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STEPHANIE KLEIN-DAVIS | The Roanoke Times
Dianne Smith of Harlem, N.Y., used butcher paper and rope to create her installation for the newly reopened Harrison Museum of African American Culture in Center in the Square.
Courtesy of Linda Katdare
Linda Katdare has created “Love Birds” (detail above) for the “Wine and Art” workshop at Fincastle Vineyard.
STEPHANIE KLEIN-DAVIS | The Roanoke Times
Dianne Smith works on her installation at the Harrison Museum. She deliberately suspended the long, crumpled strands of butcher paper in spaces where art doesn’t normally hang in a museum.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Butcher paper represents a number of things for Harlem, N.Y., artist Dianne Smith.
“It’s at once durable and yet there’s a fragility to it,” she said. She has used it in her art as a way of representing the treatment of black people in America through history, showing how the paper can be manipulated and pushed into corners. It also calls to mind elders, aging, and the way history leaves marks.
Yet she also sees beauty in the abstract organic forms she can shape the paper into. “I’m hoping the viewer can engage with the work to find a number of things.”
She used butcher paper and rope to create the site-specific installation “No Limits,” pieces of which hang inside the entranceway to the newly reopened Harrison Museum of African American Culture in Center in the Square and in the hall just outside it.
She deliberately suspended the long, crumpled strands of butcher paper in spaces where art doesn’t normally hang in a museum. A configuration in one corner resembles a fisherman’s net, weighed down by pieces of old wood found here in Roanoke. Another paper construct rises in a column from floor to ceiling like a thick tree trunk.
The pieces in the hall sport more color, twined and knotted from long strips of patterned fabric, breaking away from somber monochrome to amplify a sense of spontaneity. “At the end of the day all of this is about life,” she said.
Smith chose to call the piece “No Limits” after meeting with school groups and Harrison Museum board members. She saw Roanoke as a place undergoing rebirth, with no limits to the directions it can go.
“It is a direct response not only to aspects of African American history but to Dianne’s meetings with students at Patrick Henry, Fleming, and Community High, as well as others in the community, while she was here on a planning trip in March,” wrote David Mickenberg in an email. The former president and CEO of the Taubman Museum of Art, Mickenberg volunteers as a consultant for the Harrison Museum.
Smith said that Mickenberg visited an art installation she made at Art Basel, an international art show held in Miami. That installation, called “Connections,” also featured organic shapes made from butcher paper and rope. Smith said Mickenberg connected her with the Harrison Museum.
But this isn’t Smith’s first trip to the region.
In January 2012, she had a show at Piedmont Arts in Martinsville, which included another installation using butcher paper called “Within Shadows Cast” that was the Martinsville institute’s first on-site installation. Piedmont Arts also featured “Where Are We Now?” an homage to the civil rights movement made by Smith using images and historical documents loaned from the collection of the Rev. Thurman Echols, pastor of Moral Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Axton.
Smith, 47, was born in the Bronx. She began her artistic career as an abstract expressionist painter. Later she ventured into sculpting, which led to creating large-scale installations. Though she’s still a painter at heart, creating one of her paper installations doesn’t feel much different. “The way of thinking about it is the same.”
She said that creating the Harrison Museum’s first site-specific art installation was not stressful. “I enjoy this so much,” she said. “I love making things.”
Charles Price, Harrison Museum board president, praised Smith’s work reaching out to the community . Hosting her installation, which is open to multiple interpretations, gives the museum a chance to showcase a young professional artist. “She has been fantastic,” he said.
The museum intends to continue presenting art as part of the cultural portion of its mission, he said.
For more information, call 857-4395 or visit http://harrisonmuseum.com.
Jacksonville Center to feature Polseno
The Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd has announced that potter and sculptor Donna Polseno will be the nonprofit’s featured artist for 2013-14.
Polseno, part of the 16 Hands artist group in Floyd County, is an art professor at Hollins University who has exhibited at the Taubman Museum of Art and is now the museum’s adjunct curator of ceramics. She’ll be giving a series of lectures, the first of which,“An Evolution of Sculptural Work,” takes place 6 p.m. June 6 at the Jacksonville Center. For more information, call 745-2784 or visit jacksonvillecenter.org.
RSO adds 13 musicians
The Roanoke Symphony Orchestra has contracted with 13 new musicians, allowing RSO to expand the pool it can draw on for concerts.
Two of the 13 replace previously contracted musicians, while the remaining 11 are new positions. RSO’s full complement for the 2013-14 season is now 83, said marketing manager Rodney Overstreet.
The new musicians include Matvey Lapin of Gosport, Ind., who will become principal second violin; Kathleen Overfield-Zook of Harrisonburg, who was selected for principal viola position; and Lukasz Szyrner of Timonium, Md., who will be assistant principal cellist.
The other musicians are violinists Jorge Rodriguez Ochoa, Violaine Michel, Richard Downs, Kevin Matheson and Yulia Zhuravleva; violists Noah Hock and Bryan Matheson; and cellists Hanna Pressley, Alan Saucedo and Sarah Kapps.
Tickets to RSO’s 60th anniversary season go on sale July 1, with the opening night concert featuring cellist Zuill Bailey taking place Oct. 7. For more information, call 343-9127 or visit rso.com.
Wine and art
Roanoke artist Lindee Katdare, a recent transplant from Chicago, is holding a series of workshops titled “Wine and Art” at the Fincastle Vineyard and Winery.
The concept is as simple as the title. Katdare has created four simple paintings exclusively for the vineyard, and will show interested apprentice artists how to re-create them. The $55 fee covers instruction, supplies including a 16-by-20-inch canvas, a gourmet lunch box and wine tasting. Additional wine purchases are available.
“You don’t have to have any talent at all,” Katdare said. “It’s just something that’s fun to do.”
The first “Wine and Art” that Katdare will hold at the winery takes place from 2 to 5 p.m. June 9, with additional workshops scheduled June 30, July 21, Aug. 11, Aug. 25, Sept. 15 and Sept. 29.
For more information and to register, visit thelindeetree.com.
Katdare may be a familiar face. She has made appearances on the noontime talk show “Daytime Blue Ridge” on WSLS (Channel 10.)
On the Arts blog
The Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg has turned to crowdfunding website Kickstarter to raise funds for its digital projection system. Find out more at blogs.roanoke.com/arts.
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