NATURE: Up Close & Far Away at River District Arts from March 14 – April 30, 2015

Richard Young & Leslie Barham have a stunning exhibition in the Confluent Gallery at River District Arts in Sperryville

Richard Young & Leslie Barham have a stunning exhibition in the Confluent Gallery at River District Arts in Sperryville

Both artists are members of the Firnew Farm Artist Circle, a boisterous and talented group of artists based in Madison County, VA which come together once a week to be inspired and to critique each other at Trish and David Crowe’s Firnew Farm.
Leslie Barham is inspired by the bounty of beautiful objects offered up by Nature. She is drawn to natural forms, collecting seashells and feathers, butterflies and birds’ nests. Using a range of art media including colored pencil, paint, fabric and collage, she strives to share her love of nature’s details and to help others to see and appreciate the treasures that surround us all. She continues to explore new media and approaches that might present my observations of the natural world in an unexpected, yet somehow still familiar way.

For thirty years, she taught art in the Virginia Beach City Public and sought to help students develop their artistic talents and to appreciate the importance of the arts in our cultural heritage. After retiring in 2011, she relocated to Greene County where she has been dedicated to developing her own artistic voice.

Using oils-on-canvas, she carefully crafts each scene, each specific place, each season, each time-of-day. She strives to capture the drama, the mood, the details unique to the places she visits and the places where she has lived. Roads, rivers, and fences are both barriers and avenues, leading the eye to travel with her through each scene. Although she sometimes works plein air, she usually refers to her photos to finish works in the studio. Clean edges, details, heightened contrasts, often layers of tonal glazes, all work together to complete each finished piece. The intention is that each completed work will provide a pleasing sense of identification and connection.

Richard Young was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and grew up in the hills of West Virginia. He has lived the intervening years in the Alleghenies of Bath County and in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. So the hills and hollows, with their changing seasons, have always been a part of him. Following a career as a school art teacher, he is now busy painting, depicting the beautiful natural world of around him.

He is greatly influenced by time-honored landscape painters such as Frederick Church, Albert Bierstadt, and the Hudson River School of artists. Their abilities to depict distance and drama, light and shadow, the real and the mysterious, continue to inspire him.

Happy 2015!

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
– Martha Graham

New Beginnings

New Beginnings 10 amazing years! the Firnew Farm Artists have been putting on art shows. First, in the old milking parlor, now The Studio; then, the Barn Gallery … and now: our 2nd year at Woodberry Forest School in the Walker Fine Arts Gallery and Baker Gallery. “New Beginnings’ is our strongest and most diverse exhibition to date.

Leslie Barham’s Firnew muses are stunning in the center of the Gallery. Thank you, Alex Vargas, for creating and crafting the display case. Sharon Zarambo’s “New Beginning,” mixed media wonder – all 75 pounds of it! – wonderfully balances out the gallery space.

We were fortunate to have the ‘bonus’ gallery space display Pat Temples’ “Voices of the Land.” It is beautifully lit, and with internet connection; you can hear the Lamb brothers tell their stories of life on Fairview Dairy Farm.

When you enter the Gallery, notice John Berry’s “Molly” from OUTSIDE. She stands on the front porch in her hand-made red shoes with her violin just beckoning us into the space and wondering where she is going. What does the future hold? For her? For us?

Special thanks to Kelly Lonergan, head of Woodberry Forests’ art department, for his ingenious eye for arrangement, placement and masterful curatorial skills. What an honor to have this beautiful gallery space showcase all the Firnew artists’ art and photography.

Claudia did a great job laying out a local spread with Kites ham, Everona Farms’ sheep cheese, DuCard Vineyards red + white wines, Tina’s yummie apple bites and France’s real apples. Gail’s beautiful flower arrangements filled with Bertha’s zinnias that now grow at Firnew Farm graced the table.

All in all, “New Beginnings’ is a show to be proud of. Please continue to bring your friends and family until November 3rd.