Ever since the dawn of photography, visual artists have had opportunities to create imagery that reaches beyond capturing a landscape, still-life, or portrait. The modern and post-modern era of art making has opened up the question, "What defines art?" It is easy to see the vast spectrum of "What is art?" by comparing two of our gallery artist's side by side. One being an artist that focuses on representation. Representation in it's finest form helps offer information and knowledge about a place, object, or animal, with a twist of artistic license. On the other hand, we have an artist who uses the abstraction to express the feeling or a place, person, etc. Both in there own way showcase the artist's imagination, talent, and dedication to making art.
Abstraction: Loren Berry
Passion for art history has led Loren Berry to find inspiration through the paintbrush and palette knife. After studying abroad in Europe, Berry found her love for art history to not only translate academically but also artistically. She found profound inspiration from masters of old, and more so modern, post-modern, and contemporary artists who used abstraction as a way of expressing themselves. The process of painting an abstract first comes from inspiration. Whether that inspiration is a specific artistic style like Jackson Pollock drip paintings, or Rothko-esque color fields; or if the inspiration comes from the natural world like the beauty that lies in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The High Country can be a source of a wide-variety of subject matter, like the green forest floor or the crystal clear streams that dance between grey rocks. The abstraction of these vistas focuses on a feeling. A feeling just like one would get from standing at the summit of Rough Ridge or Grandfather Mountain. Loren Berry is currently showing her work in Orlando, FL where she lives and will soon be featured at Blowing Rock Frameworks & Gallery in the group show, "Perspectives of Grandfather and Blowing Rock".
Representation: David Starbuck
David Starbuck's inspiration is derived from an extreme love and admiration for the natural world. A naturalist at heart, Starbuck's work is representative of the beauty that can be seen through landscapes and paintings of wildlife, specifically birds. Realism is meant to capture the literal splendor of the natural world and showcase it for education's sake, as well as for artistic liberty. Starbuck uses acrylic medium to represent the finest details of birds and other wildlife while still maintaining the aesthetic of the artist's hand. In the same sense that an abstraction of a mountain stream may help remind the viewer of a certain feeling or moment in time, Starbuck's realistic paintings also capture the heart of the viewer by posing a very detailed moment in time. Aside from capturing a feeling, a moment or specific lighting, his work offers an opportunity to educate the viewer about wildlife or the habitat in which the animal lives. Starbuck has claimed many accolades in his career for representation of wildlife. One of his accomplishments include winning People's Choice and Second Place Honors in 2016 for his depiction of a beautiful blue bird, titled "Blue Ridge Empty Nester" (pictured above.) He was also awarded the November spot in the 2017 North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission's annual wildlife calendar for his beautiful painting of a popular game-bird, titled "Mr. Robert White." Starbuck's strength's for realism stretch beyond the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains all the way to the coast of North Carolina, where he was awarded People's choice for his overall show at the Core Sound Waterfowl and Heritage Museum in Harker's Island, NC as a representative for the North Carolina Wildlife Artist Society in 2015.
Whether an artist chooses to represent the realness of a subject, or abstract the subject to its simplest form, both styles of art invoke a feeling that strikes the viewer deep down. This is the core of art, to create a feeling in the viewer, to move them, and to make them think.