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More than 90 works of art hang in second annual WAC exhibit

WAC ‘convenes’ visual artists for regional showcase by Becca Martin-Brown | October 23, 2022 at 1:00 a.m.
On the Cover: “Offworld,” by artist Aaron Bleidt of Fayetteville, is representative of his work in freehand digital drawing and printmaking “Generally drawn to a minimalist aesthetic, my artworks intend to convey a thought, object, situational experience or emotion in the simplest and most direct way possible,” he says. “I also want to give viewers boldness and color and depth, but only enough information to inspire a sense of wonder or relatable introspection, and to open a door for the viewer to fall down their own little contemplative rabbit hole.” (Courtesy Image/Aaron Bleidt)


Bentonville artist Jan Waldon was the first to submit to the second annual "Our Art, Our Region, Our Time" exhibition, on display through Nov. 14 in the Joy Pratt Markham Gallery at the Walton Arts Center.

And exhibition curator Kathy Thompson knew immediately she wanted to include Waldon's artworks in the showcase of Northwest Arkansas' new and iconic creatives.

"She does cross-stitching on old photographs," Thompson explains. "She said the world was so crazy, she had to stitch it back together."

Like many of the new artists selected, Waldon was influenced by the biggest event of 2020-21.

"The covid-19 pandemic and lockdown inspired me to create art," the Bentonville artist explains. "It was a peaceful and creative outlet during a time of great fear and anxiety.

"By embellishing with thread onto paper, I bring new and different memories to otherwise discarded images. Sewing onto paper is slow, meticulous and therapeutic."

"We looked at her entry, looked at each other and said, 'This is going to work,'" Thompson remembers.

"Our Art, Our Region, Our Time" was initiated in 2021, in part to mark the 30th anniversary of the Walton Arts Center.

"There were a lot of different ideas tossed around, and Peter [Lane, WAC CEO] asked me to do research on a retrospective of every artist who had been in the gallery and get selections from them," remembers Jason Smith, director of executive administration, classical music and special initiatives for WAC. "The words were barely done being spoken when I said we would serve our community better if we did a regional art show.

"The art community has always wanted WAC to be that hub. We are a beautiful convener," he goes on. "People come here and come together to participate in the arts -- to watch performances, to listen to music. We've been missing that place for visual arts and visual artists to come together."

In the exhibition's first year, more than 200 submissions were received and about 75 of them were displayed. This year, there was "a 55% increase in participation from our last call for art," Thompson says, for a total of more than 90 works selected. Working with Smith, the pair discovered that as happened in 2021, "themes of isolation and self-reflection are still strong among the works, but this year the size and scale of the individual art works are much larger." Also, she adds, "we noticed so many faces in this work, almost as though people were unveiling themselves in a way."

Diversity was also a big goal for the exhibition, and both Smith and Thompson feel like that benchmark was reached.

"This is a reaffirming kind of show, because it shows you that so many different kinds of people and different ages, from different places in Northwest Arkansas, consider this their community," Smith says.

"The overarching feeling I took away from [the opening reception] is how happy everybody was -- they were almost ecstatic to be there, looking at the art. It is so reaffirming -- life affirming," Thompson says.

"I think it also had a lot to do with people feeling like because it's such a huge diversity of age, race, gender, gender identity, everything, when people walk into that gallery, they feel like they belong," Smith adds. "It's not elitist, not preachy -- there is something for absolutely every person to connect to."

  photo  “Painted Bluffs, Buffalo Point” Artist: Cate McCoy of Fayetteville Fiber art “I began this project as an artist-in-residence at Lucky Star Farm, located in the Historical Rush District. While on the farm, I assisted in planting indigo plants and utilizing the fresh leaves for dyeing natural fibers like raw silk (the river) and on linen for hapizome (along the river bank). I incorporated the organic green cotton grown on the farm and used upcycled clothing, eco-dyed natural fabrics, thread and paint. Quilting, free motion stitching and confetti quilting were some of the sewing techniques used.”
 
 
  photo  “Hoodoos in the Fog on Petit Jean” Artist: Daniel Coston of Fayetteville Acrylic paint “I enjoy re-creating things I have seen over the years. My work is a kind of augmented memory. The scene may depict a Natural State setting but also what people have done to the land … old home places, barns and cotton gins. I paint Arkansas as it was and as it is … now.”
 
 
  photo  “First Nation Bartender: Roland Pinault” Artist: Chuck Davis of Rogers Photography using historical methods of image capture “I’m happy the Walton Arts Center show is hanging as we celebrate Indigenous People’s Day (instead of Columbus Day) as my most recent work reflects upon the soil we stand on and the land we occupy.”
 
 
  photo  “Quince & Berries” Artist: Derek Scott of Bentonville Oil & charcoal “I am a self-taught artist who simply loves the creative process. Period. My goal is to share my interpretation of everyday objects, using light and its effect on that composition to keep the viewer’s attention and interest.”
 
 
  photo  “Poison Berries of Arkansas” Artist: Mark Jackson of Fayetteville Photography using a proprietary silver and ink suspension technique “A lot of work goes into taking these images to large scale. Handwork, multiple applications of all kinds of layers. It happens in the camera when I shoot it, it happens in the light that I put on the subject, and there’s work that goes into making the actual popsicles themselves. I molded and created each popsicle just for this shoot and shot them in my studio. I love the idea that our daily consumption of common things is contaminated with dangerous artifacts around us.”
 
 
  photo  “Communion” Artist: Joelle Storet of Fayetteville Acrylic and pastel “Growing up in Belgium exposed me to a wide array of comic books which the country is known for … Avant-garde portraiture from influences like these stuck with me. a portrait of a family friend of my grandmother’s at church in the then occupied Belgian-Congo, an homage to my roots.”
 
 
  photo  “Dupatta #9” Artist: Shabana Kauser of Fayetteville Oil on canvas “Along with ornate, precisely-rendered jewelry, the Dupatta, a traditional scarf worn in South Asian countries, permeates portraits, referencing not only my personal journey, but those of past, present, and future generations of immigrants. Influenced by my shared experiences as the daughter of Pakistani immigrants, and as an immigrant myself to the United States, my detailed portraits of South Asian immigrant women explore memories of cultural, social, and economic transition.”
 
 
  photo  “Because I Wanted To” Artist: Kinya Christian of Springdale Acrylic, enamel, oil, watercolor, fabrics, digital graphics “My work is reflective of my experience as a Black woman and what gives me life. I often work very quickly, obsessively, until I empty my thoughts with color. My expressions are layered, bright, and seasoned—they keep me balanced as I navigate a world that has long ignored my struggle, my worth, and my voice as a Black woman. I wish for my artistic works and creative endeavors to educate, enlighten and engage.”
 
 
  photo  “What Would John Do? A Self Portrait” Artist: John Rankine of Eureka Springs Mixed media collage “It’s a tongue-in-cheek self portrait of me as my own savior. So often the church has used its pulpit and Bible to attack the LGBTQ community. I cut out the words from a children’s book, ‘The Story Of Jesus’ and rearranged and pasted them to make my own story of self love and empowerment.”
 
 
  photo    
  photo  “Golden Tears” Artist: JooEun Seo of Fayetteville Linocut printmaking “I used black and gold inks to represent the tears that are experienced through motherhood. All mothers experience tears of joy, sorrow, and hardship throughout the journey to raise our children to be the best that they can be.”
 
 
  photo    
  photo  “Sandbox” Artist: Susan Idlet of Fayetteville Colored pencil “My work is all about clear, intense color. I scrub my pencils down to their nubs. I receive inspiration from photographs and phrases/words, and my pencils are often drawn to the humorous side. I like my work to surprise folks and sometimes bring a smile — with a heavy dose of saturated color.”
 
 
  photo  “Fragile/Strong No. 1, Grip” Artist: Tim Walker of Fayetteville Oil on canvas “This painting is one from a series I’ve been working on exploring the contrast between archetypal symbols of strength and fragility, and questioning the validity of our assumptions about those qualities and the way society often assigns them to gender. The idea for the series began when I inherited some of my father’s tools, so I suppose they serve as talismans in some sense, too, helping me revisit feelings about how my relationship with him may have shaped me.”
 
 
  photo  Bentonville artist Jan Waldon was the first to submit to the second annual “Our Art, Our Region, Our Time” exhibition. “By embellishing with thread onto paper, I bring new and different memories to otherwise discarded images. Sewing onto paper is slow, meticulous and therapeutic,” she says. (Courtesy Image/WAC)
 
 
  photo  Bentonville artist Jan Waldon was the first to submit to the second annual “Our Art, Our Region, Our Time” exhibition. “By embellishing with thread onto paper, I bring new and different memories to otherwise discarded images. Sewing onto paper is slow, meticulous and therapeutic,” she says. (Courtesy Image/WAC)
 
 
  photo  Bentonville artist Jan Waldon was the first to submit to the second annual “Our Art, Our Region, Our Time” exhibition. “By embellishing with thread onto paper, I bring new and different memories to otherwise discarded images. Sewing onto paper is slow, meticulous and therapeutic,” she says. (Courtesy Image/WAC)
 
 
  photo  “Hello Dolly” Artist: Zeek Taylor of Eureka Springs Acrylic, watercolor, and mixed media “I create art with the intent to bring beauty and joy to our world, especially during these troubling times. If nothing else, I hope my art brings a smile to all who view it. The cutout painted character inside the box is Dolly Parton, one of my heroes. This is the third in my shadow box hero series that also includes John Lennon and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
 
 

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‘Our Art, Our Region, Our Time’

WHEN — Through Nov. 14; gallery hours are noon-2 p.m. weekdays and 1 hour before and during intermission of all performances

WHERE — Walton Arts Center’s Joy Pratt Markham Gallery

COST — Free

INFO — 443-5600; waltonartscenter.org

 


Print Headline: Our Art, This Time

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