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October Issue 2007
Red Piano Too Art Gallery on St, Helena Island, SC, Features Works by Cheryl A. Neison
Red Piano Too Art Gallery on St, Helena Island, SC, will present the exhibit, Gullah Life In Silhouette, featuring a collection of black and white acrylic silhouettes by Beaufort, SC, newcomer, Cheryl Neison will be on display through Oct. 30, 2007.
A native of suburban Philadelphia, PA, and now living in Beaufort full-time, Neison has painted since early childhood. Parental guidance directed her to college rather than art school. She completed an undergraduate degree in History at Moravian College and graduate degree in American History at Lehigh University. Studio art and art history were concurrently pursued as electives. In an attempt to combine American History and her love of painting, Neison primarily focuses on architectural or historical subject matter, and utilizes a broad variety of media.
Prior to her first visit to the South Carolina Lowcountry, Neison became intrigued by the uniqueness of the Gullah Culture. After purchasing a home in Beaufort's Historic District, a more intensive study of the Gullah people was fostered, which included collecting original art.
This study was soon creatively translated into a non-traditional approach to the art of the silhouette. After a rough sketch, black acrylic paint is used to develop an emotional approach to each original. The white paper is utilized to develop tiny elements of detail. Faces are intentionally unpainted to allow the observer to ponder the subject matter in a less restricted manner.
The collection as a whole illustrates the recognition of the culture and heritage of the Sea Island people. In pieces like, Market Bound, Digging Oysters, Wash Day, Two Generations, and Momma's Helper, the observer is drawn into Neison's story. The people are shown in period clothing, fanning rice, heading to market, washing clothes, fishing, and a variety of other rural farm life activities. The black and white silhouettes move the viewer to become immersed in the simplicity and yet contemplate Gullah life as lived over a century ago. The works are striking in their simplicity.
The Red Piano Too Art Gallery has assembled twenty-nine images from her collection of silhouettes into an exhibit, depicting the life of Gullah people as Neison imagined it to have been in an earlier time. Artist, Victoria Smalls, an intern at the Red Piano Too says, "the fact that Cheryl Neison is an excellent artist, will come as a surprise to many in the Lowcountry, as she has been known more - for collecting art then for creating it."
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