Wilson artist featured in gallery show; opening reception May 17

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The Arts Council of Wilson will be presenting an exhibition of paintings by Mary Koogler from May 17 to July 14 in Hammond Gallery at Boykin Center, located at 108 Nash St.

There with an be an opening reception May 17 at the Boykin Center, beginning with an artist talk at 5 p.m. and following with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The reception and artist talk are free and open to the public. Refreshments are available.

“When I moved to Wilson from Rochester, New York, six years ago, I didn’t have a clue that painting would become my passion,” Koogler said. 

“All I knew was that after working 60-plus hour weeks and not having time to do anything for myself, I needed to find activities that would inspire me in retirement.”

Koogler met local painter Pegi Sharp and decided to take her classes.

“Even though I had never picked up a paintbrush in my life, I decided to sign up for a beginner’s oil painting class. And I loved it! And then I hated it.”

Koogler said she thought she was becoming the worst painter in the world.

“It took me a few years to figure out that I did not have to be either," she said. “I slowly realized that I’m happiest doing things my own way, preferably without any rules.”

The artist said she found that realism is a concept that tends to escape her. So she looked for other methods and mediums.

“I started experimenting with cold wax mixed with oil, which has since become my medium of choice,” she said in an artist statement. “Even when I’m not using cold wax, I still employ many of the same techniques to achieve more layered, textural looks. I love the ocean, clouds and the moon, so more often than not, one of the three appears in almost every painting.”