Area university art students have filled two downtown art galleries with a wide range of subjects, styles and media. The Fayetteville Art Guild invited Fayetteville State University art students to exhibit with many of its members in an exhibit titled City Image at the Arts Council on Hay Street. One block behind the Arts Center, on Maxwell Street, Cape Fear Studios is hosting an exhibit titled Paintings by the Students of James Biederman, a University of North Carolina at Pembroke professor of art.
    In the interest of fairness to both universities, I want to highlight the strengths of both exhibits and how art students, no matter where they attend, are faced with very similar problems. In the case of Biederman, it is not easy coming into a region where artists predominantly prefer the narrative and the representational to exploring non-objective abstraction.  {mosimage}
    Biederman, an abstract artist from New York City, is exhibiting a small painting with his students. Fifteen of his students are showing works that range from landscape interpretations to non-objective paintings.
UNCP student Storm Faith has incorporated the landscape with her investigation of abstract spatial properties. Still recognizable, the tree line interprets qualities of nature and color theory. Bright in hue and dense color saturation, the viewer will read across the surface of her painting pausing in the contours of the tree shapes.
    Faith’s classmate, Scotty Thompson, investigates the potential of color as pattern, texture and surface. In the painting titled Unititled by Thompson, the artist moves the viewer across the surface of her painting with thick application of paint, her composition broken up into units and outlines.
Kiatl Godwin uses primary and secondary colors to move us across the surface of her paintings like a broken surface. Like Thompson, Godwin breaks her paintings up into units, sections of color and texture with defining boundaries.
    Unlike the flatness of Thompson and Godwin, Shelly Romero is an example of what many of the other students were working towards—how to create depth and spatial movement with color. A difficult task for young painters, it is easy to see how Biederman works with each student individually to try and get them to grasp the concept of recession and advancement in space with color, degrees of definition and ways of working with a limited range of hues.
    Like Biederman, the faculty at Fayetteville State University is working with students to use color as a major source of energy, emotion and expression. Faculty at both institutions know color immediately communicates and heightens expression. Colors are never emotionally neutral. {mosimage}
Rick Kenner, a painting major, uses color, value, his own x-rays and hard edge painting to evoke a sense of heightened expression in the painting titled Pathways.
    Kenner builds his Masonite forms and framing with meticulous detail, his color choices are no less meticulous in selection and application. In Kenner’s work, color is often used in contrast to a neutralized dark background.
    Twenty-five FSU students are exhibiting work, from six different studio areas: painting, drawing, computer graphics, photography, printmaking and sculpture. From the politically challenging computer graphics by Shantel Scott, to the mixed-media sculpture by Amanda Stevens (her work titled Mixed Nature is a life size fish, painted red ready to be scanned, the computer scanner in covered in fur), all the works in the FSU student exhibit show stages of development and a range of subject matter, technique and message.
Techniques and subjects are as varied as the differences in the students in the program. Daryl Evans’ painting focuses on an oversized, magnified still life of a yellow flower next to a watch — stillness and silence exudes. In contrast, Ann Vaeth paints from life using the placement of a single chair and vegetables to construct her composition. Mike Romangano explores color, surfaces and integrating anatomy; while April Bell applies an actual ladder, constructed of branches, to the front of her painting.
    Printmakers Jonathan Diaz, Maria Marois and Dominique Johnson all investigate the possibilities of relief printing and the monoprint. Self identity dominates as a subject in their work. Diaz explores club life as a subject; for Johnson it is beauty and the African-American female, Marios focuses on the figure as part of a family construct or in abstracted space.  
    Whereas the UNCP exhibit is restricted to their painters, it is difficult in City Image to know which works are students and which are members of the Fayetteville Art Guild.
    Starr Oldorff, Fayetteville Art Guild president, was very happy with the turn out of FSU students. As best stated by Oldorff, “This exhibit gives students a venue to display their works and is an opportunity for citizens of Fayetteville to see the wealth of talent the Fayetteville Art Guild and FSU art students bring to the area.”
    Many of the long-standing members of the Fayetteville Art Guild are exhibiting. Alphonso Peppers and Rose-Ann San Martino both have interpreted the skate board tree, Peppers in the medium of photography and Bryda as an abstracted painting.
Visitors to City Image will see the diversity within the membership of the Fayetteville Art Guild: welded steel by David McCune, textile wall hangings by Romana Gennaro, a realistic pastel portraiture by J.D. Blanton and many more styles and varied subject matter.
    One of the more striking works is the painting of a downtown cityscape by Brian Steverson titled Springtime in Fayetteville. In an impressionistic style, Steverson captures a moment of beauty and stillness in the downtown area.
    Visitors to City Image will also see work by new members to the organization. New guild member Vicki Rhoda is exhibiting a painting from a series she is presently working on titled I Look to My Family and My Family Looks Down on Me. Behind a small chair with a mask on the seat, trees in the background reach upward in a flattened space of earth colors and pattern. The title speaks to the significance of family, narration and the voice of a painter.
    Like Biederman, several FSU professors are exhibiting with their students: Shane Booth, Jonathan Chestnut and yours truly. In the spirit of a “teaching moment” please indulge me while I list all those who participated in the exhibit, yet not mentioned above, to encourage those who made the effort to get work framed and to the galleries and for their effort to share their voice with you in the discipline of visual arts.
Additional UNCP students exhibiting include the following: Malinda McKoy, Lynwood Cox, Amber Ragland, Alenander Sauners, Daniel Webb, Themla Lou Gaines, Jason Young, Kevin Locklear, Matthew Wilson and H. Locklear.
    Additional FSU students in City Image include the following: Kimberly Anderson, Chris Boyd, Marcus Davis, April Harmon, Cathy Johnson, Lindsey Loewen, Mike Lopez, Casasndra Ortiz, Robin Jade, Lovell Pulley, Decorris Smith, Paul Smith, Angela Williams, Jasmine Wilson and Carmen Yeager.
Additional Fayetteville Art Guild Members include the following: Stan Bryda, Peggy Hardiman Carter, Ruth Hatcher, Noreda Hess, Cathy Johnson, David McCune Sr., Grace McGrath, Starr Oldorff, Merle Prewitt, Martha Sisk, and Helen Pat Zumbahlen.
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