Local art lovers are in luck Thursday, Sept. 8, as three of Carroll County's galleries open up their new exhibits for the fall. Nearly every form of artwork has a place in this trio of shows, from visiting artists to local creators, and standard gallery work to experimental sculptures.
Pouring Over: New Works by Jillian Schley
Philadelphia-based artist Jillian Schley will premiere her new body of work in her first Maryland show at this exhibit hosted in the Gallery in the Scott Center at Carroll Community College. Schley's work consists of acrylic and latex paint poured into abstract sculptural forms on top of canvas, transforming paintings from a two-dimensional medium into 3-D.
"I think a lot about the history of painting and its relationship with the works I'm making," Schley said. "I'm making and breaking those rules. It's all very nicely backed on canvas, so even though it looks very whimsical or off-kilter, there's still this nice backing behind it."
The exhibit features these colorful painted pieces placed in unique locations around the space — with some pieces sitting on the floor in front of blank gallery walls, while others hide in the corners of the room. Gallery Director Jessi Hardesty said she was drawn to Schley's work because of the sense of joy.
"There's kind of an abandon to the work, where the artist is very aware of the materials, but is also not exerting a control freak mentality," Hardesty said. "She's creating happy accidents, happy flows and following the material wherever it goes."
Schley said each piece can take weeks or even months to finish. She said she tries to approach each sculpture individually, allowing paint to dry before deciding where to take the piece next.
"A lot of play goes into the work, and there's a lot of humor in the work," Schley said. "I hope people walk away thinking about the world a little differently and see what play can bring into their own work."
Carroll County Artists Guild: Annual Member Exhibition
Each year, members of the Carroll County Artists Guild begin the fall by displaying their work in the Great Hall at Carroll Community College. According to Guild Director Felisa Flecker, this year saw an increased turnout of submissions, with more than double the amount of artists interested in showing off their work.
"In previous years, the artists were interested, but not as much as in this year," Flecker said. "It was kind of overwhelming. I had to narrow it down because there was so much interest in the show."
The show features a variety of pieces of two-dimensional art from abstract paintings to portraits of animals. Flecker said it's vital for artists of every level to have an opportunity to exhibit their work.
"When you're working in art, it can be easy to feel insecure in what you're doing," Flecker said. "When you do a show like this, you're exposing your art to the public and showing what you can do. If you need assurance, you can hear from other people about what's working in your work."
Flecker has two abstract pieces hanging in the show: "Summer Rhapsody" and "Psychedelic Dream." Flecker said "Summer Rhapsody" is inspired by the music she listens to while creating, while "Psychedelic Dream" represents a branching out into work that expands beyond her normal interests. Flecker said it's important at shows like this to experiment and push yourself.
"I'm always trying to push the artists a little bit sometimes out of their comfort zone," Flecker said. "I'm almost always trying to make them feel good about what they're doing. I don't want them to be hesitant. This is the best way to encourage people."
Carroll County Arts Council Member Show
If you can't get enough of Carroll County artists with the guild show, hop in your car and head to Main Street in Westminster as the Arts Council hosts its 14th annual member show in all three galleries of the Carroll Arts Center. The show features 173 entries from council members, with some returning for the 14th time while others are exhibiting in their first members show, according to Susan Williamson, visual arts coordinator.
There are no content restrictions for the members show, with art taking nearly every form from two-dimensional paintings, drawings and photographs, to sculptures, to jewelry to furniture. Williamson said multiple artists have submitted felting projects, where wool fibers are worked by hand to form together to create a solid piece.
"You have these dyed wool fibers, and start with these big collections, and work it with soap and hands. There's no easy way to do it," Williamson said. "That big pile of wool becomes something small and beautiful. It's a wonderful medium."
One of the largest pieces is a full metal-work and glass table created by blacksmith Nick Vincent. The table features an Eastern Shore-inspired bottom with metal worked crabs and grasses. Williamson said she hopes that piece is able to find a home with someone who loves it. She said that while not every piece will sell at the members show, presence in the show can lead to other opportunities.
"Things don't always sell here, but often another gallery director will come in, and like someone's art and offer them a show," Williamson said. "Every year it gets better. The artists are always getting better, and every year we get new artists in. It's a great time to get new art, invest in art and support local artists."
If You Go
What: "Pouring Over: New Works by Jillian Schley" reception
When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8.
Where: Gallery in the Scott Center, Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Road, Westminster
What: Carroll County Artists Guild exhibit
When: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday until Friday, Oct. 7.
Where: Babylon Great Hall Gallery, Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Road, Westminster
What: Carroll County Arts Council Members Show opening reception
When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8
Where: Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main St., Westminster
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For more information: Visit www.carrollartscenter.org.