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April Issue 2007

Haywood County Arts Council in Waynesville, NC, Features Works by Four WNC Women

The Haywood County Arts Council in Waynesville, NC, will present the exhibit, Women in Vision, a show featuring the work of four Western North Carolina women artists including: Lauren Patton, Fleta Monaghan, Lynn Hughes, and Angela Chrusciaki Blehm. The exhibit will be on view in the Arts Council's Gallery 86, from Apr. 4 - 28, 2007. Each artist offers work which inspires the viewer to imagine future possibilities. Vibrant colors and positive imagery flow through their art as water from a sieve. Works will range from paintings on canvas to soft sculpture.

Lauren Patton recently received a North Carolina Regional Artist Project Grant from Haywood County Arts Council and a fellowship to Global Arts Village in New Delhi, India. Her work is heavily influenced by her deep connection to nature. Each painting is created en-plein-air in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. As the wheel of the year turns, so does the evolution of her paintings. Abstracted elements, pop-culture references and natural landscapes are woven together in a composition of vivacious colors informed by the foliage of the season. "My paintings are a celebration of beauty and wonder," says Patton.

Works by Patton have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and art institutions across the US and abroad including Parsons Paris, and the University of Christ Church in New Zealand. In addition, her work is in private and corporate collections, including the corporate offices of Waffle House in Atlanta, GA, and JP Turner & Company, L.L.C., a member of SIPC and the National Investment Banking Association.

Patton was born in Rome, GA, and received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI. She currently lives in Waynesville.

Fleta Monaghan grew up on the west coast of Florida, on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. After traveling around the United States and living in San Francisco, Oregon and Virginia, she settled in Asheville, NC, in 1981.

"I have always been attracted to beautiful and historic places populated with interesting and artistically inclined people," says Monaghan. "After visiting Asheville briefly, I decided this was a perfect place to live and work. I love the thriving arts community, and enjoy working and teaching in a poetically timeworn 100 year old warehouse in the River Arts District of Asheville. I love to paint people I know, experiment with mixed media in my paintings and push the image toward abstraction. I am always seeking an essence of thought and feeling when I combine imagery with materials. There is an unbroken thread that weaves through all my work, no matter what materials I use or which techniques I employ. The Gulf of Mexico strongly influenced my visual, spiritual and philosophical senses as have the mountains here in North Carolina."

Enjoying both an urban and rural experience, Monaghan works and teaches in her studio at Riverview Station near downtown Asheville.

Lynn Hughes grew up surrounded by the beauty of the Hudson River Valley with New York City and the Metropolitan Museum of Art just a thirty minute train ride away. "I had the best of both worlds: the beauty of nature and some of the best museums at my doorstep - both helped to shape my art consciousness."

"Nature always plays a large part in my creations," adds Hughes. "I am not formally trained, but you could say the natural world has been my fine arts school. Texture, color, shading, and dimension - these can all be found on Nature's palette."

Hughes was raped as a child and this became another catalyst in some of the work that she creates today. "I took that negative energy and helped start a Rape Crisis Center over 25 years ago, which is still serving the community today. The feminine figures that I create are another way I give positive feminine energy back to the world community. My art has brought me full circle and helps to complete me."

Hughes and husband now live in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina which inspire both of them.

Angela Chrusciaki Blehm was born and raised in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolis. She earned her BFA degree in Studio Arts/Painting from University of Houston in 2000. Her paintings are constructed like shadow boxes or the pages of a scrapbook; each document the events of her everyday life and/or her everyday fantasy life. Whether it is a fragment of haute couture taken from a fashion magazine or some mundane representative of domestic life, the images Blehm chooses are mementos of some experience, feeling, or dream that she has had in her life as girl, daughter, woman, wife, and mother.

"Meeting together on the canvas, these mementos then serve to explain, mystify, or complicate my experience as an artist and woman," says Blehm. "I am influenced by the life necessities that have long been considered the woman's responsibility - food and shelter. I draw from what I have seen my mother and grandmother define as their role within the home as cook and nurturer, and I also drink in what culture dictates in the many women's magazines exalting the home and the person who makes it comfortable, attractive, and clean and the counter fashion magazines that promote the woman as a powerful, sexual force and an object of beauty."

Blehm currently lives in Waynesville.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the gallery at 828/452-0593 or visit (www.haywoodarts.org).


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