‘Real Women’ Show Paintings in Benedict

| March 28, 2011
An opening reception and gallery talk by the artists of “Real Women Who Paint: Five Artists” will be held at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31 in Benedict Gallery at Sweet Briar College. Works by area painters Janet Dance, Cheryl Hawkins, Kaye Lipscomb, Kelly Mattox and Nancy McDearmon will be on view through May 23.
“Through the Woods Series” by Kelly Mattox

“Through the Woods Series” by Kelly Mattox. Click for more images.

The exhibition features recent work by a group of painters from the Amherst-Lynchburg area who participate in a critique group led by Ron Boehmer. The artists, says Karol Lawson, director of the College’s art collection and galleries, come from “varied walks of life and have come to painting from many different routes, but they share a professional devotion to their craft and produce remarkably fresh and vibrant work.”

Dance says her paintings have “gradually become intimate statements with special focus on rocks, trees and stream-side passages that could be overlooked as insignificant.” It is her hope, she says, that close examination of such subjects creates a “resonance in my painting that effectively depicts, simultaneously, my appreciation for the quiet moments in life and my fascination with the act of painting.”

Hawkins has exhibited her work locally, studied with artists from Lynchburg to France, and shared her passion for painting as a teacher in the local community. Her paintings often feature subjects she can connect with, she says — for example, the cows she grown to know on her husband’s family farm.

“For me, it’s all about relationships,” Hawkins says. “How I relate to the subject, how the colors relate to each other, and how the composition relates to what I am trying to say.”

For Lipscomb, “the act of painting is an interaction of color, shape and composition, which are simultaneously experimental and instructive.” Although each piece may start from a common element such as shape or surface treatment, “once begun the painting has a voice and I try to listen,” she says.

Mattox, owner of the Avenue Arts Studio Gallery in Lynchburg, describes her experience with artwork as an extension of her personality, and notes that her works always share the common themes of energy, excitement in color, and movement.

“The manipulation and harmony of these components is what intrigues me,” Mattox says. “My continuous pursuit is to explore, experiment and develop my artistic interpretations of the landscape and organic forms.”

She leaves the interpretation of her paintings up to the viewer. “Only you can decide if this is a solitary walk or if the Big Bad Wolf is behind the tree,” she says.

McDearmon is the registrarial assistant for Sweet Briar galleries. Like the others, she too has exhibited locally and regionally. Those familiar with her plein-air landscapes in oils may not immediately recognize the creator of the works in this show, she says.

The paintings evolved from highly decorated hand-carved miniature snakes that she made during a difficult time in which she needed a way to keep her hands busy and her mind focused. Boehmer encouraged her to “devise a way to make them on canvas,” McDearmon said.

“I have experimented with a number of products to build the surface — some successes, some failures. … They have allowed me to explore three dimensions on a 2-D surface. Somewhere in the carving of sticks and building of surfaces I relax into the simply joy of making art,” she says in her artist statement.

“Real Women Who Paint: Five Artists” will be on display in Benedict Gallery March 31 through May 23. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Admission is free. For more information, e-mail [email protected] or call (434) 381-6248.

Category: Art Galleries, Studio Art, Uncategorized