By Hayden Wiggs
The Artist Colony at Tannery Row boasted some impressive artwork during its latest showing on Friday, June 8th. Twinkling lights arched over the doorways leading to each artist’s studio, each of them as colorful and as unique as the artists themselves. Artist Debra Barnhart, known for her pieces of incredible likeness of natural life, showed a painting of a herd of elephants, one of the many paintings in her gallery. “I am inspired by wildlife,” she said, “All of my work starts as photography, and my goal is to make them look like paintings. I take them into Photoshop and play around with them, and I print all of my own work. I’ve always loved wildlife. I went to Africa last year, and when you go on these cruises, you’re sitting in these open-air trucks with nothing on top. I loved it when our group leader said, ‘I smell elephants’. And this group of elephants came out walking towards our truck, parted in two, and went around us. It was an amazing experience, and that is what inspired this painting.”
Those pieces that fit with the theme of three-dimensional artwork were housed in their own separate room, the most impressive of which being adorned with a shiny ribbon that told of its placing. I had the privilege of speaking with some of the winning artists and asked them about their work and I found both of their answers very engaging and perhaps even moving. “This is the first time I’ve shown any three-dimensional artwork,” said artist Karen Adams whose “Horned Man of the Sea” sculpture took 2nd place. “All my life, I’ve been a two-dimensional artist. I just started doing 3-D not too long ago, and to have two pieces be accepted in my first 3-D show is amazing. I’m doing sculpture work now and I’m so in love with doing figures that I just had to go to another medium. I’ve done watercolors, I’ve done charcoal, and I needed a new vehicle to create within.” She motioned to her sculpture, a bearded man with horns and sorrowful expression. “This guy here is a culmination of the sea and the earth. He has horns and shells and he is my ideal deity. He is of both worlds and I think that we, as humans, are all like that, too.”
Another artist, Aleta Aaron described what inspired her to create “Voices”, her piece that placed third. “I’m a psychotherapist as well as an artist, so I know that my practice of therapy definitely inspires my work. This piece, especially. I hear a lot, and everyone has stories. There is something very ancient about this piece, and I think this person represents stories or voices that have been heard or other voices that are looking to be heard. Look here,” she said, pointing to her piece. “This part here can be moved around. This piece here is the offering, as if something to give to the world, such as voices or history. So, that’s what came to me when I finished this piece. This is very new to me,” she admitted. “I don’t usually do faces. I’ve worked in casts for fifteen years, and this one just appeared to me.”
The exhibit runs now through July 28th, 2018. The Artist Colony at Tannery Row is open to the public Tuesday – Saturday each week from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Colony is located at 554 W. Main Street in Buford. For more information visit www.tanneryrowartistcolony.net.