New art exhibit deeply ‘root’ed in Pike County

Published 6:35 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The word “roots” usually applies to the part of a plant that attaches itself to the ground from which it gets its nourishment.

When applied to people, roots are the attachment that one has to people and place. That being so, the Johnson Center for the Arts chose the word “roots” for the Center’s series of exhibitions that have “roots” in Pike County.

The first exhibit in the series was the ‘Roots Exhibit: 2D Artists. The second exhibit in the ‘Roots’ series featured the art of Pike County folk artist Jean Lake and woodcarver, Pugh Windham.

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On Sunday, the opening reception was held for the third exhibition in the series, ‘Artists of Pike County: Fine Art, 3D.’ The exhibition features more than 40 three-dimensional pieces from artists who have roots in Pike County. The 3D pieces include wood, metal, clay, stone and other mediums.

Mary Susan Berry said this exhibit is very special to her and, probably, to the other artists because it is an opportunity to share their artwork with home folk.

“People who know us will relate to our art more than others because they will have a deeper understanding of what we are expressing,” Berry said. “The piece that I have in the Roots exhibit is called ‘Daddy’s Hands.’ All of my growing up years, Daddy was the butcher at the A&P. I molded and glazed Daddy’s hands as I remember them and placed them with a worn knife that he used for so many years and the file that he used to sharpen the tools of his trade. This piece means so much to me and it will to those who remember my dad. It’s an honor to be a part of this exhibition.”

Wally Lowery said, too, that he is honored to have been invited to show his work at the Johnson Center.

“Anytime that you get to show what you to homefolks, that’s an honor,” Lowery said. “My folk art is about people and places here in Pike County. It’s a way that I show appreciation to friends and neighbors for sharing their stories with me and for letting me share my stories with them.”

Lowery’s “Pike County Mafia” and “Hobdy’s Bridge” are about people and place and those people are friends and neighbors and that place is part of home.

Morgan Drinkard, Johnson Center director, said it is an honor for the Johnson Center to bring together so many artists who have roots in Pike County.

“We have a wealth of talented artists in Pike County. Our county is unique in that not many communities would need a whole series of exhibits to showcase their artists,” Drinkard said.

The exhibit includes 40 pieces of artwork from local artists Chris Beck, Mary Susan Berry, Drew Black, Walter Black, Mary Ann Casey, Caleb Dawson, Patricia Duke, Russell Everett, Richard Girdner, Ronald Godwin, Doug Hawkins, Chelsea Ray Lea, Dana Lea, Wally Lowery, Robert McNellis, Duane Paxson, Larry Percy, Greg Skaggs and Bethany Welch.

The Center is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday Admission is free of charge.

The exhibition will close on Jan. 4, 2013.