Feature Articles

February 2014

Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in Hillsborough, NC, Offers Works Based on Jill McCorkle Book

The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in Hillsborough, NC, will present It’s All About the Story, featuring the second annual exhibit of art by gallery artists inspired by the work of a local writer, Jill McCorkle, on view from Feb. 24 through Mar. 23, 2014. A reception will be held on Feb. 28, from 6-9pm. A reading by McCorkle will take place on Mar. 2, from 2-4pm.

This year the gallery artists have selected award-winning Hillsborough writer Jill McCorkle to be their muse. They have created art inspired by McCorkle’s 2009 short story collection “Going Away Shoes,” published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, NC.

In honeymoon shoes, mud-covered hunting boots, or glass slippers, all of the women in these stories march to a place of new awareness, in one way or another, transforming their lives. They make mistakes, but they don’t waste time hiding behind them. They move on. They are strong. And they’re funny, even when they are sad.

“Jill’s writing is quite visual,” says painter Chris Graebner “however, I’ve chosen to paint my response to the emotions in her story, Surrender, instead of illustrating the plot. I’ve read the story many times and it always makes me tearful. The Nursing Chair is my interpretation of the need to nurture and the need to be nurtured that the grandmother, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in the story are dealing with.”

Fabric artist Alice Levinson says of her work “the written word often provides the initial impetus for my artwork. And so it was with the works I’ve produced in response to Jill McCorkle’s volume of stories. Each piece is built on a base embedded with text from a story. This verbal motif provides the context and subtext for the cloth construction, as well as determining my method of working the cloth in the piece in question.”

Levinson has produced two pieces for the show. The first, Read Between the Lines, “is built of layer upon layer stitched down and then cut back to reveal in a reverse appliqué method. The theme of constriction, and repression of underlying feelings and unspoken wishes which I felt in many of the stories inspired this way of working. The overall book-like form is a visual homage to the author and her work.”

A second piece, Thirty Odd Years, was inspired by McCorkle’s story Driving to the Moon, a narrative of the arc of a relationship over the course of thirty years. Says Levinson “the text I choose describes each phase. I chose to build this piece of organza, fragile, transparent. I sculpted the fabric into soft undulating folds, stitching by hand throughout. In this manner I built the piece gradually, incrementally, as a relationship evolves between two people, day by day, word by word, promise by promise, from hopes to reality. Little in life between two people is linear, hence the mandala motif.”

Sculptor Lynn Wartski was also inspired by Driving to the Moon. Her piece, Driving in Reverse, is a mixed media art doll. “The story simultaneously looked forward to a trip, and backwards in the life of the main character ... It highlighted individuals, like an old boyfriend, and objects, like an old car, that may serve as major mileposts in one’s life. My figure Driving in Reverse is driving ahead while keeping one eye on her rear view. She is keenly aware of time passing in her head, and seems to have something locked up in her heart.”

Jill Collins McCorkle is an American short story writer and novelist. She graduated from University of North Carolina in 1980, where she studied with Max Steele, Lee Smith, and Louis D. Rubin - and from Hollins College with an MA. She has been awarded the Dos Passos Prize for Excellence in Literature, the North Carolina Award for Literature and the New England Booksellers Award.

Founded in 2006, the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts (HGA) is owned and operated by 22 local artists. HGA represents established artists, accomplished in their fields, exhibiting modern and contemporary fine art and fine craft. Represented media include painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, fiber, jewelry, glass, metal, mosaics, enamel and wood.

For further information check our NC Commercial Gallery listings, call the gallery at 919/732-5001 or visit (www.HillsboroughGallery.com).

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