Last updated: June 01. 2013 12:47PM - 434 Views
Anthony Gonzalez
Staff Writer

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Hickory, NC – In the 1970s, Western North Carolina was the cradle of an artistic movement today known as the Blue Ridge Realists. The works of the ten men who represent this movement are being exhibited together for the first time at the Hickory Museum of Art in the Shuford Gallery, one of the artist being from Elkin.

The ten artists include Bob Timberlake, Ward Nichols, Cotton Ketchie, Jack Greenfield, Phillip Philbeck, John Furches, Gary Freeman, Richard Oversmith, Scott Boyle and Frederick Craig Franz.

The Blue Ridge Realists’ art is based on the appeal of rural life and was first inspired by twentieth century realist Andrew Wyeth. Later such influences as American tonalism, impressionism, and modern regionalist schools were important to the group. A co-mingling of these influences allowed the Blue Ridge Realists artists to originate their own individualistic styles. The works, resonant of simpler times, are quietly emotional.

A founding member of the Blue Ridge Realists movement, Bob Timberlake lives in Lexington, North Carolina, where he has a studio and gallery. On the advice of artist Andrew Wyeth,

Timberlake made the decision to become a full time artist in 1970. His first three solo exhibitions at New York’s prestigious Hammer Galleries were sold out days before their openings. He has held numerous solo museum exhibitions around the world, and he designed the first Christmas stamp for the US Postal Service.

Also a co-founder of the Blue Ridge Realists movement, artist Ward Nichols has painted western North Carolina rural landscape for over forty years. Nichols’ himself says “documenting the rural structures of the Appalachian region remains an obligation to record a passing lifestyle.” His incomprehensibly detailed paintings draw viewers to lean into the art to look at the fine precision. Nichols lives in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

John Furches of Elkin, NC is best known for his ability to depict the relationships of color and nature in rural landscapes and nostalgic still life’s. His choice of the watercolor medium is especially effective in showing the delicate balance of light, color, and texture in each of his paintings. The element of emotion is also an integral tool for John’s realistic style, as he feels the artist becomes an imperfect camera without definite feelings about the image he is portraying.

The show opened December 15 and runs through March 10. An opening reception is planned for Friday, January 25, 2013, from 6 – 8 PM. All events are free.

The Hickory Museum of Art is located in the Arts & Science Center of the Catawba Valley, 243 3rd Avenue NE, Hickory. Admission is free. For more information please visit www.HickoryArt.org or call 828-327-8576.

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