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Colorful 36th Spring Group Exhibition at Carlton Gallery with Artists’ Reception on May 26

“Lovers” by Warren Dennis.
“Heads Will Turn” by Mary-Ann Prack.

Carlton Gallery celebrates 36 years with its colorful Spring Group Exhibition on Saturday, May 26 with an Artists’ Reception from 2 to 5 pm. Some of the gallery’s standing artists plan to attend to meet visitors and patrons which affords one the opportunity to enjoy a spring afternoon filled with wonderful ART in Paintings, Glass, Sculpture, Wood, Clay, Fiber and Jewelry. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served and this exhibition is without charge.

The gallery is filled with new work in abstracted landscapes by Andrew Braitman and Kate Worm; traditional landscapes by Kevin Beck, Egidio Antonaccio, Sharon Rusch Shaver and Freeman Beard; flora and fauna by Trena McNabb and Marion Cloaninger; trees, leaves and florals by Debbie Arnold and Tonya Bottomley; cityscapes and florals by Gina Strumpf; acrylic calligraphic paintings with Chinese ink by Michael Grady; still life by Mary Martha McKinley; acrylic, mixed media outsider art by Mike Ham, along with 3-dimensional clay sculpture by Marty Allran.  

This 36th Spring Group Exhibition also features “Contemporary Cubist Charisma in Paintings and Sculpture” by Warren Dennis and Mary-Ann Prack

“Spring Picnic” by Warren Dennis.

Warren Dennis spent his life teaching art and taught at Appalachian State University until his retirement in 1993. The gallery owner and artist, Toni Carlton, says it was her greatest joy to have had such an inspiring teacher and mentor when she was an art student. Dennis became her first exhibiting artist and remains the gallery’s longest standing artist.

The paintings of Dennis are rendered with an expression of a moment in time or a suggestion of an unspoken feeling or emotion. After a lifetime of painting “ordinary people doing ordinary things” in his elongated style, Dennis in true artist fashion tried something new. Some seven years or so ago, he began to paint in a cubist style but with the same dramatic presence.

“Musician” by Warren Dennis.

The cubist style paintings of Dennis are rendered with sharp lines and strong contrast outlining the geometric shapes. His sense of life and vitality is an important element in his work which he transposes brilliantly to canvas. Even though Dennis’ paintings are rendered in a cubist manner, his images are personable and identifiable.

Dennis says, “The human image is obviously the central factor in my work. These figures and faces result from years of effort – a careful honing, by trial and error, to gain a specific effect. My entire body of work is a meditation on the American Spirit which I have seen in its humor, complexity, struggles and above all, in its unquenchable determination to triumph over adversity. All my work is personal and it all has personality – That’s what I try to get across”.

Born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Dennis earned a Bachelor of Art from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Mississippi. A noted artist of long standing, Dennis has exhibited in solo and group shows and his award winning art is in many corporate and private collections throughout the U.S. and Canada. His paintings have been featured on “CBS Sunday Morning” program, as well as in Southern Living Magazine.

Mary-Ann Prack comes from an artistic family – her grandfather, father and other members formed an architectural, engineering and fine art family tradition that spans three generations and two countries. Her formal fine art education began at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada and continued at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and Florida Atlantic University where she studied fine art and interior design.

Prack enjoys clay as a sculpture medium from the discovery of its unlimited potential for creative expression to the fulfillment that comes with having complete personal control over the whole artistic process. For the past thirty years Prack has worked with clay as her signature medium. She has perfected her sculptures to be precise, distinctive and colorful with geometric purity of form and surface detail.

Prack builds each piece using a specially formulated clay body that has stone like hardness, strength and consistency suitable for large scale clay construction. After the first bisque firing, she applies glazes and stains in much the same manner as a painter approaches a new canvas and fires a final time to attain the colors and surface patterns. She sometimes uses “cold colors” and metallic oxides to obtain a specific surface treatment.

“Quiet Laughter” by Mary-Ann Prack.

The sizes of her unique sculptures range from 1 to 8 feet in height. Prack considers the most essential element of her work to be the strong emotional and spiritual impact upon the viewer. Her sculptures come alive when viewed as free standing and even more appreciated when they are in a small group. When Prack’s clay sculptures are paired with her colorful non-objective abstract paintings, they make a compelling art statement.

Prack creates her non-objective abstract paintings on an intuitive level, working in an unstructured, free form style to produce paintings that are powerful yet soft and dreamlike. Her imagery in both painting and sculpture uses mystical shapes and forms of the human figure, accented with a touch of hard edge line and bold geometric blocks of color to build multiple dimensions and visual depth.

Prack’s artistic style is her own instantly recognizable abstract expressionist form that garners awards and commendations from critics, collectors and sculptors. She states. “The relationship between abstraction and the human figure has everything to do with how I interpret the human experience – seeing and feeling intuitively as I work on a sculpture. Even though the viewer may not see what I see in the figure I create, the beauty of abstraction is that each viewer has their own interpretation experience which can change, grow and never be stagnant”.

Both Dennis and Prack embody the essence of “Contemporary Cubist Charisma” in this unforgettable collection of outstanding fine art.

Enjoy an ART filled afternoon at Carlton Gallery’s 36th Spring Group Exhibition on Saturday, May 26, with an Artists’ Reception from 2 to 5 p.m. This exhibition can be viewed through July 15. The gallery is located 10 miles south of Boone and 7 miles north of Linville or Banner Elk and 8 miles from Blowing Rock on NC 105 South in the Grandfather Mountain Community. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 to 5 and 11 to 5 on Sunday.

For additional information on artists, exhibitions or workshops, call (828) 963-4288 or visit www.carltongallery.com.

“Shape Shifting” by Mary-Ann Prack.