07/14/10 — Artists breathe new life into old, recycled pieces

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Artists breathe new life into old, recycled pieces

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on July 14, 2010 1:46 PM

Where can you find people made out of old car parts, license plate guitars and airplane whirligigs? At the newest exhibit at the Arts Council of Wayne County.

"reinCARnation" is not your typical in-depth, examine-the-art-to-see-what-its-hidden-message-is show, but is just a fun exhibit, Becca Scott Reynolds, gallery and education director, said.

"For our summer exhibits, I like to keep the art very light, very fresh, something that's very easy for you to bring the kids to enjoy while they are out of school," she said. "It's something for you to stop by on your way to the beach and soak in a little art."

There will be guitar art by Peter Geiger. He takes license plates and recycles them into custom-made guitars.

"They are incredible," Mrs. Reynolds said. "He uses old license plates from all over and makes these cool, funky guitars. Some look like acoustic guitars and others like other kinds of guitars."

Mrs. Reynolds said Geiger's guitars are very popular in restaurants and bars, and many can be found in the homes of private collectors.

Local artist Brenda Behr will display some of her plein air artwork. Those include paintings of automobiles that she's done on location.

Jason Hawley will have some of his sculptures in the exhibit.

"Jason is a local guy who doesn't consider himself an artist," Mrs. Reynolds said. "He's a welder who has created sculptures of people out of auto parts, mostly mufflers. He used found motor parts, mufflers, catalytic converters and pieces from exhaust systems from a Ford Mustang and a Toyota truck.

"They are really creative and popular pieces. One of them is life-sized. He made it according to the dimensions of his body, the size of a grown man. I think people are really going to be drawn to that, especially children."

There will also be whirligigs by Vollis Simpson, a well-known folk artist who uses found items for his creations.

"His work is growing in popularity," Mrs. Reynolds said. "He's 91 and has had a documentary film done about him and has had an article in the New York Times. Several of our supporters have whirligigs that Vollis created."

The Onslow Outdoor Painter's Society also will have several pieces in the exhibit. Its members have done a series of junkyard paintings and cars on location.

"We are very excited to have their work and hope to have more of their work on exhibit here in the future," Mrs. Reynolds said. "They do plein air painting, which is very exciting. It's painted on site in the plain air outdoors."

She said the group's members work in a variety of media including acrylics, oils and watercolors.

"The 'reinCARnation' idea will be interesting for people to take on," Mrs. Reynolds said. "It will include the automobile artwork and some of the green things the artists are doing with recycling.

"It's interesting how the artists take everyday objects that people would throw away and they are creating a livelihood out of this wide variety of things."

She said this type of artwork borders on folk art in style, but it's really growing in popularity. Green art is one of the fastest growing sectors of art, she said.

Mrs. Reynolds noted that even people who may not consider themselves art people will find something they like in this show.

"It's something that's very different, very concrete and easy to understand," she said. "There's a place for all types of art in the world and definitely a place for art that's easy to enjoy just because it's fun."

reinCARnation runs through July 29 in lower level gallery of the Arts Council.

Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it is free.