Area artists included in 2012 Small Works on Paper exhibit

CAROL ROLF Contributing Writer Published January 15, 2012 at 3:05 a.m.
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— Works of art can be any size, from miniature to large and all sizes in between. Some of the smaller pieces of art - no larger than 24-by-24-inches - are featured in the 2012 Small Works on Paper exhibit currently on display at the William F. Laman Library, 2801 Orange St. in North Little Rock.

Seven artists from the River Valley & Ozark Edition coverage area have works in that display, which ends Jan. 29, then will move to National Park Community College in Hot Springs. Those artists are Neal Harrington and his wife, Tammy Harrington, both of Russellville; Benjamin Krain of Maumelle; Dennis McCann and his son, Jason McCann, both of Maumelle; Charlotte Bailey Rierson of Fairfield Bay; and Rachel Trusty of Perryville, formerly of Russellville.

The art will be on display in 10 galleries throughout the state in a yearlong touring show. The exhibit will visit the University of Central Arkansas in Conway on Aug. 23-S ept. 27. The 2012 show features 40 works, which were selected by juror Marcia Goldenstein, a professor of drawing and painting at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, from 246 submissions.

Neal Harrington, Dennis McCann and Jason McCann each received a purchase award from the Arkansas Ar ts C ouncil, w hich has sponsored the show for 25 years. Harrington received $400 for his reduction lithograph China Red (Tammy). Dennis McCann received $500 for his pastel East 18th. Jason McCann received $400 for his mixed media Man and Dog. These purchase-award pieces, funded by entry fees and equivalent to the value of the selected works, will become part of the exhibition’s permanent collection.

Neal Harrington

“I’ve been in this show several times - thankfully,” said Neal Harrington, an associate professor of art at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville and director of Norman Hall Gallery at the school. “It’s a bonus that I won an award.”

Harrington teaches printmaking. He praised the show.

“It’s a good show and always done well,” he said. “It’s competitive, and that’s a plus. It also travels throughout the state, so it can be seen by a lot of people. I’ve had students tell me that they have seen my work in this show and that is what brought them to Tech.”

Harrington’s work in the current show features his wife, Tammy. He said this is the first time he has used the reduction lithography technique.

“I am very happy with the results,” he said. “I first printed it in black and white and then decided to use the color red on it. Red is a very lucky color, and it reflects Tammy’s Chinese heritage.”

Neal Harrington normally creates giant woodcuts.

Dennis McCann

Dennis McCann’s artwork has been in the Small Works on Paper exhibit many times throughout the years. This year’s painting is yet another reflection of his childhood in the Levy area of North Little Rock.

“I’m sometimes criticized because many of my paintings are void of people,” he said. “My main deal has always been to concentrate on light and shadows. I’ve not consciously omitted figures from my work; they just simply are not there.”

This year’s entry is one of those paintings that is void of figures.

Dennis McCann is starting a new series of paintings, this time concentrating on figurative pieces.

“One of my most recent paintings features a family standing in front of an open storefront on Beale Street in Memphis,” he said. “These new paintings will have all the elements I am interested in - light, shadows, architecture and, now, figures.”

Dennis McCann holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art and a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He is a captain with the Little Rock Fire Department, nearing 30 years of service, the last several years spent in fire prevention and community outreach. He thought seriously about retiring last year but has put that “on hold” for a while, he said.

Tammy Harrington

Tammy Harrington, whose parents immigrated to the United States from China, created a self-portrait for her entry in the Small Works on Paper exhibit. Titled Yin (Tammy), it is a charcoal drawing and paper cut.

“In my art, I am exploring the impact cross-cultural influences (Chinese and American) have had upon my development and growth,” she writes in an artist’s statement. “Each cultural is equally influential, yet they are both so different from each other. My work is very personal, so I have chosen self-portraiture as the most direct and appropriate way to investigate this theme. I use symbolic color, pattern and iconography to represent the two cultures. My work uses this combination of figure, color, pattern and the mix of real and flattened space.”

Tammy Harrington is an associate professor of art at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, where she teaches two-dimensional art - drawing, printmaking and photography - “anything that is flat,” she said with a smile. She said the drawing in the show (theYin/feminine) was created to pair with a drawing of her husband, who is the Yang/masculine.

Her work has appeared in the Small Works on Paper exhibit “two or three times,” she said. “It’s really an honor to be in it.” Jason McCann

Jason McCann began working on his award-winning piece during art classes that he teaches at Little Rock Central High School.

“While my students worked on their class assignments last fall, I began working on this piece,” he said. “I had taken photos and had planned for this to be a large painting, but that never really worked out. I always liked it; it has a loose unfinished quality about it. It even has a drop of paint in it that doesn’t really belong, and that would drive my dad nuts.

“Maybe that’s a form of rebellion,” McCann said with a laugh.

Benjamin Krain

Benjamin Krain, a staff photographer for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 1996, chose a photo of his son, Brady, as his entry to the exhibit. Titled The Boy, the portrait was taken this summer with an iPhone.

“I took it and then processed it with several apps, including a texture and border layer from King Camera and Decim8,” Krain said.

Krain has had his work in the Small Works on Paper exhibit several times in the past.

“I enter current work every year in the Arkansas Arts Council Small Works on Paper exhibition and the Arkansas Arts Center Delta exhibition,” he said. “I’ve had great success being accepted in both of these almost every year for five or six years in a row now.

“It is a chance for me to let the public see personal work other than what is published in the newspaper every day.”Charlotte Bailey Rierson

Charlotte Bailey Rierson works mostly in watercolors and acrylics. It is one of her watercolors - Winter Mysteries Series #V - that is featured in this year’s Small Works on Paper exhibit.

“I think the winters we have can be dark and mysterious, which was my motivation to paint this painting,” she said. “I have a beautiful winter view of Greers Ferry Lake, where I live, and wanted to capture it in sepia and the white of the watercolor paper.”

Rierson said this is the fourth year her work has been accepted into the Small Works on Paper exhibit.

“I received the purchase award one year [for a work] that is now in the permanent collection,” she said.

Rachel Trusty

Rachel Trusty, a native of Russellville, is the daughter of Lola Roberts of Russellville and the late Dan Trusty. She teaches art history at Benton High School and Benton Middle School and lives in Perryville.

This is her first time to be featured in the Small Workson Paper exhibit.

“This is the first time I entered,” she said with a smile.

She entered three pieces, and the judge chose a gesso on magazine image titled The Walker.

“A collage, of sorts” is how Trusty described her work.

“It’s part of an experimental series I did in 2010 in which I worked with the negative space in magazine photos,” Trusty said. “I isolated single images or figures on a magazine page and whited out or repainted the background in oil paint. The Walker was my most successful piece from the series, and, ironically, the most simply constructed.

“It has only a white background. While the original magazine page was filled with other images, the single figure at the bottom of the page stands out once isolated. This ends with the haunting image of a woman walking into the blankness.”

She is beginning her sixth year of teaching. “If I can teach art, then I’m a happy camp er,” she said with a smile.

Hours for the Small Works on Paper exhibit at the Laman Library are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday;9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free.

To view the complete 2012 touring schedule and the list of all the artists whose work was selected, visit www.arkansasarts.com/programs/swop.aspx .