Aiken Center for the Arts features variety of galleries

  • Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013 5:57 p.m.
Submitted photos
“Spring Egrets” by Gwen Power
Submitted photos “Spring Egrets” by Gwen Power

The watercolor works of Aiken Artist Guild member Gwen Power will be on display in the Aiken Artist Guild Gallery at the Aiken Center for the Arts for the month of June, arts center gallery store manager and pottery instructor Michelle Petty will present her paintings, prints and sculptures in the Brooks Gallery until June 30, and the exhibition of the Aiken Center for the Arts adult students, as well as the Aiken Center for the Arts staff and volunteer exhibitions will run in the Founder’s and Wyatt Galleries, respectively, through July 26.

For featured artist Power, who creates her nature scenes of Aiken County by coating her canvas with rivulets of water and then allowing drops of paint to move throughout, “using watercolor enables me to reflect the energy and love of the beautiful scenes the one above creates, and I am filled with joy spending time in these areas and painting them.”

Her exhibit includes depictions of hundred-year-old barns and farms, which are meant to teach younger viewers about the modest, rural lifestyle many folks from this area embraced generations ago. She has also created a series of scenes which guide us through winter, spring, summer and fall.

“Our creator creates beauty throughout the year, and these pieces share that year-long beauty with the viewers of the exhibit,” said Power.

In addition to her June exhibition, Power’s paintings can also be found at the Gallery of the Art Association of Ridge Spring, Juniper in Ridge Spring or on her website, www.gwenpower.com.

In her role as the manager of the Aiken Center for the Arts gallery store, Petty can often be found arranging artists’ displays on the gallery floors. This month, she’s exhibiting her own signature series of ceramic female nudes in the Brooks Gallery on the second floor of the arts center, alongside paintings and prints she’s created through the years.

“My focus on the female form arose gradually from my initial sculptural work of biomorphic vessels, which reminded me of a woman’s natural roundness,” said Petty.

Now, she creates her figures with exaggerated curves as a way to explore femininity and to question the standards of American beauty. The pieces are meant to empower women to be who they are, unapologetically.

Petty explained that the figures also boast large and expressive hands “which represent doing, loving, comforting and strength.”

While her exhibition features mainly female figures, her popular Beach Babes in bikinis and other artwork can be found for sale in Charleston, Greenville, Spartanburg and on her website at www.michellepetty.com.

Mandy Woodhouse, program director at the Aiken Center for the Arts, said she’s pleased to exhibit not only the hidden talents of the arts center’s staff and volunteers but also that of the adults who’ve taken classes and workshops at the arts center.

“We are honored to raise up new talent and help students grow in their passion,” Woodhouse said of the eclectic Adult Student Exhibition, which features weaving, clay, acrylic, pastel, watercolor and mixed media and can be viewed in the ACA Founder’s Gallery until July 26.

One student Laura Witham, a native of Aiken and novice artist, has acrylic paintings in the exhibition.

“I thought I’d practice painting water and clouds this year, since they’re such common elements in nature scenes,” said Witham. “I was also hoping they would be easy.”

Witham enrolled in her first ACA painting class with teacher Gretchen Hash-Heffner a year ago with the intention of revisiting the creative spark of her childhood.

For more information about the exhibitions this summer or classes and summer camps, call Woodhouse at 803-641-9094, email acapgm@bellsouth.net or visit www.aikencenterforthearts.org.

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