The West Virginia Division of Culture and History has unveiled a new exhibit, Masters of the Juried Exhibition: Chris Dutch, Robin Hammer, Vernon Howell, Susan Poffenbarger, in the Balcony Gallery at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. An opening reception to view the exhibit and meet the artists will be held on Monday, March 2, at 6 p.m. The exhibition and reception are free and the public is invited to attend.
The four artists whose works are in the show have been juried into the Division’s biennial West Virginia Juried Exhibition consistently and are frequent award winners. All have works that are part of the West Virginia State Museum’s Permanent Collection. The 15 pieces on display showcase the unique talent of each artist and provide viewers with distinctly different styles.
Dutch and Hammer, both of Charleston, create work individually and as a collaborative team. Their sculptural works have been shown in museums throughout the state including the Parkersburg Art Center, Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences and the Cultural Center. Dutch works mainly in stained glass and mosaic, while Hammer is a painter, photographer, designer and sculptor. Their pieces include furniture, installations and sculptures as well as works that hang on the wall. In the last few years, they have created specialized woodwork in Charleston at Christ United Methodist Church, Temple Israel and an installation piece at Sunrise Museums.
Howell, who hails from Barboursville, has won numerous awards for his sculpture by utilizing a method featuring dimension built by layers in space. He achieves this depth whether he uses wood or delicately cut and sculpted paper in his collages. His piece, 2-8-4 Berkshire, is a wood carving that shows a sense of motion balanced by the sheer detail in the intricate layers of gears and wheels. Howell came up with the idea after visiting the National Railroad Convention in Huntington. He studied at the National Gallery of Art in conjunction with George Washington University and earned a master of art in teaching degree at Marshall University. He was an art teacher at Barboursville High School for 30 years.
A lifelong West Virginian and painter of West Virginia native landscapes, Poffenbarger’s work is a visual and emotional response to nature and the topography of the Mountain State. She particularly loves the Canaan Valley area where she enjoys painting, drawing and taking photographs. Her paintings are energized by the layering of pastels or paint to radiate the light within. Originally, Poffenbarger was a “plein air” artist, meaning her work was created outdoors. After numerous mishaps, many caused by the weather, she now works from photographs and is a studio artist. She studied at West Virginia University, Marshall University and the Art Students League of New York. Her works can be found in many private collections, including those of Senator John D. Rockefeller and former Governor Gaston Caperton as well as public collections including the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, Huntington Museum of Art and Marshall University.
The Masters of the Juried Exhibition: Chris Dutch, Robin Hammer, Vernon Howell, Susan Poffenbarger show will remain on display through April 19. For more information about the exhibition and opening reception, call Charles Morris, collections and exhibits manager for the Division, at (304) 558-0220, ext. 704.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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Media Note: Photographs of each artist’s work can be downloaded for reproduction from our Web site at www.wvculture.org/museum/exhibits.html.