The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Life!

April 3, 2013

Art squared: Beckley artists impress in pairs with new exhibit

BECKLEY — How much do Beckley photographer Ron Bailey and his wife, Patricia, love Italy? Molto, you might say.

“The food, the culture, the art. Other than the politics, there’s not much about Italy we don’t enjoy,” Bailey reveals.

Bailey, vice president of Beckley Art Group, was enamored with Italy from a high school trip, a desire that, like his love for the lens, he returned to in adulthood.

“My passion for photography started in elementary school with pinhole cameras and science projects.”

While the treasurer/director of operations for Mabscott Supply all but abandoned his art in college to indulge the left half of his brain, a 2006 return trip to Italy energized him right round again with breathtaking landscapes and contemplative cityscapes, his favorite photography subjects.

He and Patricia returned to Italy in 2012, encountering once more the expected cultural feast for their bodies and souls. Globetrotting has proven an inspiring source of fuel for Bailey’s avocation.

In the upcoming Beckley Art Group exhibit “Duos,” opening Friday at the Cynthia Bickey Art Gallery, Bailey pairs images from his 2012 trip to Siena, Italy. As chairman for the exhibit, he issued a challenge to fellow Beckley Art Group members, artists in media of all kinds, to find commonality or unifying elements within their original works and to submit them by twos.

Bailey was impressed by an interview he read with a renowned contemporary arts curator who commented that he wanted the pieces of a particular exhibit to “have conversations with one another.”

Artistic pieces that put their heads together were exactly what Bailey sought for the Duos exhibit.

“Member exhibits are often ‘untethered.’ Sometimes, you get a lot of work that really doesn’t have cohesion. I didn’t want to limit content, but I did want to give structure to this exhibit.

“Some are very literal in their interpretation of the theme and some are not,” explains Bailey. While connections within certain submissions of Duos will be obvious, others seek to reveal the inner thinker — asking visiting eyes to find the same connection the artist found, to feel what he or she also felt for a moment in time.

Awe is one feeling produced by Bailey’s dual Italian cityscapes, entitled “Rooftops” from his series “Silenzi” (Italian for silences), which resonates beyond rooflines. A strange sense of familiarity is another.

“For me, both images represent moments of absolute calm and peace.”

There’s the hustle and bustle of activity in the Italian city that turns quickly, unexpectedly, to brief moments of silence.

“Both pictures are devoid of people,” Bailey points out. “Even in the midst of cacophony are little bubbles of absolute, almost meditative silence.

 “When you see a cityscape from medieval times, the similarity to what you see even in a city like Beckley is pretty amazing.”

Bailey’s hosts, he observed while in Siena, discussed with chagrin their familiar surroundings, ones viewed by others as paradise, much as denizens here are their own worst critics. “They see their city with flaws and issues, just like we see our own hometown.”

Bailey also submitted two more pairings from his “Feeding the Machine” series, a stark visual commentary on the Industrial Revolution, of its accomplishments past and what it has left behind. Each entry prompts the observer to draw parallels to their own cities, their own experiences.

Two by two, the depth and diversity of local art marks the early entries of this non-juried and eclectic member exhibit. Other featured artists willing to explore their worlds and find quiet common ground include photographer Ed Rehbein, who sees harmony in macroscopic observations of nature’s wildflowers; Gerry Birdsong’s postmodernist portraiture; and Karen Lilly’s mixed media ruminations on Edgar Allen Poe.

Around 50 different artists are expected to display for the exhibit.

Featured artists and members extend open invitation to those within the public who have yet to find a reason to visit the gallery supporting local artists and the local art scene. If you’ve ever traveled to another location enough to envy their arts presence, this is one example of where the momentum for those types of achievements begin.

“When I travel, I’m really inspired by places with vibrant arts cultures. It takes a spark, an investment, to develop that and I am hoping an exhibit like this will encourage not only our patrons and sponsors, but patrons of the arts and the public to come and see. Maybe it will encourage people to start their own personal collection of local art,” states Bailey.

All art on display within the exhibit is for sale, he adds, a studio-to-home movement all members are passionate about propelling forward.

“I hope that events like this can help raise interest in the arts in our community and deepen our appreciation for the local talent we have.”

1
Text Only
Life!
  • crowcookbook Kitchen comfort

    For Janet Crow of Quinwood, this Easter marks a deeply personal miracle — that of countless prayers for her physical restoration whispered by people who cared more than she could’ve ever imagined.

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • Scholarship for girls in a health science field established at BAF

    In every community there is work to be done and each community member has something to contribute.

    April 20, 2014

  • Concord University mounting production of ‘Spoon River’

    Concord University’s Theatre Department will perform “Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters in the H.C. Paul Theatre April 23-26 at 8 p.m. nightly.

    April 20, 2014

  • Society seeking items for Vietnam War exhibit

    The Greenbrier Historical Society is seeking photographs, artifacts and local history to include in an upcoming exhibit about remembering the Vietnam War.

    April 20, 2014

  • Rock violinist, stand-up comic to perform in free events at Lewisburg

    The Greenbrier Valley Campus of New River Community and Technical College will celebrate Student Appreciation Week April 21-25 with a number of events including two special performances that are open to the public free of charge.

    April 20, 2014

  • Dance workshop, show planned

    The stars will shine brightly over the pyramids this month — only these pyramids will be in Beckley. And these stars will both twinkle and dance.

    April 20, 2014

  • Live transmission of The Met’s ‘Così fan tutte’ at GVT

    In partnership with The MET: Live in HD series, Greenbrier Valley Theatre presents a live transmission of Mozart’s joyful and heart-rendering masterpiece, “Così fan tutte,” Saturday at 12:55 p.m.

    April 20, 2014

  • Stories give us kinship with strangers

    Editor’s note: This column by the late Bev Davis originally was published April 10, 2010.
     
    My dad was a coal miner. By the time I came along, he was working above ground as a tipple foreman.

    April 19, 2014

  • momrun Just do it W.Va.!

    “Missy’s here — we’re not going to win. Missy’s here…”
    Learning she was a perceived threat from two women whispering at the starting line behind her, women she had never met from among the hopping, stretching, Lycra-clad crowd, had one effect on Missy Burleson — a smile spreading as far as her feet were about to sprint her.

    April 16, 2014 5 Photos

  • living will 1 Decision day

    Pastor Roger Pauley and his wife Marcia were — like so many other baby boomers — charged with the responsibility of making decisions for their aging parents. For the pastor’s father, death was sudden.

    April 13, 2014 2 Photos