March may very well be the beginning of the 2009 party season. From St. Patrick’s Day parties to the impending Dogwood Festival, this month has a little something to offer everyone. For lovers of art and music, the Fayetteville Museum of Art is planning a party that will definitely make its mark.
  On Thursday, March 13, the museum will host the premier party for its new exhibition: Raw Identity. The exhibit, which features the works of Harry McDaniel, J.J. Ohlinger and Doug VandeZande, focuses on the deconstruction of traditional portraiture to reveal the raw identity beneath.
McDaniel, a sculptor from Asheville, explains that his work is “diverse in materials, style, technique and content.”
  {mosimage}In his artist statement, he notes, “It is difficult to explain the diversity, except to say that I love to experiment and I am drawn to new challenges. I work with wood, metals, cement, plastics, and found objects. Some of the threads that tie my work together are humor, a fascination with curves, motion (or implied motion), and an interest in the human condition. My sculptures can roughly be divided into two parts — decorative works and social commentary.”
His decorative works include freestanding sculptures, wall pieces and mobiles, which range in size from tabletop pieces to 55’ long mobiles. The works are curvy, abstract, distorted geometric forms.
  “A significant amount of my artwork has included the human figure in one form or another. My work has included life-size figures, portions of figures and installations using mannequins,” he said. “I find something particularly compelling in life-size human figures. They tend to create a strong presence in a room regardless of the style or material. We are ‘programmed’ (psychologically if not biologically) to relate to the human form in certain ways. When a viewer encounters a figurative sculpture he brings a certain familiarity which at least for a moment, allows him to feel a likeness to the sculpture. The viewer also feels his difference of course, and from this contradiction he must draw some meaning.”
  Ohlinger,  a native of Nebraska, and VandeZande focuses on the human form as well. Both are celebrated artists who have shown throughout the United States.
  The artwork will be complemented by the music’s of the Chapel Hill folk duo Birds and Arrows. The husband and wife team comprised of Pete and Andrea Connolly offers a new twist on folk music.
  Their work thrives on “the relationship’s intimacy, spinning songs from domestic images like the blue flickering flame of a gas burner and the trove of persistent memories that remain like love’s kindling.”
  The party begins at 6 p.m. at the museum, and offers ligh hors d’oeuvres and bar beverages. A gallery talk with the artists will begin at 7 p.m. The party is free and open to the public.

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