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The Upstairs Art Gallery features work by local and regional artists. It offers an educational opportunity to our students and community through exhibitions, visiting artist lectures, and artist workshops. New exhibits are on view every six weeks during the Spring and Fall semesters. The Student Art Show, held each April, features work created by students in the studio courses during the academic year. Funding for the gallery is provided by the SCC Foundation.
What is the purpose that binds the two artists exhibiting in the Wyche Gallery? Although the work may appear very different in medium and style, the artists share in an underlying subject matter of empowerment and renewal. David’s message comes through images of natural beauty and candid portraits. Milton uses text, creating images out of individual graffiti inspired words.
David and Milton can trace their passion for art to their childhoods. While they both took quickly to drawing, David also longed for a camera for years before finally receiving a Polaroid at age 12. Both men are from southeastern NC, spending time in the community college system then completing their degrees in the NC university system. Since graduating, David has pursued a career that combines his entrepreneurship with artistic creativity. From his base in Shalotte, David works as a promoter and advisor for a wide range of clients. He continues to tie entrepreneurship to his artform by teaching photography workshops to young people. Milton, a recent graduate in graphic design, has already established a web presence for his design company, and he has been creating promotional materials, web designs and advertising materials for businesses in Brunswick county. His secondary concentration at UNC Pembroke was Drawing, and he exercises those skills drawing portraits of actors, musicians, public leaders, black history icons, and sports icons. His chosen individuals, like the words in his series, are responsible for inspiration and a “positive impact” on society.
Milton has two series in the gallery using words meant to inspire leadership and deep, personal development. His series are titled Success Factors and Positive Action. By using a style similar to graffiti, he is asking the audience to look at the genre with an open mind. What is often seen as destructive and even divisive, Milton wants to elevate the genre with the words selected and the personal reflection they demand. In contrast to work using text and created digitally, David’s photography was shot and printed with traditional film and printing techniques. He has been attracted to landscape photography since his college years when he began as siting his mentor, Mr. Davis, in the field. Over the years he has documented the rocks, waters, and trees of the mountains in NC and Virginia, and he calls this body of work “God’s Country.”
His goal has been to capture and share the beauty and peacefulness that we often overlook in our hurried lives. In many ways he has continued that spirit of mentorship in his relationship with Milton. Their exhibit, with such different styles and mediums, shares in personal history and a common sense of purpose with their art.
As we turn towards autumn, there will be an exciting collection of color saturated paintings on view in the Wyche Gallery. Each artist has built her compositions by applying successive layers of paint, then manipulating the surfaces to add tension and texture to the piece. Lori, based in Whiteville, creates luminous images inspired by “distant memories or fabeled landscapes”. Foe Betty, who is based in Wilmington, inspiration is found through her travels in Europe, Maine and New Mexico. Her cold wax paintings are a new endeavor, in dramatic contrast to her representational watercolors of people and places.
Lori studied art at Western Michigan University. She received a degree in both painting and graphic design, pursuing an interest in art which she had from early childhood. Though her images are abstract, they are grounded in the structural influence of architecture, her late father’s profession. Lytle starts with an idea rooted in the concrete world, then develops the image through a very automatic process of building up layers of color. She often alters a painting by wet sanding the surface, which exposes some of the colors underneath. Works, such as “The Bridge”, show the evidence of architectural elements transformed into a landscape of color and texture.
Betty Brown was born in Greenville, SC. She began painting in 1975, studying with a variety of nationally recognized teachers including: watercolor with Charles Reid, Burton Silverman, Marbury Hill Brown, Jeanne Dobie and Alex Powers. Betty also holds degrees from Queens University in Charlotte and UNC Wilmington. While painting has been her focus, Betty has also studied book art, pastels, life drawing and printmaking. This has made her a versatile and prolific artist and teacher. Betty has achieved signature status in the Watercolor Society of North Carolina, and her paintings are in the permanent collection of the Louise Wells Cameron Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and corporate and private collections.