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Rodin: Portraits of a Lifetime, Selections from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Collections Opens at Me PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Stephanie Crider   
Wednesday, 03 February 2016

Many people travel great distances to see the works of masters like Auguste Rodin, whose pieces are routinely shown in premier museums like New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum in Paris. The David McCune International Art Gallery at Methodist University and Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation have arranged to make Rodin’s works available for viewing in Fayetteville. The exhibit Rodin: Portraits of a Lifetime, Selections from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Collections opens with a reception from 6 -9 p.m. on Feb. 11. The exhibit is open until May 7. The opening reception features Executive Director of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation Judith Sobol as the guest speaker. She will speak at 7 p.m. The reception and the exhibit are both open to the public. 

“I am confident that viewers will find this show’s 17 bronze Rodin sculptures to be a stunning installation featuring works that span the artist’s long career,” Art Gallery Director Silvana Foti explained. “The exhibition includes Rodin’s famous depictions of writers Victor Hugo and Honore de Balzac; of the musician Gustav Mahler; and of the artist Claude Lorrain. Also included in the show is a photographic portrait of Rodin by Edward Steichen.”

Francois-Auguste-Rene Rodin was born in  Paris in 1840. Well-known for his works “The Thinker” and the uncompleted “Gates of Hell,” Rodin didn’t blossom as a sculptor until later in life. As a youngster, he struggled in school. He was nearsighted but did not realize it. He turned to drawing as a way to ease his academic frustrations. By the time he was a teenager, Rodin was taking formal art classes. His confidence still suffered though, and when he was 17 he applied to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts only to be rejected not once, but three times. 

It was a trip to Italy in 1875 where Michelangelo’s work reignited Rodin’s artistic passion. In 1877, Rodin’s sculpture “The Vanquished,” which was later renamed “The Age of Bronze” premiered. The sculpture is of a nude man with clenched fists. The work was so realistic that some accused Rodin of using molds directly from the model’s body. By his 40s, Rodin had become established as an artist creating pieces like “The Three Shades,” The Old Courtesan,” and “The Thinker.” He died Nov. 17, 1917. Rodin is considered a pioneer in the world of modern sculpture.

The David McCune International Art Gallery provides an intimate space for patrons to enjoy the exhibit.  “Art students everywhere study Rodin,” Foti said. “I was fortunate to see Rodin sculptures in museums in Europe and large U.S. cities, and it’s nothing short of amazing that a gallery in Cumberland County will have the opportunity to exhibit his work.”

Since opening its doors in 2011, the David McCune International Art Gallery, housed in the William F. Bethune Center for Visual Arts at Methodist University, has hosted several exhibits featuring nationally recognized artists. Last year saw “Picasso: 25 Years of Edition Ceramics from the Rosenbaum Collection” at the gallery and fall 2013, the featured exhibit was “Igneous Expressions,” which featured the works of contemporary glass artists including Harvey Littleton, John Littleton, Kate Vogel and Mark Peiser. 

The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation supports the arts through exhibitions and other programs that recognize and show appreciation for visual and performing arts. The foundation also supports medical institutions that focus on biomedical research and clinical care, especially those that focus on women’s healthcare.

Exhibit hours are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. The gallery can arrange “touch tours” for groups of visually impaired visitors. Admission is free. Find out more at http://www.davidmccunegallery.org or by calling 425-5379.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 February 2016 )
A Southern Girlís Gotta Have It Marks the Return of Dinner Theatre PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Janice Burton   
Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Longtime Fayetteville residents will remember a time when dinner theatre was a regular part of the city’s social scene. But that hasn’t been the case for more than 30 years.

Back in the day, theatre patrons could routinely make their way to the Holiday Inn Bordeaux to catch a relaxing and entertaining evening of theatre coupled with a great dinner. As the old saying goes, all good things must end, and that was the case of dinner theatre in Fayetteville. But as the community begins talking about improving its quality of life, local businessman Bill Bowman, decided it was time to bring dinner theatre back to life in Fayetteville. 

“People always talk about the lack of things to do in Fayetteville, and then they head up to Raleigh or  Durham or Chapel Hill to experience things that could very easily be experienced here locally,” said Bowman. “Why can’t we have the ‘good stuff?”

With that thought in mind, Bowman reached out to the community, and what he found was many local partners who were excited about the idea of brining dinner theatre back to Fayetteville and welcomed the opportunity to be a part of it.

Bowman noted, that the enthusiasm with which the dinner theatre idea was greeted made him even more excited about making it a reality, Because he is about community, Bowman thought the best way to bring dinner theatre back was to bring it back by showcasing the work of a local playwright. So he turned to long-time friend Elaine Alexander - now a resident of Charlotte - but a hometown girl at heart. Alexander, a Westover graduate, with family ties that go back several hundred years, has gained success as a playwright in the Charlotte area, and was only too happy to bring one of her shows, A Southern Girl’s Got to Have It,  back home. 

For Bowman, the next step was finding a venue. For that, he had to look no further than a long-time friend with roots in the hotel industry: Romona Moore. Moore is the marketing director at the Holiday Inn I-95.

“They have a great venue out there and were one of our first partners,” said Bowman. “The hotel  is very excited and is putting together an elegant evening an wonderful meal to complement a great show.”

Because dinner theatre is such an intimate event, Bowman thought there was no better weekend to offer the show than Valentine’s Day Weekend.

“On Valentine’s Day, we are all looking for something unique an elegant to do with our Valentine,” he said. “Dinner theatre, complete with an overnight stay, makes a perfect gift for your special person.”

To that end, the Holiday Inn is offering special dinner theatre packages. The Hotel Sweetheart package includes two theatre tickets, a deluxe room, two complimentary breafkasts and a half dozen roses with each pair of tickets.

To make the evening even more unique, Bowman enlisted neighboring Lu Mil Vineyard to join the team. The family-owned vineyard located in Bladen County, will bring a sampling of its wines to the event for a wine tasting.

“There are a lot of things we are doing to ensure that this is a special night for those who attend,” said Bowman.

For those who do not have a sweetheart to celebrate Valentine’s with, the theatre  is sponsoring a Ladies’ Night Out on Friday, Feb. 12. Ladies’ Night Out includes a ticket, wine tasting and dinner, music and attendance to a champagne reception for the actors after the show.

On Friday Feb. 12 and Saturday, Feb. 13, the doors will open at 6 p.m., followed by a wine tasting, dinner and the show. On Sunday, Feb. 14, the show is at noon, which includes a wine tasting and buffet lunch.

“We are really pulling out all of the stops to make sure that Fayetteville residents have the opportunity to enjoy a great night of dinner and theatre without having to drive an hour away to do so,” he said “With the upcoming bond referendum, there is a lot of talk about what Fayetteville residents deserve. And  I wholeheartedly agree that Fayetteville residents deserve to enjoy great quality of life venues and events. If we can make this event successful, we will look at other ways and venues that we can create to add to the quality of life for our residents.”

If the dinner theatre is successful, Bowman hopes to bring a Georgetown-based playwright down to present the next dinner theatre. 

Tickets are $75 and are available at the Holiday Inn, Up &Coming Weekly, the Crown Coliseum, Owen’s Florist and online at CapeFearTix.com. Discounts are available for seniors, active duty military and Cumberland County School Educators. 

For more information, call 391-3859.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 January 2016 )
Dwight Smith: An Artistís Approach to Discovery at Gallery 208 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Soni Martin   
Wednesday, 13 January 2016

For those who visit local galleries regularly, more than likely they have seen Dwight Smith’s abstract paintings. Smith lives in Fayetteville and is an assistant professor of art at Fayetteville State University. His paintings are highly textured, thick and “oozy-sensuous.” Often the mark making in the paintings seem to reference a drawing process — reason and intuition is mediated throughout the finished work. 

After years of wanting to explore printmaking, Smith recently made the time to become a student of the genre. After seeing the early results, Gallery 208 is excited to host an exhibit of the relationship between Smith’s paintings, drawings and prints in Dwight Smith: an Artist’s Approach to Discovery. The artist’s reception is Jan. 19, from 5:30-7 p.m., and includes several of his paintings while the remainders of the works in the exhibit are drawings and prints. 

Visitors to Dwight Smith: an Artist’s Approach to Discovery will clearly see how an artist transitions between mediums while retaining the thematic essence of who they are. Each process contributes to personal meaning or content — his oeuvre is embedded in the material he is using at that moment.

The following statement by Smith is the key to understanding how he moves so easily between the different media: “My research and investigations into contemporary painting involve mixed-media painting and drawings that are influenced by material surfaces and scale.” 

For Smith, the act of drawing translates into a direct experience and an immediate source of discovery — a process least impeded by technical considerations of a finished painting; he is unencumbered by the “finished” process in a painting. Instead, drawing is the immediate formulation of ideas and is the result of hand, drawing material and the surface of the paper.

In his approach to painting, Smith explained, “As an artist, my current painting practice involves methods of integrating opposites into a state of harmony and balance. Elements of design referenced in African, African-American or multi-cultural imagery create a catalyst to begin my visual language that informs the work. Through the work I am responding to the tension generated by a resounding past and an insistent present. Each work is a commitment to intimate concerns about painting and the contemporary language of abstraction.”

Printmaking was simply an extension of Smith’s approach to drawing and painting. The use of materials became possibilities, not an objective search, but about discovery, experimentation and selection. In that printmaking is a studio environment for artists to explore imagery and creative problem solving, Smith thrived due to his approach to drawing and painting — thinking in layers, colors, the graphic use of black, texture and incorporating his personal symbols.  

No matter what the medium, all Smith’s work reflects what is important to him: “…I create celebrate life, family histories and tributes to artists. I express certain social realities concerning the world while exploring aesthetic qualities of being black in America and addressing the literal symbology of contemporary blackness within the legacy of Abstract Expressionism, thereby creating a pliable structure for intuition, improvisation and chance.” 

No matter which media Smith is using, it is easy to sum up his approach as an artist by citing a statement by Sarah Thornton in her book Seven Days in the Art World: “You are materializing — taking something from the inside and putting out into the world so you can be relieved of it.”

After retiring to Fayetteville from a career as a graphic designer in the automobile industry in Detroit, Michigan, Smith has enriched the area with his talent, skills as a teacher and as an art advocate in the community. After being only retired for one year, he was hired to teaching painting at Fayetteville State University. While teaching with Fayetteville State he completed a required advanced terminal degree for studio artists, a master’s of fine arts from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Smith is also the director of the Rosenthal Gallery on Fayetteville States’campus. 

Some of Smith’s most recent group invitations to exhibit include NAAHBCU National Exhibition: AfroFurturism, at the Tubman African-American Museum, Macon, Georgia; FORECAST: OVERFLOW at the Brown & Juanita Ford Art Gallery, Wayne County Community College in Detroit Michigan; Earthy Abstraction: Works by Jack Kehoe, Kipley Meyer, Brian Rust and Dwight Smith at the Madison Artists Guild in Madison, Georgia; and Contemporary Works on Paper at the Brandywine Center for the Visual Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Selected solo exhibitions include OBSERVATIONS: Mixed Media Works from Dwight Smith at the Ellington-White Contemporary Art Gallery in Fayetteville, North Carolina; New Works by Dwight Smith at the National Conference of Artists Michigan Chapter Gallery in Detroit, Michigan; Peintures, Le Manufacture in Aurillac, France; and National Conference of Artists International Exhibition at the The National Gallery in Dakar, Senegal.

Selected recent presentations by the artist include “Black Art: Abstraction, Social Change and Cultural Identity in My Postwar America” in Rosenthal Gallery on the campus of Fayetteville State University and the Institute of Boston at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts; “Examining Interrelationships of Black Art on Social Change and Cultural Identity” at Fayetteville State University; and “The Evolution of the Black Image in Illustration and Fine Art” for the Friends of African and African American Art at the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County in North Carolina.

Smith’s commitment to the idea of discovery is not limited to the studio, but reaches into the community with his art advocacy.  His community service includes leadership in the Fayetteville Art Guild, participating in the Ellington-White Community Foundation on Gillespie Street and instructing in Discovering the Arts (an after school and summer program for young students). 

Gallery 208, at Up & Coming Weekly, is pleased to share Dwight Smith: an Artist’s Approach to Discovery with the community. The opening and artists’ reception on Jan. 19 is free and the exhibit will remain up until March 5. Gallery 208 is located at 208 Rowan Street and the hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. For information on the opening or the exhibit, please call Up & Coming Weekly at 910.484.6200.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 13 January 2016 )

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