The Main Gallery is in the Caldwell Arts Council Building
601 College Ave SW
Lenoir NC 28645
featuring the artwork of Caldwell
County Visual Art Instructors
Margaret Carter Martine,
Susan Sharpe and Dabney Smith
New York artist (formerly Lenoir resident)
and rural Wyoming artist (formerly Hickory resident)
March 1, 5-7pm
"Working Women," an oxymoron at best, is an exhibit that celebrates the determination to create art by three women who are full-time visual art educators in the Caldwell County Public Schools (Margaret Carter Martine, Susan Sharpe and Dabney Smith). The range of themes, styles and media varies in this collection of artwork. They live what they teach, and are passionate about art making.
In our upstairs gallery, "Place And Space" will feature the artwork of Mary Dobbin and Bobbi Miller.
The significance of place and space becomes abundantly important when one physically moves to a new location, especially if the current environment is vastly different from the last. Both Mary Dobbin and Bobbi Miller have experienced the emotional and artistic reactions of being shaped by new landscapes, new cities and new people. Mary's move from Lenoir NC to New York City and Bobbi's move from Hickory NC to rural Wyoming have underscored how the geography of the artistic mind mirrors the geography of the earth, its structures and inhabitants. Their latest artwork reflects this relationship. And, the uniqueness of the work echoes the shared experience of gaining aesthetic strength through separate, expatriate-like journeys.
Artwork by Margaret Carter Martine
Margaret says "For many years I have been speaking through my art about people who have influenced and interested me as well as my concerns about the disappearing landscape/farmlands. Sometimes I paint on non-traditional surfaces to play with space or to emphasize a point. The painting "Nightmares" is an oil painting on a double mattress that depicts my husband, a Vietnam Veteran. Currently I am working on anothe rmattress of a WWII Veteran. Painting on blocks of wood is challenging and also gives the viewer a glimpse as to how a painting done in this manner can give a whole different appearance when changing locations at viewing the work. Several of the landscapes include play money as part of the piece and are called my "Pay Per View/Paper View" series. North Carolina loses approxmiately 382 acres of farmland a day. I find this loss appalling. Several years ago my art students built 5-6' houses to block my landscape paintings and created an environment for discussion as it appeared I had put on an anti-art show. Art is an interesting journey and should initiate questions, discussions and also an appreciation for the added visual voice."
Artwork by Susan Sharpe
Susan Sharpe teaches visual arts at Gamewell Elementary School. Susan says "In these works in handmade felt, I explore some of the expressive possibilities of fiber and felting. By blending wool, alpaca, mohair, and silk in wet felting processes, I find a variety of texture and color effects are possible. The process of felting involves layering fibers that are then interlocked with heat and pressure, resulting in a fabric construct that is neither woven or knitted. I find that these natural materials and direct process of felting readily lend themselves to translation into landscape imagery. I find inspiration in the inner as well as the outer landscape, with the resulting images being somewhat abstract. I also find inspiration in the materials themselves, with their inherent natural qualities of color and texture providing a broad range of expression and ideas."
Artwork by Dabney Smith
Dabney Smith, art teacher at Davenport Elementary, says "Visual art has always been a big part of my life, a source of joy and confidence. I grew up in Durham NC, and then attended the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore where I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree. Perhaps the most memorable and influential experiences of my college career were the three summers studying Plein Air Painting in Greece, Italy and Canada. I enjoy travel and gain inspiration through the surrounding landscapes, people and cultures. For the past seven years, I have enjoyed teaching elementary school visual arts classes in Lenoir, NC. This year, I earned National Board Certification in teaching early to middle childhood art. I love teaching, making and discussing art all day with creative children, and devoting summers to creating my own art. I work primarily in oil and watercolor, and recently also in photography. In all three media, I use strong color, bold contrast, and dynamic compositions."
Artwork by Mary Dobbin
While living and painting in Caldwell County, I often explored the mountain landscape or wooded backyard as a backdrop for my interior and still life paintings. My subjects included fruits, flowers, and everyday objects arranged on tables and placed before a background of the natural world of trees and mountains.
Since moving to New York City, I have been working on a series of still life paintings with a view of the Manhattan skyline across the East River as my new backdrop. Now that the painting background has become more complex, I have simplified the interior foreground, but continue to use some of my favorite still life objects such as African sculptures, North Carolina pottery, and jars of honey.
In addition to this series, I am also making collages of New York, and painting on location around the city. Some of these works will also be included in this exhibit.
Artwork by Bobbi Miller
Observing and drawing from the landscape, as well as from indigenous wildlife, is an opportunity provided by living in “America’s Serengeti.”
My sketchbooks are filled with images of the Wyoming landscape, rendered in various mediums, including pen and ink, watercolor and pastel. A love of books honors maintaining the images in book formats.
Plein air drawing has segued into larger works. However, the love of the out-of-doors and of drawing remains a constant meditative journey that reflects the solitude and serenity of life in rural Wyoming.
All examples were completed on site and are of a location now well known to me, the environment in Wyoming where I reside.
In these images, I attempt to move beyond anonymity of the seen alone. The landscape motif becomes both referential and symbolic, reflecting the engagement between nature and human nature.