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A&E >  Art

Terrain Gallery presents ‘Rising Above’

UPDATED: Thu., April 1, 2021

Local artists Rosemary Barile, Karen Mobley and Deb Sheldon will present “Rising Above” at Terrain Gallery from Friday through May 1. To celebrate the opening, organizers will host an artist reception from 5-8 p.m. Friday.

Originally scheduled for last August, the preparation for “Rising Above” offered Barile, Mobley and Sheldon a chance at much-needed creative catharsis during a time when many artists have found it difficult to create at all.

The showcase will feature an assortment of watercolor, oil, acrylic, sculpture and mixed-media artwork.

Rather than agonizing and wasting energy trying to come up with something groundbreaking every day, Mobley kept things simple with a series of nature-focused watercolor “doodles” – nearly 100 of them – as well as several larger oil paintings.

“A big part of what I’m going to show is this kind of ritualistic making of things that I’ve been doing,” she said, explaining her daily treks into the wilderness for inspiration.

“I found myself kind of wandering into new territory, both in terms of the color usage and the kinds of subjects that I was dealing with.”

Some of the subjects dealt with in the showcase take a darker, more solemn turn, but the theme of “new territory” carries through.

A great deal of Sheldon’s work, for example, began after the death of her husband shortly before the pandemic began.

“He died very suddenly of a heart attack at home,” she said. “In the morning, I had a husband, and at the end of the day he was gone.”

The added isolation of lockdown did little to help.

“There were some things I felt I needed to express … the progression of the time and the loss,” she said, explaining how creating art helped her to grieve.

Her collection includes several acrylic paintings and storytelling “art sticks,” a series of totem-like wooden pieces.

Barile’s work takes another turn back toward the pandemic, calling to mind the cancellations, closed galleries, anxiety, fear and anger that many have felt.

“Early on, it became clear that I needed to find a way forward for the sake of my mental health, to embrace this gift of time and solitude,” she said.

In the past, Barile has worked primarily with encaustics, a kind of wax painting that requires heat manipulation. But this time around, hoping to spare her lungs during the pandemic, Barile decided to focus on fiber arts.

Barile’s featured piece, “Queens of Corona,” includes five intricately embroidered dolls inspired by the ingenuity and sacrifices made by women during the pandemic.

Mobley, Sheldon and Barile hope that “Rising Above” will bring visitors encouragement.

“I’m hoping that people will look at it and connect,” Sheldon said. “That it helps people at whatever stage they’re in.”

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