Feature Articles

December 2013

The Maria V. Howard Arts Center at the Imperial Centre in Rocky Mount, NC, Features Works by Keith Norval and Charles Schulz

The Maria V. Howard Arts Center at the Imperial Centre in downtown Rocky Mount, NC, is presenting The Quilted Grid, featuring works by Keith Norval, on view in the North Carolina Artists Gallery, through Jan. 5, 2014, and Peanuts…Naturally, featuring works by Charles Schulz, on view in the five upstairs galleries, through Jan. 5, 2014.

Norval was born and raised in Zimbabwe and spent much time in the bush around zebras, elephants, and antelopes, with an occasional lion or hippopotamus. His Dad’s work as an entomologist next took them to Kenya and Florida. Travel became a part of growing up as he often visited the Musee Dorsay in Paris and the Tate Gallery in London. Next stop for Norval was the Savannah College of Art & Design, immersing himself in painting and printmaking for his BFA degree.

Influences include the repeat patterns of Andy Warhol, expressionist painter Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso’s cubism, and the textural surfaces of Paul Cezanne and Paul Klee. Modern day playful influences include comic book artists B Kliban, Gary Larson, Charles Schulz and The Beano and The Dandy (British kids comics).

Norval now lives in Raleigh, NC, and works joyfully out of his studio at Artspace. His oil paintings and drawings are filled with the icons and images developed in a world of travel and imagination: people and animals juxtaposed with images of everyday life: houses, a coffee cup, flags.

Norval also enjoys working on collaborative projects with ceramicists (using sgraffito techniques) and mural art, including a new mural at Artspace. He taught a Kids’ Camp this past summer, and his newest imagery involves “Day of the Dead” imagery and themes.

The Quilted Grid features sixteen oil paintings showcasing playful colors and icons ranging in size up to six feet square.

Charlie Brown is in trouble with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Lucy knows the earth has 48 suns, and Snoopy and Linus are planting french fries in the garden. These are just a few of the misadventures and explanations gone wrong as the Peanuts gang explores the natural world – what other trouble will they find?!

Peanuts…Naturally, now on exhibit at the Maria V. Howard Arts Center takes a light-hearted look at Charles Schulz’s exploration of the environment and the natural world through Peanuts comic strips, videos, objects, and interactive stations. Visitors get a Peanuts-eye view of the universe, “web of nature,” trees, birds, the elements (snow, wind, rain, and clouds), gardening, and Charlie Brown’s EPA escapade. More scientifically-oriented interactive stations allow kids of all ages, from pre-school to adults, to learn more about and appreciate the wonders of the natural world.

Schulz, who created the Peanuts comic strip for nearly 50 years, was immensely curious, an avid reader, and took a keen interest in the latest research findings in a variety of fields. It is not a surprise that many of these findings and facts found their way into Schulz’s comic strip - carefully interpreted through his characters’ unique, and sometimes wacky, understanding of their world.

Peanuts…Naturally is organized and toured by the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, Santa Rosa, CA. It is sponsored locally by the City of Rocky Mount, the Friends of the Arts Center, and individual donors.

Guided Tours for school and community groups can be scheduled by calling Jennifer Rankin, Arts Education Specialist, at 252/972-1632.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Center at 252/972-1163, or visit (www.imperialcentre.org/arts).

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