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'Rumors,' 'Into the Wild' debut at gallery

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Arts Clayton gallery in Jonesboro premiered two new art exhibits on Thursday night -- "Visual Stories: Rumors," by Georgia Watercolor Society (GWS) artist Kathy Rennell Forbes, and "Into the Wild," a group show featuring various artists.

The works were unveiled during a special opening reception at the gallery. "Visual Stories: Rumors" will hang at the gallery until June 25, while "Into the Wild" will stay until July 30. The first exhibit explores the consequences of lies and rumors, while the second is a collection of various takes on wildlife, wilderness, and wildness.

Forbes, the community outreach chairperson for GWS, and an exhibiting artist at Studio Z in midtown Atlanta, said "Visual Stories: Rumors" contains 10 works utilizing water-based media, such as watercolors, acrylic paints, and inks. Each piece contains a circular design that tells a story, utilizing Hawaiian quilt motifs, she said.

"We lived in Hawaii for a while, where I learned how to make Hawaiian quilts," Forbes said. "You take a large piece of fabric, fold it into eighths, and you cut out the designs and applique it to another fabric. It's very labor intensive, and takes months worth of time ... Painting fulfilled my desire to get something done quicker. Your paintings need to tell a story. I started brainstorming and said I could take the same style and change it," she added.

One of Forbes' pieces is "Chinese Whispers," which shows gossiping individuals eventually devolving into rats in a maze, based on the spread of false rumors. Another piece, "Fish Tales," shows a grandfather and grandson, gloating about a fish they caught until the fish grows into a large spare tire, tangling their lines and sinking their boat.

"The story will develop as you go around the circle clockwise," Forbes said. She said she hopes the works will encourage people "not to spread rumors, and gossip."

The other exhibit, "Into the Wild," which includes 85 works from some 40 artists, is a creative look at the definition of wild, and includes paintings, mixed-media artwork, three-dimensional pieces, and photographs. Scenes depicted include majestic animals, insects, man interacting with nature, dramatic landscapes, and urban squalor, as seen in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake.

Arts Clayton Gallery Manager Karen Powers said the exhibit approaches the subject literally and abstractly. "We have lots of wilderness represented, lots of wildlife, and some things that are pretty wild," Powers said. "There are wild situations. We're really glad that this inspired our artists to bring in really incredible work."

During the reception, artist Kay Ridge won first place and "best of show" for her work "Call of the Camel." Pat Burns won second place for "Elephant Walk," and Lynn Cordner won third place for "School's Out." Artists LaMont Sudduth, Daniel Piar, Rebecca Bowen, and Michael Sawecki received honorable mentions.

Ridge, who did a soft-pastel drawing of a camel that entered her car window during a trip to Pine Mountain, Ga., said that animals are one of her favorite subjects. She hopes that people who come to the exhibit will gain a greater appreciation for the natural world.

"I enjoy that there are so many different ways of doing art," Ridge said. "I want them to have the awe and wonder of what is natural."

All the pieces in the "Into the Wild" exhibit are for sale. For more information about the exhibits, call Arts Clayton at (770) 473-5457.