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Illusionistic paintings focus of Barton exhibit

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Paintings created to break the barrier between the illusionistic space and the physical surface of the work will be the focus of a exhibition opening today at Barton Art Galleries on the campus of Barton College. Elise Ferguson’s “Ripple Drift” in the Virginia Thompson Graves Gallery and Lula E. Rackley Gallery will provide a thought-provoking experience for viewers as they observe a body of work created without perfection in mind.

The emphasis will be placed on color and pattern combined, while pushing materials to their furthest limits.

The exhibition will run through April 21 with several events planned in collaboration with the art show.

Today, the Barton Art Galleries and the Barton College Friends of Visual Arts will host a reception at 5 p.m. for the “Ripple Drift” exhibition by Ferguson. At 6 p.m., an artist lecture will follow. These two events are open to the public at no charge, and the community is invited to attend.

Following the lecture, the Barton College Friends of Visual Arts will host a dinner for members at 7 p.m. in the Kennedy Family Theatre with featured guest Elise Ferguson. FOVA members will enjoy closing remarks from the artist during dessert.

On March 18 and March 25, Ferguson will also hold mixed media workshops in the Case Art Building from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Open to the public, each Saturday workshop is $15 per person for FOVA members and $30 for nonmembers. Advance reservations are required as space is limited. For reservations, contact Maureen O’Neill at 252-399-6476 or moneill@barton.edu.

Inspired by Ferguson’s bold use of color and graphic patterns, with a focus on the art of collage, the workshops will be an introduction to the concepts of geometric abstraction. Architecture, textile design and typography are just some of the components that will be used for inspiration. Materials will be provided from which the colorful, bold, non-representational compositions will be created. At the beginning of each workshop, a brief history of the ideas and traditions of abstraction will be shared, as well as an introduction to the rich history of collage.

Ferguson was born in Richmond, Virginia, and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. During the past 25 years, her work has been shown extensively throughout the country. Ferguson has received numerous residencies and shown her works in many two-person and group exhibitions. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

“With my work, I am striving towards something that is cerebral yet physical, one that reflects my endless fascination with materials and their physical limits and capabilities,” Ferguson said in her artist statement. “At the same time, I give equal importance to the pleasures of creating something resolutely optical: concentric circles, radiating grids and undulating patterns.

'While I make abstract images — things often begin to resemble ‘something.’”

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