Green Hill Winter Show 2010

by Joe Murphy

Felicia Van Bork’s encaustic-on-panel “ane Austen,” one of the works on display and for sale in Green Hill Center’s Winter Show through Jan 14. (courtesy photo)

The Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art’s Winter Show turns 21 this year. This year’s annual exhibit features the work of 123 artists who were born, raised, educated or lived in North Carolina, and each work is for sale at prices ranging from $18 to $5,000 (with an average price tag of about $500). The Winter Show and an upcoming discussion with influential artist, collector and Asheboro-native Dwight Holland will give local artists, collectors and would-be collectors the opportunity to plant seeds in the local artistic community.

The modest pricing scale (and generous 60-40 split with the artists) give people who think they are priced out of the fine arts the opportunity to start collections of their own.

“You don’t have to have the most money you just have to have the desire to support the arts,” said exhibit curator Edie Carpenter. Dwight Holland, who was the first art teacher in Asheboro area public schools and who donated his ceramics collection to East Carolina University will speak about collecting on Wednesday Jan. 12, 2011 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Green Hill Center on North Davie Street in a talk titled “The Pleasures of Collecting: A Talk with Dwight Holland.”

“A collector like Dwight Holland is a special kind of collector,” said Laura Way, Green Hill Center’s executive director and CEO of Holland. He found a medium he loved, pottery, and took the time to really understand it — its history, social relevance and the artists who create it.

Dwight has long-standing relationships with artists — from Ben Owen of Seagrove to Cynthia Bringle in the Penland School of Crafts area. He knows them, supports their creative vision, and buys their work.”

Holland’s influence on local artists started locally as an art teacher in Asheboro, according to Way. “Dwight was instrumental in the artistic growth of his own community of Asheboro. He was their first art teacher in their schools, helped establish the Mooring Art Center, and for years has been worked with an international array of ceramic artists at the annual North Carolina Potter’s Conference.”

30 of the artists exhibited in the winter show are being displayed in the show for the first, like paintings by recent UNCG alumni Rebecca Fagg and Henry Link.

“When you invite young artists to participate, you never know what you’re going to get,” said Carpenter in reference to first time exhibit artist Timothy Maddox’s multi-colored script on wood with the words “dirty,” “whack” and “crunk.”

The 2010-2011 Winter Show also features the work of veterans like Felicia van Bork, Robert Tynes and the steel sculptor Nathan Blank.

Among the veteran artists whose work returns to the exhibit this year is Greensboro photographer and YES! Weekly contributor Evan Brennan.

“It’s a pretty big honor to show my work with other talented artists and it’s a pretty big honor to be showcased here,” said Brennan as he stood with his son Hudson in front of his displayed photographs of anthropomorphic chairs placed in Greensboro area settings like the top of the Greene Street parking deck and a timber yard near the airport. Speaking of the chairs that he rescued from neglect and disposal and turned into art Brennan said: “They’re disgusting. They’ve been in my backyard for months now, much to my wife’s dismay.”

Both Carpenter and Way emphasize the vitality of collector’s like Holland to local artistic communities.

“Building an art collection, large or small, requires a little time to find work that speaks to you, perhaps getting to know the artist or doing a little research on him or her, gaining an understanding of the work and its context in the art world, and most importantly, caring about the art that you buy,” said Gray. “Dwight Holland can speak to this, because he has been doing this very thing collecting art one piece at a time, for decades, and he has been generous in sharing his knowledge, stories and love of the work with those who want to learn why.”

In its role as a non-profit art space devoted to exhibiting, supporting and promoting contemporary NC visual artists, Green Hill Center provides opportunities to learn about art during every exhibition. Way says, “It may not be specific to collecting but each program can give the art novice and appreciator a chance to learn more and perhaps want to take home a work of art that could become an anchor to a collection.”