This year, we are more anxious than ever to see spring rise from the dead of a winter. Months of isolation and restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic have accentuated “the normal tiring of a winter lifestyle,” says Carol Story, who is coordinating a new mixed media exhibition at the Artists Collective | Spartanburg.
“Celebrating Spring: A Dialogue of Hope” opens March 2 in the organization’s Gallery II and Gallery III. The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, runs through March 27.
“A phrase from a poem by Alexander Pope – ‘hope springs eternal’ – suggests that it is human nature always to find fresh cause for optimism,” says Story, a member artist who will exhibit some of her paintings in the show. “The changing of seasons from winter to spring seems to be that for most of us. Cold weather to warmer, dark and dreary days to brighter sunshine, dormant plants to colorful blooms, Lenten fasting to Easter feasting.”
Story says the idea of the exhibit came from “a collective voice from members to have an exhibit that said ‘spring.’ I think this comes out of not only the months of isolation and restrictions from the Covid pandemic, but also the normal tiring of a winter lifestyle.”
The show will present works by 13 two-dimensional artists (paintings, drawings and photography) and six members who make pottery and glass (vases and plant containers). Most of the works will be available for purchase.
Participating artists are: Wadi Cantrell (mixed media), Amanda Dawkins (mixed media), Patrick DeCrane (painting, drawing), Craig Denesha (painting), John Lever (photography), Judy Martin (fused glass), Janis McElligott (painting), Sydney McMath (painting), Ruza Pocivavsek (pottery), Chuck Reback (photography), Beth Regula (drawing), Carol Story (painting), Brandi Tucker (painting), Sally Webber (clay work), Jim Webber (clay work), Joan Wheatley (clay work), Nancy Williamson (ceramics), Patti Wright (photography) and Tom Zumbach (fused glass).
“Each piece is one artist’s statement of personal hope,” Story says. “Works will include expressions of joy in creation, the cycle of life, spring’s seasonal awakening, containers to display spring blossoms, etc. We hope that, together, they will elicit a positive response in each viewer … possibly flipping their mental and emotional calendars to anticipate spring with emotions of hope and celebration. Just as we look forward to buried bulbs and dormant bushes springing forth in vibrant color, we trust that this show will inspire visitors to stroll through Hatcher Garden, pull out those seed catalogs or place their binoculars on the windowsill to watch the robins.
“We hope visitors to the exhibit will see the ability to flip one’s mental and emotional calendar forward to consider the hope which comes with another spring,” Story says. “While individual works or the show as a whole speaks a message of expectation, the dialogue comes from the viewer’s response, as spirits are lifted by the prospect of new beginnings.
“This will be a very diverse exhibit, with both literal and figurative depictions, photographic realism and subjective pieces,” she continues, “all to express the assurance that brighter days are ahead. It represents the voice of optimism from the members of the Artists Collective, as we look ahead to the future.”