The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County opened its doors for the 4th Friday in November with its newest exhibit — The12-16 birth,-life-and-death-by-aaron-casteel.jpg College Invitational. Due to the crowded Dickens Holiday celebration, many people visited the Arts Council to enjoy scheduled activities and were able to view works by area art students.

Four institutions of higher education were invited to select 10 works from their respective students to highlight their program. The visual art programs at Fayetteville Technical Community College, Fayetteville State University, Methodist University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke participated in the exhibition. Each institution selected a body of work to share with the community.

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is exhibiting a group of paintings. Students exhibiting include Mary Brazelton, Davone Eady, Chris Fowler, Arlene Grady, Tasheeia Green, Candice Johnson, Rebecca Lowry, Sheena Mature, Alexandar Saunders, Meriel Smith, Stephanie Webb and Matthew Wilson.

Most of the paintings from UNCP are still lifes — studies in composition and color; all are oil on canvas. The students seem to be focusing on a direct approach to painting from life, interpreting subject matter and exploring ways to express their ideas about the subjects.

Arlene Grady’s supersized object in warm colors titled Big Vase contrasted with the arrangement of brightly arranged making by Candice Johnson in Still Life with Dripping Candle. Grady’s painting, an analogous color palette, evokes stability and the monumentality of an object compared to the busy movement created by the brushy and varied color of Johnson.

The body of work from UNCP was a way to see fi rst hand what the students study to become painters, the still lifes they work from and how they interpret the still life stylistically. What became paramount was the way in which the students focused on creating their compositions.

I particularly enjoyed the painting by Alexander Saunders from UNCP titled New York State of Mind. Saunders, in a neo-expressionistic style, combined a twisted lighthouse in the foreground with a city line at night and a series of light sources to move the viewer through the painting. Light sources were also used as elements in the composition to balance the collage image and the overall darkness of the night scene.

Methodist University selected students to exhibit a series of drawings using pen and ink, several paintings and a couple of photographs. Students from Methodist University included Joscelyn Abreu, Jordan Adams, Haley Beauchamp, Aaron Casteel, Linden Hiller, Kacey Jenkins and Hansel Ong.

There are several triptychs in the exhibit from Methodist University. Using pen and ink, an unforgiving medium, Kacey Jenkins’ work titled HoneyB Triptych is an example of hatching and cross-hatching drawing techniques to create space. An abstract design, Jenkins’s technique does not describe a surface; instead she created a space fi lled with movement and a sense of play.

Haley Beauchamp demonstrates her expertise in observation and creating value by using pen and ink in the technique of pointillism. The triptych, three close ups of butterfl y and moth wings, is a subtle reminder of the details in nature we miss. From the strong patterns of a monarch butterfl y to the delicate transitions of tone in a moth, Beauchamp demonstrates her skill and partiality for nature.

Aaron Casteel is exhibiting a triptych titled Birth, Life and Death in his series of pen and ink pointillist drawings. An organic form depicted on the top panel, Casteel recreates rising smoke in his second panel and a brick mortared wall is depicted on the lower panel. All three images are close up studies, abstracted from the close up, yet enough realism remains for us to identify the forms.

Hansel Ong is exhibiting a photograph and a large painting titled Lazarus (a Resurrection). Ong’s painting depicts the biblical narrative of the raising of Lazarus from the dead after being entombed for four days. An obvious fl are for painting, Ong paints the subject in muted tones with highlights of color. Large in scale the painting is neo-expressionistic in style and compelling in subject.

The faculty at Fayetteville State University decided to exhibit a broad range of studio concentrations to include sculpture, painting, photography and computer graphics. Students exhibiting include Yashika Burgess, Marcela Casals, April Harmon, Lamar Hill, Richard Kenner, Emmanuel Lynch, Clayton Newsome, Cassandra Ortiz and Jason Stewart.

The various sculptures by Newsome, Casals and Harmon ranged from a free-standing steel sculpture, a copper raised relief sculpture and a mixed-media wooden sculpture suspended from the ceiling.

The mixed media wooden sculpture by Harmon is titled Transitions. A large cylinder constructed of bent cedar strips is suspended from the ceiling. A ladder, approximately 8 feet in height, was fabricated from a tree limb and combined with commercial milled pine; the ladder extends from the fl oor into the cylinder. At the bottom of the ladder, three dead birds, cast in aluminum, are arranged around its base.

Lamar Hill challenged the viewer with his photograph titled HIV Awareness and his computer graphic image titled Days of Breaking Oppression. Hill is a student whose voice refl ects the political in African-American culture.

The paintings by Ortiz, Kenner, Lynch and Stewart are as diverse as their subjects and include an interpretation of the North Carolina landscape, an abstract fi gure in repose, a colorful and impressionistic still life and one conceptual work using an oversized x-ray of the artist’s spine as a background for his painting.

Fayetteville Technical Community College selected many ceramic pieces to exhibit, collages in graphite, a woodcut print and a collagraph print. Artists exhibiting include Georgia Britton, Davone Eady, Rena Israel, Amor López, Yeojeong Love, Nanette Manchion, Heike Nolan, Gracia Reddick and Martha Sisk.

Since only one ceramic work is on a gallery stand, visitors need to make sure they stop at the showcase to see the many excellent ceramic works being exhibited. The forms range from small free-standing and relief sculptures to the functional.

The ceramics techniques vary from glazed to slip stained ware, the subjects as diverse as the students. Manchion’s ceramic work titled Free Form contrasts the Wall Shell by Heike Nolan or Slip Stain Design by Reddick.

Since printmaking is a new course at Fayetteville Technical Community College, the college wanted to exhibit some of its fi rst examples of the medium. Included in the exhibit is a woodcut by López titled Vincent and a collagraph by Martha Sisk titled Aspen Divergence.

López was direct in his approach in the relief process and carefully delineated descriptive qualities of the fi gure, using a balance of negative and positive space. Sisk, known in the community for her art quilts integrated textiles into her print. Warm earth tones echo the texture of an open weave material as a background to the centered interpretation of a grouping of Aspen trees. Both works are sensitive and well crafted.

The College Invitational may become a biannual exhibit for the region to view what students are doing at area colleges and universities. It’s a wonderful opportunity for public school teachers and their students to view the work and for prospective students thinking about attending a regional art program. The exhibit will remain up until Dec. 19, and can be viewed seven days a week. For more information and the hours on weekend, call the Arts Council at 323-1776

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