Winter Showcase: Christmas in the Carolinas

by Keith Barber

Associated Artists of Winston- Salem’s Winter Showcase, a festive exhibition featuring the work of dozens of local artists, gives holiday shoppers a final opportunity to find that perfect gift for friends and loved ones. The show, which runs through Jan. 6, features a mixed-media piece by local artist Johnny Collins entitled “Random Doodle 1.” To create the piece, Collins said he collaged together a number of sketches and doodles to challenge the viewer to bring their own meaning to the work, Collins said.

Artist Dariel Buczek has two clay sculptures in the show — “Alladin’s Lamp” and “Sunset.”

“I try to make colorful work that lights up the eyes and the heart when you see it,” Buczek said. “My clay work for the most part is beautiful as well as functional, the best of both worlds.”

The Winter Showcase also features the abstract landscape paintings of local artist Wendell Myers.

“As a former potter, I am very interested in the spontaneous, the uncontrolled, the ‘happy accident,’” Myers said. “As a student and fan of jazz, I am intrigued and thrilled by improvisation, by the great things that happen when self-criticism, self-doubt and fear are banished and emotion, heart and creativity are given free rein.”

Myers said the transition from pottery to painting has been seamless because of the inherent similarities of both mediums.

“In working with clay and glazes, and the variable atmosphere of the kiln, there is much that one can influence, but not really control,” he said. “There is a sense in which one is both performer and audience — you act, observe the results of your actions, and react to those results.”

The variety of mediums featured in Associated Artists’ Winter Showcase is matched only by the variety of inspiration. Bill Gramley’s pastel works were inspired by the NC Department of Transportation’s wildflower beautification program. Artist Charlie Stott’s inspiration comes from seeing the paint brushstrokes of his mother and grandmother as a child.

Joanie Fleishman’s painting “Block Party” is representative of the artist’s aesthetic.

“Much of my work is of a linear nature which comes form my background as an engineer and draftsman for many years,” Fleishman said.

A recent transplant from Philadelphia, Fleishman immerses herself in her art and that comes shining through in her works.

“My art is my addiction. It may be a good addiction but it tortures me,” Fleishman said. “It gives me little bursts of excitement which I thrive on for those short moments between each stroke — each canvas, yet no piece ever really ends. I stop at that certain moment when it begs me to stop but it is now a part of me forever and I move forward only to move on to that new high from a new creation.”

Artist Rebecca Deaton waits for “magical ac cidents”

while working with watercolors. Deaton said her work reflects personal experiences expressed on the canvas by simply allowing the paint and water to react in unexpected ways.

The natural world presents me with neverending subject matter just waiting to be expressed,” Deaton said.

Stott has studied under acclaimed artists Frank Rowland and Linda Weaver, who have also strongly influenced his creative style.

“I try not to overthink,” Stott said. “I just want my brush to tell the tale, allowing the story to evoke on its own. My desire is to faithfully represent that on the canvas, in a bold, but loose, impressionistic.”

Artist Cheryl Powell’s “Bovine Offspring” was inspired by a photo she took while riding along NC Highway 66 near Kernersville.

Heather Evans Smith’s photographs are also featured in Winter Showcase. Smith said her aim is to reveal the magic in everyday, ordinary objects.

“I want my photographs to tell stories,” Smith said. “And I want stories that come from moments of life, like a still from an old movie. Movement and pain and the simple joys of being alive are frozen in time. Only a glance is needed to read the lines between people and find the story.”

wanna go?

Winter Showcase runs through Jan. 6 at Associated Artists of Winston-Salem, 301 W. 4th St.;336.722.0340.