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Art Exhibit Celebrates Statehood of West Virginia

June 4, 2013

WHEELING -- To celebrate West Virginia's sesquicentenntial, Artworks Around Town at the Centre Market in Wheeling has created a once-in-a-lifetime show of six celebrated West Virginia artists.

As always, the gallery hop and opening of this show, slated from 5:30-8 p.m. Friday, June 7, is free and open to the public at the Centre Market, located at 2200 Market St. Light refreshments are served.

Marilyn Hughey Phillis, curator of gallery shows at Artworks, created this celebratory show to display the work of West Virginia artists and remind the public of the rich history of arts in West Virginia. The show includes Anne Hazlett Foreman, Susan Poffenbarger, Pat Roberts, Robert Wren Smith, Brian V. Taylor and Linda J.C. Turner.

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All of these artists are award winners and honored for their individual skill in their chosen medias including watercolor, acrylics, oil, and mixed media assemblage.

Wheeling artists included in the show are Foreman and Taylor, both members of Artworks. Foreman, well known as an acrylic artist who has illustrated a number of local history books, also is known for her numerous paintings of dogs and other animals, including cats and birds. She is an active re-enactor with the Fort Henry Days celebration and other local historical events.

Foreman graduated from Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy and Chatham College with an excellent command of her choice of medium whether acrylic or watercolor. She has created numerous paintings of local historical scenes which are displayed at Wilson Lodge in Oglebay Park and at the Artworks gallery in the Centre Market.

Taylor, also an active member of Artworks Around Town, is a self-taught, late-developing artist. He completed 13 lessons in pencil and ink with the 12 Famous Artists Course, but was never able to finish the remaining art lesson in 1957. Never daunted, in 2002, he once again entered a correspondence school of art, the Stratford Career Institute, and completed the courses with high honors. Later in 2002, he was juried into Artworks.

Taylor works mainly in acrylic to create mostly landscapes of dramatic beauty. He strongly believes that the artist in his soul will create his artistic character and destiny, according to the vision of the beauty of the Eternal Mind.

From other parts of the state are Turner, a superb watercolorist from Jane Lew; Poffenbarger, a well-known landscape artist from Charleston; Roberts, mainly a watercolorist who incorporates every medium possible into her work with her "Coal Series" documenting the history of West Virginia coal mining, and Smith, who creates superb landscapes, portraits and still life.

Smith, a Vienna resident, is a well-schooled and creative watercolorist with numerous prizes and awards from various West Virginia art shows. His boyhood to adulthood love of sketching has continued to develop his skill along with his many courses of study at the Cincinnati Art Academy, Marietta College and West Virginia University at Parkersburg, where he now teaches. Smith's current interest is in character studies of people, not the "beautiful people," but the people with character in their faces.

Smith is always looking for lighting that enhances or presents a dramatic effect regardless of the subject. He believes he improved greatly as an artist once he began to understand the real beauty of light and color. Painting and drawing have always been part of his life's work and given him a greater understanding of the environment and God's great creations.

Roberts, daughter of a coal miner, is trying to recreate some of the history of the coal mines and towns that surrounded those mines. She is relying on her skill as a master of many media to create a West Virginia coal mine series. She and her husband and four children have taken backpacking trips to the New River Gorge Canyon to view old coal tipples and the remaining evidence of the coal mining communities in the area of Caperton, Thurmond, Beury, Mann's Creek and the surrounding area of historic coal mining.

Turner is a nationally recognized artist who has been awarded numerous awards for her watercolors in shows both in West Virginia and elsewhere. She has received awards from the National Watercolor Society and the American Watercolor Society.

Throughout her career as artist, illustrator, teacher and businesswoman, Turner has created watercolors that have been exhibited in many national juried exhibitions. Her works of art are included in permanent collection at the West Virginia Development Office in the Capitol in Charleston and in the University of Charleston's Woman Artists of West Virginia Collection.

Poffenbarger is well known in southern West Virginia for her works which highlight the loveliness of the state's landscapes. Her pastels are often devoid of humans but filled with a tenderness and touch of an artist captivated by her surroundings.

"This show represents the variety and skill of some of West Virginia's many fine artists. They are merely a small group who are representing the deep cultural heritage of West Virginia which is filled with a long history of dedicated and talented artists which continue today." an Artworks spokeswoman said.

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