A MAGICAL EXPERIENCE: New exhibits open at JCA

Published 3:11 am Saturday, March 23, 2019

When visual surprises hide in plain sight and nature has its way, then something magical happens.

Something magical is happening now at the Johnson Center for the Arts.

Warren Simons’ “Visual Surprises: Hiding in Plain Sight” and Paige Smith Wyatt’s “Nature’s Way” are the featured exhibitions at the JCA through April 13 and already people are finding their art, “magical.”

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“The response to these two exhibitions has been very enthusiastic,” said Wiley White,” JCA exhibition coordinator. “Paige Smith-Wyatt’s artwork is said to speak to a place just beyond consciousness where a deeper experience and meaning can be found.”
Smith-Wyatt was born and raised in Alabama and spent huge amounts of time playing in the fields and woods on her family’s land.

She has lived and painted among the people and landscapes of Alabama, Virginia, Nevada, Texas, New York, Hawaii, North Dakota and the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

“Those influences can be seen in her paintings,” White said. “Her artwork takes you on a visual journey to all those places and into a place of your own.”

For, Smith-Wyatt painting is a meditative process.

“I apply many thin layers of paint to create a luminous, peaceful effect,” she said. “Through the creative process, I rely on feeling and empathy, sensitivity to my medium and the artwork’s surface and process to achieve a spiritual synthesis.”
Smith-Wyatt said her art brings to mind the awe and joy as well as the sense of calm and renewal she finds through a connection to nature.

“I think each viewer will experience my work in their own unique way,” she said. “My hope is that my paintings become objects in their own right with distinct physical and spiritual presence.”

Warren Simons has practiced the art of seeing with the camera for 15 years. He has found that the world is full of visual surprises hiding in plain sight.

“I don’t search for these visual surprises,” he said. “I stay calm, move slowly and look deeply.”

With no preconceived ideas of what he will see and photograph, Simons lets the visual surprises magically find him.

White said Simon’s images express moments of a clear, fresh connection with the visual world.

“Warren Simons creates beautiful, original compositions where eye, mind and heart converge,” she said.

Simons follows his own road of exploration, learning from photographers, painters, art teachers, writers, potters and poets. He has won numerous awards for his work.

The Johnson Center for the Arts will proudly host a reception for artist Paige Smith-Wyatt and photographer Warren Simons from 6 until 8 p.m. Thursday, March 28. Both artists have Troy connections and will be present at the reception and will participate in an Art Talk.

Both Smith-Wyatt and Simons have connections to Troy. Smith Wyatt is an arts instructor at Troy University and Simons and his wife, Janice, have lived in Troy for several years. He entered work in Johnson Center exhibitions while living in the city and continued to do so after he moved to Montgomery.

“These are such insightful exhibits for our community,” White said. “Those of us who know Warren and Paige personally can attest to the fact that these are artists who are invested in the Troy and Pike County communities through their work and through their art.

“It’s our honor to re-introduce these talented Alabama artists and their current work to the Troy and Pike County communities at the reception on Thursday, White said. “We are expecting a great crowd to welcome Paige and Warren to Troy and the Johnson Center.”

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