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Carroll County Times

Arts Council warms up with 'Spring Fresh' exhibit

Offering a respite from the seemingly unending winter weather, Carroll Arts Center opened the "Spring Fresh" exhibit in the Tevis Gallery Tuesday, with an artists reception scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

The exhibit features spring-themed pieces from seven artists with both local and international backgrounds. Artwork includes both realistic depictions of spring weather and abstract pieces reflecting the season.

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Susan Williamson, visual arts coordinator with the Carroll County Arts Council, said that in curating the show, she inadvertently created an exhibit with international flavor. Of the seven artists, only two were born and raised in America. Other artists originally hail from Nova Scotia, Chile, Mexico, Greece and England.

Lesley Giles said living in London has influenced her work as much as any early life experience, but it isn't a major factor.

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"I trained for seven years in London and I had worked there my whole life. That has to have an effect," Giles said. "But everything is so international now, and we see so much work of different artists that the influences have blended. My work is very colorful, so when I was displaying in London, people used to say to me, 'Are you sure you're English?'"

Williamson said she discovered Canadian artist Andrea Pottyondy's work through Facebook.

"I saw her work, and I liked her - I really liked her. She's a prolific painter, a Canadian national treasure," Williamson said. "I sent her a Facebook message and she said she would love to have her work in our gallery."

Pottyondy said she jumps at the chance to have her work shown in new places.

"Art has no bounds," Pottyondy said. "There's a plan to Skype me into the show, which is another way to bring social media into the occasion."

Williamson said social media has changed the art world, particularly in curating and promoting exhibits.

"All the artists post on Facebook that their artwork is going to be here, and that's an audience we can't normally reach," Williamson said. "I send out an email blast; we have postcards, but all of a sudden there's this Facebook that allows us to reach so many more people."

Pottyondy produced acrylic and mixed-media pieces with a floral theme for the show. She said she includes objects such as old newspapers and other items to add to the texture of her art.

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"I'm already a spring person. To me, spring means hope, eternal life and joy," Pottyondy said. "I have a motto, and it is that art is beauty. It's a healer, and I'm trying to find ways to incorporate that into my work."

Mount Airy artist Leah Spencer's art consists of Maori-influenced abstractions. Spencer said she began her work under the influence of winter weather.

"There's a piece, 'Snow Globe,' that came about while I was watching the snow swirling around me, so I painted that, abstractly," Spencer said. "That was the first piece I made, but as I progressed, each piece began to have more color."

Giles, who currently lives on the Eastern Shore, will be displaying semi-realistic paintings of springtime washing lines.

"This is normally the season of complete optimism and happiness, but I look out the window now and we're blanketed in snow," Giles said. "I want to capture the warmth and vitality of spring."

Williamson said she anticipates this may be one of the gallery's more popular shows.

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"People are just hungry for warmth and color," Williamson said. "It's been a long, long, long winter, and I think it's time for a fresh start."


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