Meet the Artists # 4

By: Jane Dewey, Art Festival Committee
May 16, 2019

Do artists reflect our culture or help shape our culture? What role do artists play in reflecting the past, being present in current times, and helping shape the future? Pondering these questions can lead to interesting, thought-provoking discussions and often sparks new artistic creations! Purchasing a piece of artwork sometimes goes beyond the question of “how will it look in my house” morphing into “what does this particular piece of art cause me to think or feel?” One thing that artwork helps us do is pause, and in that pause, that momentary stillness as colors, shapes, textures, images and design wash over us, there may be time for a memory, or a glimpse of a feeling or idea, that hadn’t been present in the moment before. Let’s explore that moment with these artists.

Shawnna Southerland creates colorful fabric bowls and has loved fiber arts since she was a child. You might say that the past is sown into everything she creates, as her sewing machine is a family heirloom and she learned the art of sewing from her mother and grandmothers. Her machine, passed down from in her family first to her mother and then to herself is a “workhorse” and “as much a part of (my art) as I am.” Touch is extremely important to Shawnna in choosing her fabric which she then coils, sewing with a zig zag stitch. Those pretty fabrics transform into flat mats, bowls, coasters under Shawnna’s skilled and artistic hands. Shawnna thinks it’s “vital to keep old crafts alive” and I’m looking forward to glimpsing the past in her current creations.

Brittney Rice is a painter who is interested in pushing the boundaries of traditional landscape painting. One of the interesting things I found in Brittney’s work (also present in Shawnna’s bowls) was the circular form present in some of her work. In her artist statement, she states that she uses the swirl form as a “metaphor for herself within her work”. Brittney’s landscapes show an ever-changing world where reality and the surreal co-exist. Through her work she encourages her viewers to take that “pause” to question their own environmental journey while they allow their imaginations to soar. Learn more about Brittney and her work on her website.

I’ll be pausing at both these artist’s booths at the Danville Art Festival! Hope that you have time to join me and take a moment to pause, entering the world of their artwork, and see where that takes you!