May 13, 2013. Toni Carlton has an Artist Reception in the Dickson Gallery at Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville, NC on Sunday, May 19, 2-4 p.m. Her exhibition of works from her “Spirit of the Heart” series will hang in the gallery for the month of May. A heartfelt invitation is given to the community to attend this reception and meet the artist while enjoying light refreshments.
Native to the High Country, with a heritage of Appalachian Weavers, quilters, and woodworkers, Toni Carlton began her art career as a fiber artist after graduating with an Art and Industrial Art degree from ASU. As a third generation weaver, Carlton’s early work was primarily fiber, including traditional weaving patterns, modern wall hangings, and sculptural basketry. In the early 90’s Carlton’s artwork shifted to a series of Mixed Media paintings she called “Spirit of the Heart”.
“If I can bare my soul up there on the wall, maybe you can express your feelings to someone who’s important to you,” says local artist, Toni Carlton. Her earlier works, “Spirit of the Heart” on display at the Dickson Gallery at Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville, NC are truly expressions from an open heart.
This series began in the early 90’s with a trip to Europe with Sally Atkins and Noyes Capehart Long where Toni took a month long class called, The Psychology of Art. Through a series of drawings to explore her emotions along with meditations, journaling and the study of Art, Toni began creating artwork in a new way, moving away from her earlier career as a fiber artist and creating a new series called “Spirit of the Heart”.
“A lot of (the paintings) have to do with love and sharing love…the balance of male and female energies within us…knowing we have both…and also the male and female energy of two people coming together as one.” Many of Carlton’s paintings depict two people with hearts joined. The symbol, to her, means a wholeness of two people sharing love and also being connected to Spirit. Many of her paintings show soul mates lost or found or relationships fulfilled or released. One painting, “The Circle of Life”, began with the passing of her Great Pyrenees, Kona, so the painting process became her therapy. This work was a precursor of her mixed media paintings to come that resulted from following her heart and continuing with using art as therapy, as she studied Expressive Art Therapy for several years. She still uses it today in her life as well as in her current artwork.
Returning to weaving as a meditation in 2011, Carlton’s recent compositions express the energy of peace and oneness as she incorporates her weavings into the canvas representing prayers for peace. Through the layers of collage, calligraphic and Asian symbols, painting and transfer images combined with fibers, Carlton revisits her spiritual journey as an artist throughout the years. This series of work can be seen at Carlton Gallery, along with her “Mothering Peace” exhibition – a series of touch/soul drawings. She has her studio where her art can be viewed above the gallery which is located on Hwy 105 between Boone and Linville with hours 10 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday and 11 to 5 on Sunday. Also Carlton’s original art as well as limited edition giclees can be found at the new Boone Healing Art Center.
Celebrating her 31st year in 2013 of owning Carlton Gallery, Toni has been through many layers of art making with multiple media; but the series, “Spirit of the Heart” marked the beginning of a transformational time in her life where using art for healing became a ritual. Art Blessings – “Spirit of the Heart” is meant to open the hearts of those who view the work; so it seems appropriate to exhibit this work for the month of May in the Dickson Gallery at Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville, NC for the community to witness the healing aspects of creating and viewing art.
My artwork for over 20 years, using expressive arts and fine art combined, has had a theme of bringing peace to the world in times of change. Most of my paintings over the years have represented, inner reflections, changes through relationships, or world peace and have expressed transitions in many forms using mixed media, painting, hand-woven fibers, transfer images, calligraphy and collage. Oneness has been a central theme representing multicultural connections through the use of different languages in calligraphy combined with intuitive writing in English. The writing which is applied in the beginning is a result of meditation and movement and it is offered to the piece as a prayer which sets the stage for the inspiration to begin each piece. The writing is mostly covered in the majority of the pieces but the energy remains. A desire to open the hearts of humankind through my art has always been an intention with my artwork.