LINCOLNTON—“You carry that knowledge with you forever!”
That’s local artist Stacey Pilkington Smith described one of the many things in which she finds inspiration: reading books and circling the passages especially important to her.
“I try to encompass how that book made me feel,” said Smith, sipping a mellow Merlot and talking with Lorene Lovell, one of her many friends and fans.
The location for this festive Friday soirée was the Lincoln Cultural Center (where else?). And the merry occasion was the local début of some 100 works by four fabulous friends: Smith, Jacqueline Dunford, Meghan Seehorn and Amy Totzke. The exhibition is ongoing through Dec. 28, said Smith. She resides in lovely Lincolnton, and Dunford lives in the urbane setting of Belmont. Seehorn and Totzke dwell amid the rural splendour of Lowesville in eastern Lincoln County.
Smith, 32 and a recent graduate of Gaston College, studied welding there, adding to her artistic arsenal. She and Dunford maintain a studio, Arts on Main, at 212 W. Main Ave. in Gastonia.
As most artists will tell you, the creative spirit can be a joyous, liberating thing, and Smith clearly and boisterously agrees.
“This is my world!” she said with a broad smile and a big laugh, referring to the wonderful freedom of being an artist.
Smith has mastered many media.
“I like to mesh styles and do whatever moves me,” she remarked.
Her “Father Nature” is a compelling graphite work. It depicts not Mother Nature but instead an old man with a biblical prophet’s beard as the personification of the natural world. “Abstract Peacock” is just that—an abstract and colourful work in mixed media. And Smith’s oil painting, “Nature’s Clock,” with its whimsical subject matter, rather resembles Salvador Dalí’s famous “Persistence of Memory.”
Lovell was suitably impressed.
“It just oozes out of her!” she said of Smith’s artistic ability.
This exhibition marks the third annually for this quartet of talented ladies. But this is the first time it’s been seen in Lincolnton, as Smith explained.
It is, she added, “a powerful show. I’m real excited. I think we did a really good job!”
The works on display, tastefully arranged on the LCC’s walls, serve to complement each other.
“It makes for a very smooth transition,” Smith observed. “It follows a traditional sense, yet it’s also new and young. These are some women I highly admire.”
Dunford creates many encaustic works—a method involving the application of heat to fuse wax colours on to a surface. Earthenware tile may be involved as well.
“Clay is also in my blood,” Dunford noted. “And nature is a big inspiration for my work, because it is popular and sellable, which is important to a self-supporting artist.”
Seehorn’s “Caged” is a work of sombre sadness. And its dark purples and greens convey a feeling of frustration and the loss of freedom. In the centre of the painting, a girl on a swing in a gilded cage has a look of utter dejection.
“I have always been fascinated with the human figure and the individual stories conveyed by the human form,” said Seehorn. “My works are three-dimensional journals that chronicle the lives of people.”
Totzke teaches art at Mooresville Middle School. And her “Childhood Revisited” shows that she has much to teach indeed. A work of acrylic and crayon, it positively glows with colourful inspiration. Totzke herself looms large in the painting’s right corner, playfully blowing soap bubbles. This large and striking image resembles nothing so much as an album cover from 1967, when psychedelia was at its zenith. It might have graced an LP by the Zombies or a single from the Beatles. Think “Dear Prudence.”
“I am proud to be an artist,” said Totzke. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything! And I am infinitely thankful to God for blessing me with this ability.”