Feature Articles

March Issue 2002

Somerhill Gallery in Chapel Hill, NC, Features Works by Robert Jackson and Blair Beavers

Somerhill Gallery in Chapel Hill, NC, announces a two-person exhibition of recent works by artists Robert Jackson and Blair Beavers. The artists will present paintings on both canvas and panel, on display through Mar. 22, 2002.

The polished realism of Robert Jackson's still life painting presents the viewer with images of everyday objects arranged in a deliberate fashion. Unadorned and undisturbed, his subject matter is at rest in the painting, and the degree of detail that Jackson incorporates allows one to scrutinize these groups of seemingly ordinary articles. One quickly realizes the extraordinary technical prowess that Jackson wields as he paints. Skill is not all he offers, however. He seeks harmony between the objects he paints, and he is able to give the viewer a snapshot of something that might not otherwise be completely absorbed. In his own words, Jackson says, "Often my desire is for the viewer to take a look at life itself as represented by perishable items such as vegetables or fruits. These objects are organic, snatched from a moment in time, already in a state of decay, short lived and sweet as we find life itself."

Jackson's development and career as a painter has been a varied one. Majoring in electrical engineering at the University of Delaware, Jackson took only one painting course, an elective during his final senior semester. That one course was enough to kindle a passion for painting that would continue long after graduation. Out of school and hired by Motorola as a systems engineer, Jackson still found time to paint and further develop his ability. After five years with Motorola, he left the company and began working with his church after accepting an offer to pursue ministry.

During this time, Jackson began to carefully expose his work to galleries and collectors, gauging the response as he continued honing his skill. As he met with approval from his audience, he desired to devote more energy to painting. Although he found the ministry fulfilling, after six years Jackson ultimately decided to dedicate his time to painting. For the past few years Jackson has painted full-time, and his work continues to gain accolades. Although his first two career choices were successful, Jackson's third seems to be the charm. His work has been shown throughout the east, including solo shows at the Zenith Gallery in Washington DC, the Arden Gallery in Boston, and the Somerville Manning Gallery in Greenville, Delaware. He has been an invitee of numerous group exhibits and realism invitationals, as well as the recipient of a People's Choice Award from the Art Center in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He lives and works in Wilmington, Delaware, with his wife and two daughters.

Somerhill's other featured exhibit highlights works by Blair Beavers of Columbus, OH. Also painting in the representational mode, Beavers' work is significantly different from Jackson's. Often figures appear as the subject of his paintings, standing or sitting in a way that is somehow laden with significance. Appearing almost stark in their somberness, Beavers paintings seek to challenge the viewer's feelings. He paints overly simple architectural spaces in which to present his figures, so that the imagery becomes almost theatrical in its intensity. Beavers says emotion is one of the most important factors at play in his work. "I am most intrigued by emotions that are difficult to define," he says. "Melancholia, concern, nostalgia, care, responsibility. I look for these subtle emotions, then put them into a setting for the viewer to experience." Rich color and subtle distortion of perspective and scale further add to the drama of Beavers' paintings.

Originally from Rochester, NY, Beavers attended Brigham Young University in Utah for his undergraduate work. After one year at Brigham Young he left school to reside in Italy for two years. In 1993 he completed his work at Brigham Young, and in 1995 he took an MFA from the University of Cincinatti. His work belongs to numerous private collections, as well as several public and corporate collections. He has shown in many exhibitions, including the May 2000 Art for Life juried exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio. He has shown at the Somerhill Gallery for three years, participating in the annual Christmas for Collectors group exhibit since 1999. This is Beavers' first exhibit as a featured artist at the Somerhill Gallery.

For more information check our NC Commercial Gallery listings or call the gallery at 919/968-8868.

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