Saturday, February 27, 2010

March: Stories, Dreams, Reconciliation

Fayetteville Underground: First Thursday March 4th 5-8pm
Featuring: Jennifer Libby Fay, William Mayes Flanagan, and Don House

Stories, Dreams, Reconciliation

Three artists come together March 4th in three separate galleries within the walls of the Fayetteville Underground. The works of Jennifer Libby Fay, William Mayes Flanagan, and Don House might seem, at first glance, to be as distinct and unconnected as their choices of media – dye transfer, watercolor painting, and photography. However, walking back and forth between the galleries, the underlying, defining force that connects these artists becomes apparent.

Jennifer Libby Fay is the most likely to use the word spiritual when she describes her creative process, her search for meaning: “When I am thinking about my work or making my pieces I try to begin with an open and generous heart in order to ‘see’ what is being asked of me. For me, making art is an intuitive process, it comes from a place inside me that is difficult to articulate but I think it is very concerned with finding meaning in life. For me this is a spiritual quest.” And she has credentials to prove it. Her The Seven Step Spiritual Art Discipline, was included in the recently published book Visio Divina, a collection of essays that deal with the experiences of practicing artists.

An accomplished hand weaver and fiber artist, Fay focuses now on textile surface design using multiple dying techniques, embellishment, and fabric manipulation. Each of her dye transfer processes coalesces the various layers and textures into a unique original print. She will be exhibiting a collection of new work entitled Reconciliation in the front Vault Gallery.

The word spiritual carries a great weight, and a multitude of meanings, and while William Mayes Flanagan might be hesitant to evoke it when describing his work, it nonetheless pervades it. So many of his rich watercolors describe that wondrous period of dusk, when darkness gathers outside and windows begin to warm and light from within. The viewer rarely glimpses the scene beyond the window, yet feelings of curiosity and great nostalgia and longing can surface as the observer fills in the blanks from her own memory. “There’s nothing scary about my nights”, says Flanagan, “it is a time of great peace and beauty and mystery.” A Kansas City gallerist once described Flanagan as a Southern storyteller, and true to that metaphor, he lets the listener, walk right into the scene.

Flanagan will be displaying an array of new work entitled Dreams in the Revolver gallery, most of which has never been exhibited. He credits his association with the Fayetteville Underground as a critical factor in his prolific production of work in the past year. “It’s inspiring,” he says, “I work in the presence of very creative and disciplined artists, and their energy seems to activate my own.”

Don House often describes his approach to photography as a search for the essence, and he finds spirituality most often associated with the places to which he is drawn, with or without the presence of people. "I often seek the isolation of wilderness," he explains, "only to find myself pulled to signs of prior habitation, of human presence – the stone wall, the crumbled foundation, the tombstone – places with emotional weight." Nudes, landscapes, architecture – House approaches them all as he would one of his powerful portraits- searching for the character, the spirit, the essence, before he releases the shutter.

Most often, House finds that black and white film is the tool of choice, but he’s known to use color processes when he feels it better conveys his vision, and his selection of pieces for this exhibition contains both – works from different periods, a collection he titles Stories. Don House's work will be in Hive gallery.

The Fayetteville Underground is the perfect setting for this exhibition of kindred spirits. Four well-appointed galleries are surrounded by artist studios and a classroom space. The Fayetteville Underground's monthly opening receptions have anchored the First Thursday event in downtown Fayetteville, and drawn record crowds. The Underground and First Thursday has been credited by many artists as having revitalized the art scene in the region, even in the face of a national economic slowdown. The Underground provides a community of and for working artists, and this sense of community has drawn together a fascinating and diverse group of professional artists.

The opening reception for the Fay/Flanagan/House exhibition is March 4th from 5-8pm, and their work will remain in the galleries throughout the month.

For more information about these artists and their work please visit:

As always there are open studios to tour, work in progress to see, and artists to meet. Also there will be a group exhibition of the talented underground studio artist's in the back vault gallery and the fine crafts you have come to expect in the E Street Gallery. Once again this is all a part of the cultural amenity that is the visual arts on the First Thursday of every month on the Fayetteville Square from 5-8p.m.

Tell your friends and see you there!

The Fayetteville Underground
Basement of One East Square Plaza
East side of the Historic Fayetteville Square.
Fayetteville, AR
Gallery Hours W-F 12-7pm
Saturday 10-5pm
4 galleries: Open Studios

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