Macon, Georgia – How do artists collaborate? Quite organically, as they’re “Drawn Together.” So begins the story of six Monroe Art Guild members that found within one another, an innate likeness, thus this special collaboration was born. Their self-titled show, “Drawn Together,” is comprised of master collage artist Susan Pelham, Bobbie Austin, Sue Grilli, Judy Norman, Stephanie Ruby, and Maribeth Schmeltzer. Opening night is Friday, October 7 from 5-8pm. Enjoy the sounds of The Blue Possum Pickers & John Charles Griffin outside The Gallery. The show will be on display through October 28. The exhibit is always free and open to the public.
This marriage of artists occurred many years ago out of a passion for art and their involvement in the Monroe Art Guild, located in Monroe, Georgia. Teachers became pupils, mentees became mentors, and without pause, meaningful relationships inherently formed. “Drawn Together” was coined because it “felt fitting,” explained Susan Pelham, as if natural forces brought them to one another.
As artists they’ve experienced personal renaissances, transforming and honing in on their craft. As friends, they’ve lived through birth, loss, and relocation. Each artist has found a personal connection with creating art, every piece laced with a story.
While studying at Florida State University in the early 60s, Pelham discovered and became intrigued with Magic Realism of the 1940s. “Only recently in exploring [the medium of] collage work, and thinking about Magic Realism in the writings of Gabriel Garcia Marques and Franz Kafka, have I begun to explore Magic Realism in my own work,” explains Pelham. “I enjoy referencing literature in my collages…nursery rhymes, Haiku, Limericks, and children’s camp songs inspire the subject; I like hiding little jokes in the composition.”
Under the study of Mary Jo Smith and John Quin, Austin’s craft was formed. “I create art to tell a story and to socialize with other artists,” explains Austin. She has learned paper making skills in China and the art of plein air painting in Italy. Austin’s works in this show include palette knife oil paintings and a ceramic sculpture, reflecting her versatility in both mediums.
Grilli’s work explores the impact of physical surroundings, always aiming to capture natural beauty. “I’m inspired by nature and the landscape, whether that is land, sea or city, I have been working to express the view in my surroundings. I have found looking at the landscape…there become little stories imbedded in the paintings. I strive for viewers to seek their own story within the colors and shapes.”
For Norman, her work focuses on abstract texture and color. “I’ve always had a love of color and art,” proclaims Norman. “I began my artistic journey in 2002 by taking an intensive course in decorative arts…and in recent years have decided to concentrate on canvas art and encaustics.”
Ruby is inspired by people, textures and expressions as each one of her pictures is a story to the person viewing them. Her background in psychiatry has helped Ruby to express the raw emotion of subjects in her pastel paintings.
Schmeltzer’s journey in art began upon moving to Monroe and becoming involved with the Monroe Art Guild. “I took lessons with Bobbie Austin who helped get me moving in the right direction. Later I joined the board of the Monroe Art Guild and formed a friendship with the other ladies…we remained friends and continued showing our work as a group,” states Schmeltzer.