Reception - open invitation to the public
This collective exhibit is an incredible opportunity to gain insight into the creative process of three local artists: Star Watlington, Mauri Van Buren and Alex Sharpe. In this exhibit, each artist uses traditional media to explore their own unique perspectives in a progressive, non-traditional way. It's sure to be an inspiring and thought-provoking experience for all viewers!
The exhibit will be on display through March 26th.
Alex Sharp is a native of Rockingham county, NC. From an early age he exhibited a natural enthusiasm for creativity and eventually studied art in college. Now a chef and successful small business owner in Caswell County, Alex enjoys creating unique and complex art pieces in his studio on his farmette in his spare time.
Artist Alex Sharp love of “treasure hunting” in flea markets and yard sales fuels his creativity and the result is unique conceptual art pieces that engage the viewer in a variety of ways; whether in admiring the complex details of the medium, the artist’s story coming through, or in the personal interpretation of what is happening in the piece. He prefers using non-traditional items for his assemblage style works; often choosing taxidermy animals, dolls and mannequins as his “palette”, then adding an array of small shapes and objects to build the story or idea he wants to convey. His unique method of adding rustic, “grungy” patina to his found objects give the finished works an aged, time worn effect, as if the pieces have been hidden away for generations. His pieces often have a dark fantasy or steampunk feel, with animals taking center stage in scenes that trigger the viewer’s imagination and draw them into the vision the artist has created.
Vintage Tobacco barns in Caswell County got me started on this mixed media series showing North Carolina Tobacco sharecroppers during the economic depression. When I moved back south 2 years ago, the whole Tobacco culture was new to me and I couldn’t visualize the complex series of tasks it required. Recently retired from a 40 year career in historic preservation, I knew how to learn through primary documentation. I struck gold when I tapped into the free, public domain, historic black and white photos at the Library of Congress. Seems that a government agency under Frank D. Roosevelt, the Farm Security Administration, sent photographers out to rural America to document the suffering of the American people. Of special interest was that two photographers hired by FSA were women: Marion Post Wolcott and the renowned Dorothea Lange. As an artist, I already painted my own photos so I decided that color and texture would translate these images to modern times. I found that the images of suffering and “barely making it” are universal and compelling.This series blends art and history in a way that my renewed appreciation for the south and beauty of the Dan River landscape.
Maurie Van Buren and her son enjoy fixing up their historic house in the Old West End, Danville
I write to breathe…I breathe to write.
My family moved to Caswell County, North Carolina when I was three years old. I grew up on a tobacco farm; working, exploring creeks, and chasing butterflies. Each season, our mother gifted my sibling and I with long walks. On these walks, we were taught about trees, birds, puppies, and the wonderful freedom nature offers.
Poetry found me when tragedy suffocated everything and eleven-year-old girl knew. There were no therapists, only blank pages staring at me. What I would give to hold those writings in my now fragile hands. I rarely write “happy” poems. Most of what I write is inspired by raw, painful truths.
I was educated in Caswell County public schools, and Rockingham Community College.
Life has been filled with horrific sufferings, unspeakable even in the poems I feel are the bravest part of me. Writing poetry is like spilling the garage onto clean pages.
The heart of a poet is struggling to expose self to a place I have not been yet. Thank you for understanding the thoughts of a self-proclaimed Poet.