The artists of "Studio 567"

by Jessica Vedas, Intern

In September, The 567 Center displayed “Studio 567,” an exhibit in which our instructors showcased their work. These artists have years of experience which is reflected in the artwork they chose to show. We would like to spotlight a few of these artists.

 "& Glow, Glow, Melt, & Flow" by Casie Trace

"& Glow, Glow, Melt, & Flow" by Casie Trace

Casie Trace is a well-practiced artist of Central Georgia. She is a published illustrator, teaches numerous art classes at the 567, and freelances whenever time permits. She received her BA from Georgia College and State University and has since had two solo art shows. With a general preference for drawing, Trace admits she likes “experimenting with ways to incorporate painting in [her] drawings.” She also notes how her preferences differ as task requirements differ; Trace almost exclusively prefers digital art when illustrating, but likes to go the more traditional route for everything else.

“& Glow, Glow, Melt, & Flow,” one of her pieces currently on display, is a mixed media piece that integrates graphite, acrylic, ink, and paper on wood panel. The artwork features a sleeping girl blooming in a dark world. An array of color is evident in this fantastical piece including pastel blues, greens, and purples. The figure seems to be transferring her dreams, represented by the vibrant colors of the composition, into the darker world around her. The inked branches, blossoms, and vines might also symbolize the flow of art into the world.

 "Mardi Gras Memories" by Heather Mclaurin

"Mardi Gras Memories" by Heather Mclaurin

Heather Mclaurin is another of our instructors. She has several years’ experience with drawing, painting, and has recently developed another talent: fumage. Fumage is the technique in which impressions are made by a kerosene lamp’s smoke on canvas or paper. Heather generally prefers to draw or stencil the shape on the canvas before continuing with smoke. Afterwards, she might take a brush or sponge to pull out the details she wants to accentuate. When asked what she likes so much about the smoke technique, Heather says, “I like that it gives such a bold statement.”

“Mardi Gras Memories” is one of several fumage works on display at the 567 Center. It is a black masquerade mask with purple and green acrylic accents. A lighter gray cloud of smoke is prominent in the air above the mask, and gives the airy feel one might imagine of Mardi Gras. The contrast between black and white, as well as the pops of color, make for an aesthetically stunning work to which the eye gravitates. Viewers may see the eyeholes of the mask as the most attention grabbing element of “Mardi Gras Memories.” The form of the mask is sleek and black, but the contrast between it and the eye spaces draws you in.

 "Meanwhile" by Shannon Riddle

"Meanwhile" by Shannon Riddle

Our final artist to spotlight is Shannon Riddle, the artist behind “Meanwhile,” a huge 5’x7’ portrait, that has over 20 years of experience painting. He earned his MFA at the University of Georgia and has since taught at a number of colleges in Central Georgia. “Everything I choose to paint means something to me, whether I am simply attracted to the form or if it means something more,” Riddle says. Generally preferring oil paint as his primary medium, Riddle sometimes chooses to switch his surfaces from canvas to wood panels. One trick, he acknowledges, that remains consistent regardless of surface choice is coating it entirely in a burnt orange paint before beginning.

“Meanwhile” features two figures seated in a booth of a restaurant. The work consists of an autumnal color scheme including browns, reds, and lighter neutrals. The man on the left appears to be actively involved in his meal, while the man on the right glares in the opposite direction out of the composition. In between the two characters lies another more inconspicuous figure: space. This prominent emptiness between the two figures is in itself another figure of note in the composition. The use of space as a barrier is congruent with Riddle’s fascination with the concept of isolation and human identity in his other works.

Riddle also recognizes how impactful the Middle Georgia region has been in shaping his perspective and his works. He says, “I am from here. This is where I live.”

You can see all these works in person at The 567 until September 30.