ON EXHIBIT: Johnson Center features new pair of artists
Published 3:00 am Saturday, March 11, 2017
The Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy is featuring two artists with uniquely different styles and different techniques in its early spring exhibitions. Both exhibitions opened on March 8 and will run though April 15.
Lisa K. Stokes’ “Cowboy Contemporary” exhibition is featured in the JCA Upper Level galleries and Virginia Fergus’ “Journey through Daydreams” is in the Lower Level Gallery.
“These artists are not unfamiliar to people in our area,” said Wiley White, JCA exhibition coordinator. “Lisa graciously allowed us to exhibit several of her pieces of Western art to enhance the JCA’s Wild Wild West Student Art Expo in the fall.
The response to Stokes’ work was remarkable and White said the JCA has been looking forward to a large body of her work being exhibited this spring.
“Virginia Fergus was awarded ‘Best of Show’ at the 2016 TroyFest juried arts and crafts show,” White said. “She is an outstanding watercolor artist and we are excited to have a large body of her work exhibited at the Johnson Center for the Arts.”
The JCA will host an artists’ reception for Stokes and Fergus from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. on Thursday and the public is invited. The reception will feature meet and greets with the Stokes and Fergus and guided tours of the exhibitions.
In celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day on Friday, the reception will feature traditional Irish music played by the Troy University Celtic Ensemble featuring Hun Har Heste. Homemade desserts will be served and admission is free.
“This will be a festive opportunity for the community to meet Lisa and Virginia and to learn more about them and their artwork, which is incredible,” White said.
Lisa K. Stokes, who divides her time between Weatherford, Texas and Pike Road, is best described as a Western “Cowboy Contemporary digital artist.
“Lisa’s art is not exactly photos nor is it paintings,” White said. “Her art is a combination of layered scans of hand-painted acrylic backgrounds, assisted by the magic of computer technology.”
White said there is no way to describe Stokes’ art. It has to be viewed.
“It’s unique, one-of-a-kind,” she said. “Lisa is an incredible artist but before she was a Western artist, she was a runway model. But she soon realized that she is a cowgirl at heart and more comfortable in the saddle than on a runway.
Stokes’ art celebrates the Western heritage that is her passion.
In the JCA lower gallery, Virginia Fergus’ “Journey through Daydreams” exhibition is something that is uniquely hers.
Painting has always been a natural experience Fergus. Growing up, she spent many summer days with her grandmother in the sleepy Alabama town of Canoe. Her grandmother gave Fergus her first paint set and lessons.
“Virginia’s grandmother was a painter and must have recognized her talent at early age,” White said.
In her early 20s, Fergus decided watercolor was the medium for her, White said. She took weekly lessons for three years and then just began painting on her own. Over the years, her process has changed. It is a more a nontraditional approach and is something uniquely, Virginia Fergus.
The artist, who learned to paint at her grandmother’s home in Canoe has done hundreds of “one woman shows” in the sense that she does everything from framing to meeting her patrons and selling her art.
For Lisa K. Stokes and Virginia Fergus, art is their gift and a gift they readily and graciously share with others.
The JCA invites the community to come to the Johnson Center for the Arts, Thursday night, meet the artists and take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about them and their art and celebrate St. Paddy’s Day with music, food and fun.