The exhibition will open on Thursday, August 8, with an opening reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
WILSON, N.C. — Barton College associate professor of photography Gérard Lange is teaming with his Barton alumna wife, Amanda Lange, a nationally certified art teacher at Hunt High School, to present a joint exhibition titled “Betrothed,” at the Arts Council of Wilson. The theme of the couple’s exhibition is described as one of natural curiosity hinting upon elements of Romanticism and Transcendentalism. The exhibition will open on Thursday, August 8, with an opening reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
In their youths, both Amanda and Gérard were reared in environments that encouraged travel, exploration of nature, studies of science and of other cultures. Each has a background and education that includes practical sciences, sociology, literature, and history in addition to the visual arts. These similarities, along with the fact that they share a studio, have led to their interests converging in artwork. And, they readily admit that the exhibition was fueled by heartfelt, mutual admiration for each other’s work.
Amanda’s studies of the environment can be seen in her love of natural specimens. Many of her works depict seedpods and plant life, but also include living creatures, particularly birds. Often, these are miniscule items, enlarged in colored pencil and paint to mammoth proportions. Through this treatment, her work celebrates the nuances of nature. “I tend to be attracted to the overlooked things in the environment,” Amanda shared. “I am sometimes more interested in items in the land rather than the landscape itself.” Also having a degree in literature, Amanda is deeply influenced by the writings of Henry David Thoreau and Annie Dillard.
Like his wife, Gérard’s work also is rooted in observations and experiences within nature. His subject matter is equally varied, ranging from trees and plant life to objects collected in museums. His media vary as well, including photography, collage, art journaling, and sculpture. Much of Gérard’s work evolves around his meditation on a subject and then responding to these ponderings when composing in the studio. “When I create a work, the thing ceases to be an image of the object and becomes a tablet containing my impression of it combined with my mental, emotional state of being,” he explained. Visually, this quality is revealed in his use of hand-written text and contrived optical effects.
Much like naturalists from a bygone era, together, these artists infuse their artistic process with elements of research and study. This nature of inquiry can be seen in the jointly made cloches. These glass jars contain drawings, photographs, botanical specimens, fabric, and found objects assembled together as tableaus revealing their shared observations. Other works with which the artists have collaborated are mixed-media pieces where the two have traded the artwork back and forth, stretching the development until mutual consensus was reached. Their mutual respect for each other’s talent has created a healthy environment for collaboration. “I would have a show with him even if he was not my husband,” Amanda added
“Betrothed” will be on view at the Arts Council of Wilson until September 14.