By Gina Malone
After the somberness and uncertainty of COVID-19, many are ready for an escape from worries and a return to more lighthearted days. The Gallery at Flat Rock will host an exhibit that welcomes a nostalgic journey back to the most carefree days that most of us know. Child’s Play, opening Thursday, June 10, at 11 a.m., features the work of four local artists—Don Greeson, Jean Greeson, Janet Hickey and Janet Orselli—working with acrylic paint, clay and found objects to evoke the joys of childhood. An opening reception will be held Thursday, June 10, from 5-7 p.m., and the show runs through Sunday, June 27.
Orselli employs old, discarded objects to evoke imagination in her assembled sculptures. She is inspired by memories of playing as a child with wooden toys and games her mother saved from her own childhood. “With their chipped paint and worn edges, they were treasured family relics and getting to play with them felt like a sacred experience,” Orselli says. “Through ‘re-visioning’ these found objects, I hope to give viewers an experience of the wonder and whimsy I re-found.”
Hickey’s creativity finds many forms including sculpture, books and mixed media. Pieces she will exhibit in the show, such as Ready for Spring, came out of her quarantine time. “The body was made and I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going with her until I sculpted the smile on her face,” says Hickey. “I thought, ‘There you are.’ It seemed like winter had been here long enough and we were ready for spring; therefore, she acquired all of the items for a good time.”
Jean Greeson began “playing” with a pound of clay five years ago. “One pound led to fifty pounds, and now sculpting is my joy and therapy,” she says. “Many of my pieces are anthropomorphic, reflecting my love of animals, fashion, flowers and color. I love the theme of this show. Everyone today can benefit from the laughter and giggles that will come with all of the artists’ work.”
This will be the first gallery exhibition for Don Greeson, who has worked as a graphic designer, illustrator and ad director. His acrylic paintings depict toys, games and art supplies in a playful way. “My hope is that people will see these carefree, brightly colored images as a reminder of the joys of childhood,” he says. “I’ve made an effort to choose themes and subjects that remain timeless, and sprinkled in a little nostalgia for good measure. After a year of sheltering in place and having way too much screen time, it’s nice to be reminded that simple joys can be the most memorable.”
The Gallery at Flat Rock is located at Flat Rock Square at 2702-A Greenville Highway, Flat Rock. Regular gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; or anytime by appointment. To learn more, visit GalleryFlatRock.com or call 828.698.7000.