Art exhibits at the library draw interest

By Page H. Gifford

For the first time, the Fluvanna County Public Library featured two art shows simultaneously. The Fluvanna Art Association had its annual spring show and for a second year in a row the library exhibited its Tiny Art Show.

Fluvanna Art Association exhibit

For the first time in its 48-year history, the FAA had a theme show rather than a judged open show. It had never been tried in the past since members had balked at the restriction of their creative freedoms. But current members brainstormed ideas for themes and decided on the decade of the 1960s.

It was a decade defined by an emerging counterculture, war, civil rights, and space exploration. The ‘60s were a time of transition and revolution. The idea of having a theme show was met with resistance yet being challenged by an idea as broad as the decade of the 1960s also prompted enthusiasm and amazing results.

Many of the artists were teenagers who experienced it and some were children in elementary school who lived through it. Jim Wilkin took a breath before recalling those tumultuous times. His shadowbox, plastered with civil rights icons and headlines was the backdrop for a carved wooden hippie, complete with a guitar and peace sign. This was probably the most iconic symbol of the evolution of society.

Linda Bethke’s You’re Going to San Francisco was also a comment on the counterculture with her wild and colorful iconic hippie in sunglasses and flower power in a painted montage of symbols of that era. Similarly, Jane Prete’s Nirvana looked at the spiritual side of things with a woman meditating and engulfed in bold color. Maria Frescas’ mosaic Here Comes The Sun was the connection between symbolism and spirituality of the time. Paul Stams sepia colored photo of a group of young people harkens back to a moment of idealism.

His wife, Diane Wilkin, did something a little different. She built a time capsule out of a framed picture she had made as a child of her home in Trenton, N.J. In a linked video, she tells her story of growing up as a child during the ‘60s, reminiscing about family fun but also about the conversations and tragedies of those times, particularly those who didn’t make it home from Vietnam.

Though the war was a sore point, a couple of artists used it as their choice to represent the decade, complete with peace signs, including Elaine Bergman’s Brothers in Arms. Erika Mitchell deviated from painting and did a three-dimensional piece with a helicopter.

Page Gifford, who was a child during the decade, saw it through fashion, with bright colors, go-go boots, and miniskirts. Ande Kirchenheiter went for the Volkswagen bus in all its bold colors in her Cruising Through The Sixties and Linda Napier’s lava lamps.

Music and art were a large part of a changing society and influenced much of it. Marcie Stahl’s collage focused on music with The Beatles traveling on a colorful bus, blooming flowers, and Woodstock in her Flower Power. Susan Edginton parodied Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup cans with her version of film in Reel Fun Finish. Alice Walcovich’s black-and-white optical illusion is reminiscent of pop art in the ‘60s. Other artists, like Maria Carter, had an explosion of multi colors on a canvas resembling a huge flower.

The moon landing was a popular event and a few artists approached it in unique ways. Janet Rugari had a lone astronaut in a NASA suit standing on the moon as a shooting star moves through space behind him, headed for Earth in A Celestial Event. Amy Jeangeunat took the subjective view of seeing it from the perspective of the astronaut through his helmet. Another piece showed the moon landing in a different way with a corrugated board and different angles.

All the artists who participated shared their memories and experiences through unique perspectives and creative minds. The FAA looks forward to having similar exhibits in the future.

The exhibit runs until June 20.

Tiny Art Show

Many of the artists who participated in the FAA-themed exhibit contributed pieces to the tiny art show in the main library. Janet Rugari had one display she put together with a variety of subjects from birds to still lifes.

“I enjoy doing them,” she said. It is gratifying when an artist experiences joy in their work.

The other adult artists were set up on one side of a large table, with their tiny works on easels and tiny little onlookers gazing at the work. The smaller scale had just as much of an impact as the larger works. FAA member Jan Taylor did two pieces, Flower 1 and Flower 2, both an explosion of color. Longtime FAA member Windy Payne featured a soothing landscape in her Blue Ridge Sunrise while Marie Lavin showed off bright eye-popping colors in Mini Woods. Ann Nalveaiko painted a tranquil lake and Linda Mullin poured a splash of color.

On the other side was the work of tweens and teens. It was a good effort by all the kids and some like Marie Kenney’s cow in Happy Boy and Blossoming Moonlight Night by Mikayla Shifflet were outstanding. Andrew Clough’s Christmas Gnome was colorful and fun and Space by Savion was well executed. This exhibit will run until the end of May.

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