Painters Ruth Ava Lyons and Katherine Ace have an exhibit through this Friday, Dec. 23 at Hidell/Brooks Gallery in Charlotte that encourages contemplation. At first glance these two artists are quite different. Yet look deeper and see there are similarities between their work. Both explore dichotomies and have metaphors embedded within their paint layers.
Although some works are sold and already in their new homes (do you blame folks for wanting their new paintings for the holidays?), there is plenty left to enjoy. In such a busy week before Christmas, stealing a few moments to experience the world through two artist’s eyes is a welcome reprieve. These are stunning paintings by themselves but grow on you the longer one spends.
Lyons’ art is inspired by environmental situations, whether Japan’s tsunami, the Gulf tragedy or her concern for delicate ecosystems, like the Everglades. Lyons was awarded a 2011 Everglades National Park Residency and was there in April of this year. She deeply loves that area, and her paintings reflect that passion.
Her “Verdure” series is about tropical light, with layered details and bits of gold and silver leaf accents peaking through. These paintings — like all of hers in the show — are about the environment, but more like a poetic rendition of fresh green. Lyons achieves this rich depth by building layers and details. Though the titles allude to the environmental references, the paintings themselves allow the viewer to bring their own experiences to the work.
Ace has an ongoing fascination with still life painting and especially involving contraries and opposites. She finds inspiration in art from ancient times to the present and is fascinated with this intersection of contraries: ecstasy and agony; humor and tragedy; natural and constructed realities; experience and news.
Interested in complex story telling, Ace uses cultural references and histories that reach back into our collective and personal pasts. These still life paintings pull in the viewer, yet hold on as open-ended metaphors are explored.
Art is most powerful when there is a dialogue between the art, itself and the viewer. When the artist holds ones’ gaze with a strong work of art, yet allows us a personal journey of metaphors and ideas, the work is deeply meaningful. This show is full of significant paintings.
Hidell/Brooks Gallery is located in the Southend Steelyard in the historical South End district of Charlotte.
1910 South Blvd., Suite 130, Charlotte
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.