Harris Arts Center in downtown Calhoun will soon be invaded by “Birds and Snakes and Aeroplanes” in a vibrant and engaging display of regional and local folk art. According to the exhibit’s curator Will Linn, the title, drawn from lyrics of the REM song “It’s the End of the World As We Know It,” reflects imagery and themes prevalent in several of the artists’ work. The exhibit opens on April 18 and runs through June16 with an opening reception for the public on Sunday, April 23 from 3 to 4:30 p.m.
“Birds and Snakes and Aeroplanes” features paintings, sculpture, pottery and mixed media works by Sam G., Kip Ramey, Kathryn White, Calhoun, Larry Wilson, Will Linn and Johnnie Dobson. A portion of the display will be devoted to a memorial retrospective of the work of folk artist Knox Wilkinson of Plainville, who passed away in 2016.
The work of artist Sam G. has often been described as a “living paradox of love and sarcasm.” The images in this Clarksville, Georgia artist’s paintings are often punctuated with wry statements, stories and rhymes.
Kip Ramey, who hails from Clayton, pulls his inspiration from folk tales and characters he encountered growing up in the Northeast Georgia mountains. He does not limit his work to traditional canvases, as he has been known to paint on barn boards, culvert pipes, rusted metal and other reclaimed materials.
Kathryn White is another artist whose work is influenced by her childhood experiences. As a mixed media artist, she blends natural resources such as gourds, rocks, and sand with paint, wire and other found objects to create whimsical three dimensional figures.
“Calhoun” is local self-taught artist Paul Jastram. Many of his paintings reflect his Louisiana upbringing through richly hued images of wildlife. He enjoys painting on diverse surfaces such as tin, wood, ceiling or roofing tiles and porcelain trays, and has chosen familiar Calhoun landmarks - the Harris Arts Center, the GEM Theatre and a panoramic view of downtown, to highlight in the current show.
Will Linn’s meticulously crafted paintings and mixed media painted sculptures are reminiscent of Australian Aboriginal dot paintings. His compositions are free form bursts of color with subject matter ranging from playful characters and animals to expansive fanciful landscapes.
Larry Wilson began his pottery career upon his retirement from civil service in 2007. His face vessels, story jugs, and birds are heavily influenced by the traditional folk potters of North Georgia. According to Larry, his aim is to create pottery that “will put a smile on your face, will touch your heart or give you food for thought.”
Johnnie Dobson is best known as an accomplished ceramist, but he is also a mixed media artist. According to Dobson, the found object assemblages he will exhibit in this show are inspired by memories and flights of fancy.
Harris Arts Center is located at 212 South Wall Street in Calhoun, Georgia 30701. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. For further information contact Harris Arts Center at 706-629-2599.