Horses Focus of Featured Artists
BY PAULA MONTGOMERY
Special to The Pilot
The horse is an extraordinary animal. It is a rare combination of strength, docility, and sensitivity. Horses have been the inspiration for characters in Greek mythology, books, movies, and art, and the November featured artists at the Campbell House Galleries, Meridith Martens and Catherine Shinnick, have both devoted their considerable creative talents to depicting the beauty and power of the horse.
The November exhibit opens Friday, Nov. 3, with a reception to meet the artists from 6 to 8 p.m. Veronese Atkins, Elaine and Bob Baillie, Beth Dowd, Donna and Tex Griffin, and Howard Schubert host the reception, which is free and open to the public.
The exhibit is on display through Nov. 27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays, and from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18 and 19. The Campbell House Galleries are located at 482 East Connecticut Avenue, Southern Pines.
Local artist Meridith Martens studied art at the Corcoran School of Art, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Maryland Art Institute, the New School of New York City, and privately with French artist Volang, in Paris, France. Her work has received numerous awards. At the local level, she has been recognized with first place and best in show honors by the Arts Council of Moore County's Fine Arts Festival, the Marshall Gallery in Greensboro, Dimensions 2003 in Winston-Salem, and the Women's Center in Chapel Hill. And at the national level, she has received an honors award and competition finalist recognition from Artist's Magazine.
Galleries throughout the East Coast have displayed Martens' work. She shows a complete range of painting from detailed realism to abstract expressionist. She is adept at painting any subject matter, but it is clear from the paintings in this exhibit that the horse is one of her favorite subjects.
Martens' realistic horse portraits are rendered with a limited, earthy palette which portrays the docile, sensitive nature of the horse. Her abstract works are full of color and expressive brushstrokes which, along with the action-oriented poses, reflect the power and strength of this amazing animal.
Catherine Shinnick has worked as a sculptor for 30 years. She received her bachelor's degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1974 and studied stone carving with Minaru Niizuma at Columbia University in the early 1980s. From 1996 to 1999, she studied ceramics with Diana Pancioli at Eastern Michigan University (EMU), from which she received her master's degree. Today she is the artist-in-residence at EMU's Jean Noble Parsons Center for Advanced Study, an 86-acre wildlife preserve in Lake Ann, Michigan.
In her work as a ceramics sculptor, Shinnick upends the Judeo-Christian notion that men have dominion over the earth's flora and fauna. Indeed, many of her works depict a horse accompanied by a female figure, a metaphorical self-portrait of a disciple, not a dominator, of the animal world. Shinnick's early experience with horses gives her a thorough understanding of horse anatomy and psychology and of the way they move and communicate.
Shinnick has worked largely in clay for the last eight years because she feels that clay connects her to nature. The medium also partakes of all nature's elements: water and earth to form the sculpture and air and fire to make it permanent. Shinnick also feels that her practice of working long hours in the studio affords her a deeper alignment with nature.
"After a time, the conscious mind quiets and the subconscious then can respond to the process of creating," she says. Shinnick feels that dripping, running, sliding, cracking, breaking, melting, metamorphosing, and contrasting are processes in ceramics that mimic natural forces, and thus connect the artist and the viewer to the earth.
Shinnick has written, "My work is about the human mind making a connection to wildlife. In my work, the horse is a metaphor for the subconscious mind and its passion and intuition. What I am communicating is the connection between the subconscious mind and the world of nature. Most of us long for connection, and we find ourselves on a quest to re-establish our closeness to nature."
For more information about the November exhibit, contact the Arts Council of Moore County at 692-4356 or visit the Web site at www.artscouncil-moore.org.
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