“Visible Ghost” Exhibition at Barton Art Galleries Opens Aug. 20

Gallery Reception on September 7, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., with Gallery Talk at 7 p.m.

Clockwise from left/top: Roy Revels, Barbara Hardy Ray, Bob Ray, Jonathan Bowling, Leslie Pruneau, Dylan Baker Ray, Allen Lee

WILSON, N.C. – The Barton Art Galleries is pleased to announce the opening of the “Visible Ghost” exhibition on Monday, Aug. 20. A public reception will be held on Friday, Sept. 7, from 6 -8 p.m., with a gallery talk at 7 p.m., in Case Art Building on the campus of Barton College in Wilson. The exhibition will run through September 23. This event is open to the public free of charge, and the community is invited to attend. “Visible Ghost” is an invitational group exhibition featuring works by: Jonathan Bowling, Allen Lee, Leslie Pruneau, Barbara Hardy Ray, Dylan Ray, Bob Ray, and Roy Revels.

The experimental work exhibited in “Visible Ghost” displays the essences of past cultures with a striving to explore the boundaries of modern culture. The viewer will find repurposed materials of forged steel, wood, graphite, found materials, and collaged materials reassembled for public spaces. Best explained by Leslie Pruneau, “It is not my concern to paint ‘nice’ pictures, but a portrayal of the societies in which we live. The connected imagery of advertising, social media, computers, and televisions is at once gratifying and uncensored, and my pursuit is to portray their ever-changing contexts.”

Sculptor Jonathan Bowling of Greenville grew up on a small farm in Kentucky, where the Appalachian Mountains melt into the rolling hills of the Bluegrass. As a teenager in the late eighties, Bowling lived in Belgium, where he had access to the museums of Western Europe. On his return to the states, he attended the University of Kentucky where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History. In 1996, he moved to Greenville, North Carolina, to pursue a Master in Fine Arts degree in Sculpture at East Carolina University. “Recently, I have been working on a series of steel horses, which focus on interior and negative space as much as on the contours and surface,” Bowling said. “I envision each ‘horse’ as a series of abstract sculptures, which combine to form the armature for the whole.”

Experimental multi-disciplinary artist Allen Lee, from Columbia, will exhibit a series of small-scaled drawings combined with collaged materials, as well as several captivating cigar box guitars. “I fill notepads regularly with random drawings that I’m doing throughout the day,” said Lee. “These pads pile up and make good raw material for a variety of projects. This is the first time I’ve intentionally combined drawing and collage. Up until now, my collages have had a more formal compositional structure. I’ve found that including the scribble drawings loosens things up and shortens the conversation that I’m always having with the materials.” Lee currently serves as Technology Director for Tyrrell County Schools.

Leslie Pruneau is an award-winning artist who grew up in Raleigh and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from East Carolina University. An international traveler since childhood, she has been exposed to many different art influences. Her pieces are now found in several private collections in both the U.S. and Europe, and her work has been shown in many exhibitions. Pruneau explained, “In the past several years, my work has become more and more abstract and conceptual in style. Each piece grows independently through experimental applications and nontraditional processes. The language for my work is best translated through the accumulations of experimental mark-making that continually challenge what is expected of a work of art.”

Barbara Hardy Ray is a painter, sculptor, mail artist, and silversmith. Her new works are reliquaries of the castoff things in a life. She is drawn to the Japanese sensibility of Hari – Kuyo ( shrine to broken sewing needles), the beauty of the broken and unusable. Barbara Hardy Ray’s new paintings are small, focused studies of color fields intersected by the line from the hand.

Dylan Baker Ray has been capturing moments professionally for almost a decade. Born in Missouri, Ray was raised in Eastern North Carolina near the swamps of the Tar River and Pamlico Sound, and he spent much of his youth along the Outer Banks. In his time as staff photographer for the News-Times, he has won 11 N.C. Press awards and was recently named a grand-prize recipient at the 7th Photo Biennial at East Carolina University. His recent exhibits include the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum on Harkers Island. Much of his inspiration comes from William Eggleston, Stanley Kubrick, and his father, Bob Ray, who is an artist residing on Ocracoke Island. Ray said his philosophy behind his work is “the idea of found rather than forced images.”

Multimedia artist Bob Ray’s enigmatic artist statement supports the notion of “Visible Ghost. “It was not made of words so I ate what I could grasp,” Ray stated. “What is made poorly, what is made well — an Ozark hog pen, a thoroughbred stable in Kentucky — what runs between these constructions? How does one arrive at these points? The poetic image, mysteries of a nocturnal fable, random juxtapositions of the man-made and the natural, which eventually leak into each other; this is the composition of my visual interest at the moment.” Completing his statement, Ray added, “It wasn’t what I thought it was, and isn’t what I think it is.”

Roy E. Revels, a painter and sculptor living on Ocracoke Island, has displayed work across the region, including the Emerge Gallery in Greenville, A Place for Contemporary Art in Asheville, and Rocky Mount’s Imperial Center for Arts and Sciences. Revels collaborates often with fellow Ocracoke Island artists, such as Bob Ray, supporting the notion that trash can be turned to treasure. Recycled and repurposed materials combine on the surface with paint to create lavish melodies of blue, green and yellow.

The exhibition runs through September 23. The Barton Art Galleries are open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Art Galleries will be open on Sunday, August 26; Saturday, September 21; and Sunday, September 22 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information, please contact Bonnie LoSchiavo at 252-399-6477 or email: artgalleries@barton.edu.