On Friday, February 2, the Caldwell Arts Council will open a new exhibit titled Close to Home. The exhibit, which runs through March 29, will feature photography by Ron Schwartz, paintings by Chad Cole and portraits on recycled trash by Dion Hitchings. Caldwell County Schools Association of Educational Office Professionals (CCSAEOP) will host an artists’ reception at the gallery on February 2, from 5–7 p.m. “Close to Home investigates the contemporary relationships between people, land and dwellings from three artists who excel in their respected disciplines,” says Cole, whose paintings are inspired by rural travel in Appalachia and South Carolina’s Low Country. “This show will feature the work of three very different artists, but the audience will find that there are common threads tying the work together to make for a very cohesive grouping of contemporary art works.”
Hitchings uses children’s art supplies such as crayons, markers and colored pens to create his portraits on various discarded items, including boxes and old furniture. This nontraditional medium is intentional, giving his portraits a shattered, disjointed appearance that can be unsettling. Hitchings says he hopes viewers will walk away with “an appreciation for the American Indian” and an understanding that “things that we throw away can become art.”
Schwartz’s photographs are evocative of a deep connection with the outdoors. His images are an attempt to celebrate and spotlight the beauty of the natural world in the hopes that these spaces will be better preserved. “With my photographs, I hope to remind people to look for beauty in the countryside that they see everyday,” he says.
The Caldwell Arts Council is located at 601 College Avenue Southwest in Lenoir. For more information, visit caldwellarts.com.