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‘New Year New Art’ exhibit returns to CAC — better than ever

By KATE SNYDER

Contributing writer

With the new year comes the return of a favorite annual exhibit at the Community Arts Center. The “New Year New Art” exhibit is an invitational art exhibit that celebrates regional artists and their latest creative work. This year’s exhibit features over 60 unique works of art by 50 different artists.

Unlike some group shows for which artists intentionally create complementary pieces — such as the recent “Limited Palette” exhibit by the Gathering Artists, which focused on three particular colors — the submissions to New Year New Art are standalone works. The only “rule” is that all work must have been created since August 2016. Beyond that, anything goes. The result is a vibrant, diverse exhibit showcasing a range of styles and media including painting, drawing, ceramics, photography, recycled media, fiber art and collage. There’s something for everyone.

"Cumberland Falls" by Bill Fletcher

“Cumberland Falls” by Bill Fletcher

Visitors will enjoy paintings of horses, three-dimensional fantasy sea monsters, self-portraits and Kentucky landscapes. Contemporary fiber art shares gallery space with ceramic sculpture, wood carving, and pastel drawings.

Arts Center Creative Director Brandon Long says, “By focusing on a specific place and time period (August–December 2016), viewers can see a lot of the subconscious undercurrents that lie beneath the work.  For example, we have a couple of landscapes that feature a large moon, painted by two separate artists.  I can’t help but think that the recent ‘Super Moon’ lunar event was an inspiration to them.”

Assembling a broad range of submissions into a visually coherent show can be challenging for a curator, but this year’s show demonstrated some common themes.

"Dapper Giraffe" by Mark Wilhem

“Dapper Giraffe” by Mark Wilhem

“A lot of the pieces this year include purple, either as a primary color or an undertone,” says Long. “It’s interesting to see a group of artists arrive at a similar color palette and tone without formally coordinating.”

“New Year New Art” is an opportunity for artists to challenge themselves by trying new techniques or exploring new media.

Artist Mark Wilhelm of Liberty says, “The ‘New Year New Art’ show at the Arts Center is great because it motivates me to get new work done or, as was the case this year, it motivated me to bring Dapper Giraffe out of the land of digital art and into an oil painting. I also like looking around at what other artists have that is hot off the press.”

Catherine Thomsen, a ceramics artist from Danville, agrees.

"Moon Shadows" by Barbara Lockhart

“Moon Shadows” by Barbara Lockhart

“This exhibit is particularly dynamic — the use of color, textures, mediums, subjects. The pieces are so diverse and imaginative. It inspires me to explore new ways of expressing my own ideas.”

Many of the pieces in the “New Year New Art” exhibit are for sale. The first piece to sell was by Pat Williams of Forkland. Her pastel drawing of two young girls coloring made an immediate impression on Jenny Tarter of Danville.

“My daughters Becca and Annabelle are six years apart with dark hair and blonde like the girls in the drawing. They like to create art together. Annabelle and I just saw ‘Wicked’ (the musical) and in the drawing, it looks like a younger Becca is drawing Elphaba for a younger Annabelle, so I had to buy it for Annabelle’s 11th birthday.”

IF YOU GO

“New Year New Art,” through Feb. 25;

opening reception is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday

COMING UP

• Starry Night Studios: Woodland Fox, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday, $35; Electric Zebra, 2-4 p.m. Jan. 15, $28

• Lunch with the Arts: Gregory Turay, noon Jan. 18 at Centre College, $7/door; see communityartscenter.net/lunch-with-the-arts for details.

• 2017 classes now enrolling include Mini Masters, Comics and Cartoons, Mudslingers, ActUp! Children’s Theater Workshop, Intro to Clay, Printmaking 101, Wheel-Thrown Pottery, Ceramic Sculpture

• Ballroom Dance, 7 p.m. Thursdays for beginner classes, no partner required, $10/door