WILSON, N.C. — The Barton Art Galleries is pleased to announce the opening of the “Contemporary Drawings” exhibition from the collection of Allen G. Thomas, Jr., on Sunday, Feb. 27, with a public reception from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. The exhibition, featuring Paolo Arao, Justin Francavilla, Anthony Goicolea, Zachari Logan, Rob Matthews, Chloe Piene, and Michael Whittle will run through March 31. This event is free, and the community is invited to attend.

Also on the Barton Art Galleries’ schedule is Linda Johnson Dougherty, Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art, who will be the featured lecturer discussing “Making Their Mark” at the Barton College Friends of Visual Arts Dinner on Sunday, Feb. 27, from 6-8 p.m.  This event is by invitation only.  For additional information about joining Friends of Visual Arts, please contact Frances Belcher at 252-399-6357.

Dougherty’s lecture will be an overview of contemporary drawing that examines the diverse range of artists who are re-inventing “mark making” in contemporary art.  The lecture will include several of the artists featured in the Allen G. Thomas Jr. collection on view. “Contemporary artists continue to push the boundaries of drawing, experimenting with a wide range of materials from traditional pencil on paper to works on Mylar that combine graphite, ink, paint, and found materials,” shares Dougherty.  “From intimately scaled miniatures to colossal mural-sized narratives, they explore an equally diverse range of subject matter, including: portraits, landscapes, fantasy worlds, abstract patterns, history, current events, and social issues.  Highly skilled draftsmen, their intricately detailed renderings all serve to make the artist’s hand and presence palpable.”

“The artists in the ‘Contemporary Drawings’ exhibition work with imagery and ideas that are intriguing and thought provoking,” Susan Fecho, professor and chair of the Barton College Department of Art and Design, shares. “‘Untitled No. 1,’ a charcoal drawing on paper by Paolo Arao, showcases his preferred approach of an enigmatic image in stark contrasting dark charcoal on white paper to ‘evoke an almost photographic effect.’”  Arao received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

New York City based artist Justin Francavilla’s large-scale ink and spray paint on paper, “Get Back Here,” depicts human conflict and struggle for power. “These drawings are largely derived from sports photographs, which serve as sketches,” Francavilla explains. “By extracting these figures from their playing fields, we can observe the physical aggression inherent in competition.” Francavilla received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York.

“The interesting surface treatment and color in Anthony Goicolea’s “Wishing in the Midwest and Fight Scene” (due to his use of Mylar with plexiglass for a drawing surface) adds to his complicated subject matter,” Fecho explains. The Cuban American artist did his undergraduate studies in art history and studio studies at the University of Georgia and went on to earn an Master of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture and Painting from the Pratt Institute in New York.

The namesake of Zachari Logan’s drawing “Sebastian” “is in reference to the Catholic saint who is a popular male character in Western depictions of martyrdom,” shares the Canadian artist.  He adds, “This drawing derives from an earlier series of drawings, ‘The Invincibles,’ in which I used my own body to explore Baroque and Renaissance depictions of saints and Christ-figures in different states of mutilation.”  He received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.

Robert Matthews, winner of Philadelphia’s 2009 PEW Fellowship in the Arts for Works on Paper, drawings’ “Felix Culpa #1” and “Felix Culpa #2” are portrait narratives. He explains that the graphite on paper landscapes “are not illustrations, but rather investigations of unsolvable questions. These pieces were meant to work with the concept of a garden as a setting and to explore this character, known as ‘The Composer.’” Matthews received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and his Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Printmaking from the Virginia Commonwealth University.

New York based artist Chloe Piene’s charcoal on vellum’s “Passing” is described as a sensual figurative form that “unveils its intricacies layer by layer” within the delicate contour line. Piene completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Columbia University and continued her studies at Goldsmiths College, London, to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree.

British artist Michael Whittle shares that his “scientifically” drawn trees with ink and stylus on paper involves “scientific concepts to create alternative combinations of ideas and images.” In the “Oldest Black Pine” drawing, Whittle “drew, measured and roughly mapped the tree and superimposed the plan onto a famous star map from NASA showing a deep space gravitational lens. The resulting image was then mapped roughly onto a satellite of the Japanese islands.” Whittle received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedicine from Bradford University in England; a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, in the United Kingdom; and a Master of Arts degree in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art.

For additional information about the exhibition, please contact Bonnie LoSchiavo at 252-399-6477 or email: blloschiavo@barton.edu.

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Questions?  Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: kdaughety@barton.edu.

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