Painters of the Piedmont: PEC’s 40th Anniversary Art Show

The Piedmont Environmental Council is proud to bring together eleven of the leading artists working in the Virginia Piedmont region. The thirty works of art chosen for exhibition will highlight a cross section of artists who by their creativity and ability make us all aware of the abundant resources of the region. These artists work in various mediums and approach their art in different ways, but all share a sense of place that is the Virginia Piedmont.  

All of the artwork is for sale and proceeds will benefit the 40th Anniversary Fund of PEC—making possible new outreach initiatives.

Honorary Chair: Clarice Smith 
Curator: William Woodward
Sponsor: Piedmont Virginian Magazine

Exhibition Locations:

September 2012 — Chroma Projects, 418 East Main St on the Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, VA 
Exhibition September 6- 29, 2012
Meet the Artist Reception September 6, 2012, 5:00- 8:00 pm

October 2012 — James Madison’s Montpelier Visitor Center, Orange, VA
Exhibition October 15, 2012- November 3 2012
Meet the Artist Reception October 17, 2012 5:00-8:00 pm

November 2012 — National Sporting Library, Middleburg, VA Exhibition
November 7- 21, 2012
Meet the Artist Reception November 7, 2012 5:00-8:00 pm

Participating Artists:

Nancy Bass
Michelle Gagliano
Lara Call Gastinger
Becky Parrish
Lincoln Perry
Maggie Siner
Clarice Smith
Chris Stephens
Daphne vom Baur
Richard Weaver
William Woodward

Artists Bios

Nancy Bass is a long-time resident of Charlottesville whose paintings juxtapose intimate encounters and modernist abstraction. Her portrait work features an exploration of color and texture — creating amazingly human portrayals of farm animals in abstract fields and settings. In 2011, Bass created 13 striking paintings featuring animals from regional farms that participate in PEC’s Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign. She donated the proceeds from those paintings to the campaign — helping us strengthen the ties between the Piedmont’s citizens and local businesses.

Bass’s work has been exhibited nationwide over the past decade, and her paintings have been included in numerous juried exhibitions and acclaimed by numerous, highly regarded curatorial and museum experts. She is a member of the McGuffey Arts Center, an artists’ cooperative in Charlottesville, VA, and her paintings are featured in many noted public and private collections in Virginia and across the country. Bass’ paintings are featured in the book How Did You Paint That? 100 Ways to Paint the Landscape and her paintings have ranked finalists in The Artist’s Magazine International Competition for the past two years.

Lara Call Gastinger is an artist and botanical illustrator from Charlottesville. She depicts artifacts of the natural world, and her work reveals detailed evidence of the natural processes of growth, reproduction, and decay. Gastinger finds inspiration in a carrot that has gone to flower, a broken seed pod, twisted roots or insect damage to a leaf, and she strives to portray her subjects in such a way to reveal their character and uniqueness. Her focus on small details and the celebration of the everyday inspires one to look a bit deeper and linger a bit longer.

Gastinger currently serves as the chief illustrator for the Flora of Virginia Project, which will result in a botanical reference manual that will contain 1500 of her original illustrations. A biologist who earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia and master’s degree in plant ecology from Virginia Tech, she is a standing member of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the Virginia Native Plant Society. Gastinger is also an associate member of McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville, where she shows her work, and her illustrations have been exhibited in New York City and at the Royal Horticultural Society garden show in London — where she earned the RHS’s gold medal.. Most recently, her work was accepted into the prestigious Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation.

Michelle Gagliano’s paintings capture a sense of beauty that seeks to transcend a specific time and place. In her paintings, Gagliano explores the idea of “surface alchemy.” Through layers of oil glazes and stains, she creates a textural and tonal patina that evokes a sense of aged surfaces and timelessness. The organic content of her work refers not to specific landscapes or flora, but rather suggests an imaginary moment beyond a realist interpretation. The use of metallic paint and sfmuato techniques augments a sense of visual resonance, an experience outside of what the eye would see in nature.

Gagliano’s has been painting for over 25 years, and her work has been shown across the country — including solo exhibitions in Texas, Louisiana, California, and New Mexico. Her paintings are also held in numerous private and corporate collections throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. Gagliano was born in Jamestown, New York, and studied painting at North Texas State University with painter Vernon Fisher. She has a degree in painting from Plymouth State University, Plymouth, New Hampshire, and travels frequently between Texas, New York and Virginia.

Becky Parrish’s deft use of color contrast, light and shadow mark her paintings. Her portraits capture an individual’s spirit rather than presenting a hard-edged photographic reproduction, and her colorful, still life depictions and scenes are highly accomplished and strikingly unique. Early on in her career, Parrish assisted artists commissioned to create large murals — painting the faces of people with a skill and accuracy that led her to be recognized and widely hailed as a portraitist.

Parrish’s art has been exhibited in numerous professional shows in the Washington DC, Maryland and northern Virginia areas. She is the recipient of several awards and fellowships for her work. A resident of Warrenton, she continues to hone her skills by both conducting and participating in art studios and workshops, most recently at the William Woodward School of Fine Arts. She graduated with a BA degree from George Mason University, went on to earn a MFA at George Washington University, and then served as the Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Lord Fairfax Community College from 1999 to 2003.

Lincoln Perry is described as “a figurative painter of narratives.” His elegantly crafted paintings have been compared to such European masters as Poussin, de Chirico and Balthus. Many of Perry’s compositions consist of a series of panels — forming visual narratives that can be viewed from multiple viewpoints and perspectives. Unfolding in a film-like sequence, Perry’s often allegorical images and story-lines purposefully cultivate an ambiguity that engages the viewer both visually and intellectually. Rather than answers and solutions, Perry’s work is best known for the questions it asks and the possibilities it presents. In addition to his work as an easel painter, Perry is also an accomplished muralist and sculptor.

Perry was born in New York City and received his education at Columbia University and Queens College. He has taught at the University of Arkansas and the University of New Hampshire and has been a Distinguished Visiting Artist at the University of Virginia since 2001. His work is included in numerous private and public collections, including the University of Virginia Art Museum and Metropolitan Life. Perry’s mural commissions are found at Cabell Hall at (UVA); Lincoln Square in Washington, D.C.; the Federal Courthouse in Tallahassee; and the Met Life Building in St. Louis.

Maggie Siner, of Hamilton, VA, is a quiet voice in the contemporary art world. Her paintings are held dear for their enduring qualities: the sense of the fleeting moment, exquisite clarity of light, bold gestural brushwork, delicately balanced structure, and all around fine craftsmanship. Siner’s work is classically derived yet contemporary. She works exclusively from life, one of a diminishing number of artists who use direct visual perception to translate the human experience into material form. A master of paint, she is known for evocative portraits, luscious still-life arrangements, and a sparkling play of light and shadow emphasizing the momentary nature of vision and time.

Siner is also a devoted teacher who has influenced a generation of painters. She has been on the faculty of l’Institut Américain Universitaire and the Lacoste School of Art in France; a visiting professor at Xiamen University in China; artist in residence at the Savannah College of Art and Design; Dean of Faculty at the Washington Studio School; and she teaches many workshops around the country. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Siner began her studies at the Art Students League of New York in 1968, graduated from Boston University (BFA) and American University (MFA), and she has lived for extended periods in France, China and Italy. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums for over 30 years and is in hundreds of private collections around the world.

Clarice Smith is described by critics as an intriguing and enigmatic artist. This Upperville resident belongs to no school, yet is clearly influenced by several traditions. Smith creates a world through paint that is simultaneously tangible and distant — familiar yet disquieting. Her portfolio includes portraits, florals, landscapes, still-lifes, and horses painted with ease. She portrays a convincing reality and an ambience unique to a particular place. Both in technique and mood, her paintings share little with the strict photo-realists who are her contemporaries but are rather linked to earlier painters who are her inspiration.

Smith has had numerous solo exhibitions in prestigious galleries in the United States and abroad including an exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in 2011. She is represented by the Gerald Peters Gallery in New York City.

Christopher Stephens was determined to be an artist from an early age, largely self-taught, eventually pursuing a BFA from UNC-Greensboro and later, an MFA from James Madison University. He was artist-in-residence in Warren County, Virginia from 1987-1997, working in 5 elementary schools, inspiring and being inspired by children. Stephens shows his work in Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte, North Carolina, in Richmond, Washington and Sperryville, Virginia, and in Washington, DC.

He has participated in the Art in Embassies program, showing work in Anhkara Turkey and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Locally, his work is prominently featured in the collections of the UVA Hospital and Martha Jefferson Hospital, both in Charlottesville and at the Duke Medical Center, Durham, NC, and at NIH in Bethesda MD. He has been painting professionally for 30 years. He lives and works in Front Royal.

Daphne vom Baur, as noted in The American Arts Quarterly in 2000, is an accomplished artist from Warrenton, VA, who is described as having a sensibility “closest to that of early Modernists from the Fauve camp, and her palette has a juicy mauve-tinged opulence. She cites the Abstract Expressionists as an influence on her work, in the way they focus both on color and on the ‘action or energy of the picture plane.’ This [is apparent] in her landscapes. Trees and rocks mirrored in water may become as insubstantial as their own reflections, a painting strategy that emphasizes the integrity of the canvas as a flat plane occupied by shapes and colors.” She paints landscapes, allegorical figures and coastal scenes — a strong sense of color, rhythm and movement inform her work.

Vom Baur received her BFA degree from Boston University and has studied at the London College of Art in London and at Brighton Polytechnic College is Sussex. She has been named a Visiting Artist at the Susquehana Studio is Pennsylvania and a Fellow at Philip Pearlstein’s Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida. Vom Baur has exhibited widely in South Carolina — including shows at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, the South Carolina State Museum, the Anderson County Arts Center, numerous Springs Traveling Exhibitions, as well as the South Carolina Women Artists Invitational at Furman University in Greenville. Other exhibitions include the University of Tennessee, the Susquehana Studio, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the David Hamilton Gallery and the Verner Gallery in Charleston and a group show at the Washington (DC) Gallery of Art.

Rick Weaver of Charlottesville is both a noted painter and sculptor. Critics say he is an artist who specializes in “meticulous realism” in his watercolors, something that is not easy to achieve. Laura Parsons, a Charlottesville art critic, noted that “Weaver treats watercolors like oils — building up almost opaque layers with colors that are unexpectedly saturated and vivid. Yet a closer look reveals Weaver also takes advantage of the medium’s transparency to create shifting shadows and variations in the play of light.

Weaver received his formal art training in New York City at the National Academy of Design, the New York Academy, and the Art Students League. He studied painting and drawing with notable art instructors, and went on to earn his Master of Fine Arts at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, where he was influenced by the sculptor Billy Lee. Weaver has shown his work in a number of national venues including galleries in Chicago, Washington DC, and New York and has received recognition for both his sculpture and painting skills. Recent awards include grants from the Bader Fund (2005), the George Sugarman Foundation (2005) and a fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts (2005). Weaver keeps an art studio at the McGuffey Arts Center in Charlottesville, where he offers private lessons. He also offers classes and workshops through the Art League in Alexandria, and conducts workshops through the Beverly Street Studio School in Staunton, Virginia.

William Woodward is Professor Emeritus of Fine Art at The George Washington University where he taught and directed the painting program for graduate students. Woodward grew up in Washington D.C., and earned his B.A. and M.A. from American University. He studied at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, and at the Accademia di Belli Arti in Florence, Italy on a Fellowship from The Leopold Shepp Foundation.

In 1989, he won the design competition for a silver dollar minted by the U.S Treasury, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Congress. His most recent commissions include a mural at the Lincoln National Monument in Washington, D.C. Woodward has several decades of experience in creating narrative art. He was selected to paint “The Greatest Show on Earth” for Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Combined Shows, Inc., Corporate Headquarters in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia.

His most notable works are “The Great Odyssey of Medicine” at the Conference Center of Fairfax Inova Hospital, and “A Loudoun County Story” at the Thomas Balch Library Mural in Leesburg, Virginia. His most recent commission is the mural, “Thomas Jefferson at Monticello” at the new visitors’ center. His painting “Avarice” was awarded 1st Prize at the 49th Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Art at the Society of the Four Arts Museum, Palm Beach, Florida, in 1995. He has been invited to the National Gallery of Art, as guest expert, where he presented two lectures and live demonstrations re-creating Titian’s “Venus Before the Mirror”.

As part of Painters of the Piedmont, we will host a panel talk at City Space in Charlottesville on September 21 with artists Lincoln Perry, Craig McPherson, William Woodward and Ross McDermott, speaking of the protocols, obstacles, technical processes and the impact of mural painting in public spaces.