painting. “This was an emotional experience for me, and I could feel her presence with every brush stroke – the finished portrait was everything that I hoped it would be,” Tyson shared. She was honored with an award for this piece in a juried competition.

Marion Clark Weathers

A painter from Rocky Mount, Marion Clark Weathers enjoys creating with oils and watercolors.  She particularly likes oil on canvas for large works and for expressive brushstrokes, and she works with watercolors for the colors, fluidity, and its transparency qualities.  Weathers’ favorite works include eastern and coastal North Carolina landscapes. “To describe a moment …that can be forever in paint,” is Weathers’ motivation for her “Tar River Trail” series. She is exhibiting two paintings from the series, “Tar River Cypress” and “Triptych of a Vineyard.”

When Weathers’ is not painting, she works in the Registrar’s Office at the Maria V. Howard Arts Center and volunteers her time at North Carolina State University as the President DG House Corp.

Susan S. Webb

A resident of Stantonsburg, artist Susan S. Webb began her art education at Wilson Community College and, for the past several years, she has been studying landscape painting at Barton College under the direction of J. Chris Wilson.  Inspired by Hudson River painters and Barbizon painters, Webb began creating a series of North Carolina’s lighthouses and coastal landscapes.  “Living on the Outer Banks for six and a half years, I was captivated by the beauty of North Carolina’s eastern shoreline and its historic lighthouses,” she shares.  “After moving to Wilson County, my series of oils, ‘An Artist’s Reflection on NC Lighthouses and Coastal Landscapes in the 21st century,’ emerged. I was commissioned to paint Cape Lookout Lighthouse, which awakened my desire to capture nature’s lights, shadows, colors, and the ever-changing complexities of environmental forces on the landscape.”

Webb has been involved in numerous workshops conducted by Jerry’s Artarama of Raleigh and Wilson Active Artists Association.  She has been a longtime member of the Wilson Active Artists Association and has served as newsletter editor and vice-president, and is currently serving as president for a second term.  Her work has been shown at various locations, including: the Arts Council of Wilson, the Spring Arbor Fall Show in Wilson, Barton College Art Galleries in Wilson, the Imperial Center in Rocky Mount, the Neuse River Foundation Fundraiser in New Bern, the Hammond Gallery in Wilson, the Nash County Arts Center, and the Farmville Community Arts Center in Pitt County.

The Barton Art Galleries, including the Virginia Thompson Graves Gallery and the Lula E. Rackley Gallery, are located in the Case Art Building, at the corner of Gold Street and Whitehead Avenue on the campus of Barton College. The Barton Art Galleries are open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

For additional information about the art exhibition, please contact Susan Fecho, chair of the Department of Art and Design, at 252-399-6480 or sfecho@barton.edu, or Bonnie LoSchiavo in the Barton Art Galleries at 252-399-6477 or blloschiavo@barton.edu.

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