Overcoming the Challenge
OMAM Pop-Up @ the PAC
13 artists reflect on a year of isolation and illustrate hope for the future, while bringing the arts back to the community with this in-person exhibit inside the Performing Arts Center (399 N. US 1, Ormond Beach).
♦ Desiray Blackburn ♦ Jill Bright ♦ J. Walker Fischer ♦ Pat Leake ♦ Donna Lovelace-Flora ♦ Babz Lupoli ♦ Maggie Mejia ♦ Grace Senior Morandi ♦ Nancy Munier ♦ Walter Osteen ♦ Robert Shirk ♦ Dusana Souchek ♦ Jim Touchton ♦
- Dates: June 16 - Aug. 13, 2021
- Times: Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm
- Location: Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center (PAC) - 399 N US Highway 1, Ormond Beach, FL 32174
Click the images below to read the artist statements!
"Seeing Light at the End of Covid Isolation" by Pat Leake, Acrylic/Tissue, 24.5”x20.5”
During the 1+ year of the Covid Pandemic the consistent thread of every conversation was the hope of getting back to normal, socializing, and getting back to routines. People were tired of being home-bound. I think the painting expresses this.
"Laaweeh, Choreographer Leila Mire" by J. Walker Fischer, Digital Photography, 8”x10”
On November 14, 2020 I was privileged to attend a rare, pandemic-year performance of the Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble - an acclaimed world-travelled troupe - in Knoxville, its headquarters. Only 25 guests, masked and spaced, were allowed in a small but airy performance hall. I was allowed to photograph from a distance with a small point-and-shoot camera sans flash.
"Spiritual Ties, Choreographer Randy Duncan" by J. Walker Fischer, Digital Photography, 8”x10”
[PART 3 of 3]: What amazed me most, aside from their talented professionalism, was their astounding energy, skill and athleticism - the kind that would impress had they not been wearing encumbering masks - but they were! It was a feat that exemplified the unimaginable tenacity and dedication of young performers to overcome adversity with hard-won talent and dedication.
"The Recruits, Choreographer Sarah Lynch" by J. Walker Fischer, Digital Photography, 8”x10”
[PART 2 of 3]: Known for over 30 years as Tennessee’s dancing Ambassadors Of Goodwill, the usual large ensemble of child, preteen and teen dancers was drastically cut due to Covid-19 restrictions. What I saw was a professionally choreographed and costumed program of original, one of a kind modern dance numbers performed by a dozen or so unbelievably talented young women.
"Life Re-Engage" by Grace Senior Morandi, Acrylic, 18”x24”
I titled this painting “Life Re-engage” because everything has changed in our lives due to the pandemic, this piece shows a mother with her daughter as the family tries to re-organize their lives and re-engage with society. The different facial expressions reveal the worry about the current state of our lives.
"Eve, Ever, Never" by Maggie Mejia, Mixed Media on Yupo Paper, 20” x 26”
This piece is both a literal and figurative representation of this exhibit’s theme. I started this painting approximately five years ago. After growing frustrated with it, I put it away to give some space from it for a while. A few years later, I took it out again in hopes of working through some of the painting’s problems from a new perspective. I made some headway and then grew frustrated again, leaving it to pile up with other “failed” paintings in my garage. When the pandemic hit, I found myself with a lot more time on my hands to paint. I enjoyed starting new works and seeing them through to completion with more ease than I ever had before. My newfound confidence led me to pull out this piece with the hope of overcoming the challenges it had previously presented to me. Once again, I struggled with it… but I persisted. Eventually, I had my “a-ha!” moment and was able to bring the painting to completion. The woman in the painting started out as “Eve” many years ago. She has since transformed into an abstract representation of myself. The pandemic has given me the opportunity to connect with nature in a way that I haven’t since I was in college. I spent more time in my yard, getting to know the birds and flowers that I never knew the names of. I hiked local trails, rode my bike through the neighborhood, saw myself as an extension of nature, and came back into my body. I worked on shedding manufactured aspects of myself that come from the expectations of our culture or of others around me. I connected on a deeper level with those who were experiencing a similar metamorphosis. This process felt like a rebirth of sorts. Although I consider this painting “finished,” I wouldn’t be surprised if I pulled it out again in a few years and reworked aspects of it based on new information and perspective. Art is therapy for me. This piece reflects a willingness to overcome challenges in life knowing that change is inevitable, and we are all works in progress.
"Reenergize" by Babz Lupoli, Mixed Media, 14”x18”
During the pandemic, I began to experiment with new art disciplines while rediscovering books and old cards and writings and dear collected artifacts as I cleaned and cleared my home environment and art studio. I found new energy and new excitement as I reenergized every facet of my life with my husband and with my home and with my art.
"After the Storm" by Walter Osteen, Oil on Masonite, 24”x48”
In the scene a powerful storm has come ashore in the previous days but has now passed. Despite the ferocious assault by wind and waves, the dune line, although battered still stands. The dunes will slowly be rebuilt by normal wave action bringing in fresh sand to shore from the adjacent inner continental shelf, which is transported landward by onshore winds. The fresh sand on the dunes will then be stabilized as the beach grasses and the sea oats reemerge and the dune line is once again renewed.
"Angel of Grief" by Robert Shirk, Acrylic, 24”x32”
I was inspired to create this painting from a very famous 1894 sculpture by William Wetmore Story for the grave of his wife at the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. In my version, instead of the Angel weeping and draped over a tomb, she is draped over and enveloped by the COVID-19 virus. A Guardian Angel striving to protect humanity form the COVID-19 virus.
"Beginnings - Endings" by Nancy Munier, Digital Photography, 20”x24”
I took this sunrise picture during the height of the pandemic on Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, SC. It reminded me that a new day will dawn and better times are on the horizon.
"Fred & Ginger: Oh nooo! Not another Zoom" by Dušana Souchek, Fused Glass, (each measuring 36”x12”)
Ginger has several components in her form. Her body parts are made of fused glass with wire, clay, and antique jewelry embellishments to show her character. Her facial expression is spacey and her hair is messed up. She is holding wired components including purse, face mask, fish, stars, toilet paper, and more. It is her “job” to make one stop to figure out everything she is trying to say and hopefully make today’s issues bearable and lighter.
Fred’s body is made of fused glass with wire, clay, and various material embellishments. He also has a spaced out look and messy hair and is holding wired things that make him interesting. Hope he makes you smile.
"Sun Drenched Ocean" by Jim Touchton, Watercolor on Paper, 23.5” X 29.5”
During the darkest days of the pandemic, the sun always rose over the ocean at Ormond by the Sea. I was lucky to have this to look forward to even through the isolation.
"I’m so Glad" by Jim Touchton, Acrylic on Paper, 37.5”x49.6”
I am so glad to have had my pal Oree for many years when I could kiss, hug, and love him all the time. Now I have Scooter, my Golden Retriever, who loves me, kisses me and touches me. He was with me all through the pandemic when I couldn’t be around other people. I am so “glad” to have him now that the pandemic is ending. I will paint a picture of him soon.
"Sun, Sea, Sand" by Jim Touchton, Watercolor on Paper, 28” X 34”
When sky meets water and water meets sand. The yearlong pandemic took away our free way of living. Now we have our immunity to be free again. We can begin our new life, just like the ocean.
"The Pelican" by Jill Bright, Oil, 30”x 40”
Seeing a single Pelican during isolation is a reminder we will all return to the flock.
"The Car Choir Concert: The Introduction" by Donna Lovelace-Flora, Photography, 16”x20”
Overcoming the Challenge/Bring Back the Arts: The car choir concert takes place in a church parking lot, with singers in their cars, and the choir director stands in front. Here the president of the choral society introduces the beginning of the concert.
"The Car Choir Rehearsal: Singing by Lantern" by Donna Lovelace-Flora, Photography, 11”x14”
Overcoming the Challenge of logistics: The rehearsal takes place in the dark. This singer sings through a mic attached to the visor so her hands are free to hold music. Her portable radio sits on the dashboard emitting the sounds of other singers. She hangs a lantern on the rearview mirror to see her music.
"The Car Choir Rehearsal: The Piano Man" by Donna Lovelace-Flora, Photography, 16”x20
Overcoming the Challenge of rehearsing together safely: The 6:30 pm rehearsal takes place at a home, with the accompanist playing inside, while the director stands outside in the yard with the sound mixing equipment. Each car parked tightly in the tiny driveway and yard, contains one singer. This is the only color photo, and is designed to be placed in the center of the other black and white photos, with 2 or 1 on each side. It can also stand alone.
"The Car Choir Concert: Chrystal's Solo" by Donna Lovelace-Flora, Photography, 11"x14"
Overcoming the Challenge/Bringing Back the Arts: One of the singers in her car at the concert, singing a solo through a wireless mic, as seen through the side mirror of her car.
"The Car Choir Concert: The Guide Track Recording" by Donna Lovelace-Flora, Photography, 16”x20”
Overcoming the Challenge/Bringing Back the Arts: The car choir concert takes place in a church parking lot. One hour before the concert begins, the choir director leads the accompanist in creating and recording the sound track to be used in the car concert, and later for the “virtual choir” singers. Singers in cars look on and listen.
"Mr. Chaos" by Desiray Blackburn, Acrylic , 11”x14”
When it was announced that Covid 19 was here, and the estimated number of deaths terrified me. This painting was created after a night of horrible dreams.
"The Hawaiian Lagoon," by Desiray Blackburn, Acrylic, 11”x14”
The coves and lagoons around the Hawaiian Islands became clearer, brighter. The beautiful colors are amazing.
"The Deep Ravine" by Desiray Blackburn, Acrylic, 16”x20”
As the numbers of sick people and deaths went up, I felt as though I was free falling into despair.
"The Beautiful Cove" by Desiray Blackburn, Acrylic, 11”x14”
As the water traffic diminished the beautiful ocean started to heal itself. All that garbage was gone, the coves were so breathtaking beautiful.
"Moonlight Reflecting on The Angry Ocean" by Desiray Blackburn
Moonlight Reflecting on The Angry Ocean
"Moonlight Reflecting on The Angry Ocean" by Desiray Blackburn, Acrylic, 16”x20”
I felt as though coronavirus was rampant, and I would take my family to the underwater living. My love of the ocean is all encompassing, building underwater living.
CLICK THE IMAGES BELOW TO READ THE ARTIST BIOS
Babz Lupoli is driven to create big bold energetic pieces that draw the viewer inside and make them feel and seek something new or hidden within themselves. She paints intuitively and is continuously amazed at the shapes and concepts that show up as if by magic. Recycling and gluing various papers and tidbits of life onto her pieces is especially gratifying.
“I believe that all of the arts enrich our lives, lift our psyches, help us improve our outlooks and heal our bodies and souls. We all need to surround ourselves with art that we can create and enjoy and share. All beauty is immensely powerful and inspiring."
I love being in nature, and I love to sing. With our natural resources disappearing at an alarming rate, photography allows me to capture those special moments of awe and wonder that I see in the stunning Florida sunsets, green hammocks and forests, beautiful coastal wildlife, grandeur of the ocean, and peacefulness of a calm river. I feel truly blessed to live in a beautiful place with such a rich and diverse ecosystem – I only hope it will stay that way for future generations. I have been a long supporter of ecology and environmental protection, and volunteer when and where possible to assist in protecting our planet. A healthy planet is healthy for us. I volunteer with Volusia County Environmental Management Adopt-A-Beach program to keep our beach clean, and the Washback program to protect sea turtles. I am a member of the Florida Women’s Art Association, Art League of Daytona Beach, Casements Camera Club, and the Ormond Memorial Art Museum. My work has been exhibited at Ormond Memorial Art Museum, Arts on Granada, Ormond Beach Environmental Discovery Center, The Casements, The Hub on Canal(NSB), and the Art League of Daytona Beach, where my “What Storm?” received a Judge’s Choice award. Since May of 2020, during the pandemic I have been singing with several virtual choirs worldwide, our church (virtually), and with the Daytona Beach Choral Society. I moved to Ormond-By-The-Sea in 2014 with my husband and two cats.
Born in northeastern Czech Republic, Dušana emigrated to the USA in 1968, settling in Bucks County, Pa. During this time, Dusana participated in many local and regional art shows and working on her craft in her spare time. In 1989, upon relocating to St. Petersburg, FL, Dusana was contracted by Madeira Beach Art Gallery as the Artist in Residence. It was in this role she developed her passion for watercolors and natural Florida flora and fauna, and her work was enthusiastically acquired by many visitors from around the globe. In the early 2000s residing in Jupiter, FL, Dusana put together her first studio, allowing her to expand her artistic ventures to include teaching children and adults. Offerings included classes on watercolors and acrylics, as well as pottery and clay, and glass work. Dusana continued to exhibit at local art festivals and fine art shows, often garnering awards and recognition for her work. Today, Dusana is based in Flagler Beach and uses her creative energy and talent to assemble and create truly unique pieces of Fused Glass. Taking many of the lessons learned regarding texture and form, depth and light, Dusana’s glass is truly something to behold. Dusana enjoys the challenges and rewards of being an artist, learning new mediums, creating unique pieces, and sharing the tools and technique required. Above all she is a person dedicated to the Arts and the Art world.
Grace Senior Morandi
Born in Colombia, South America and ever since I was a child, I was fascinated with color. One of my uncles had the business of building and designing floats for parades and stages for events. I saw him many times directing his workers to do his creations. One day He let me help painting and designing. Then, I become interesting in creating and expressing the ideas with color. During my school years I had private classes in drawing and painting. Few works I did. After those school years I never paint again until I retired from working. Art Workshops have been the way of learning the art of papier- mache and painting. I had studied with great teachers in USA, South America, Mexico and Europe to learn the use of different techniques and materials. Today it is the way I express myself with my art. I like to share my knowledge with others, teaching them art in a form of abstraction, using some touch of realism. Constantly, I try new ways to express the ideas with color and marks. Many layers I paint, using gels mediums, gesso and other materials, which creates visual textures without a previous conceived idea. I trust the process of my way of painting adding layers of paints. I enjoy the making and experimenting. I hope you do too enjoy my artwork. At age 13, I won My first National Art Contest. Art then, took a backseat to my professional career and motherhood. I have won many awards; eight of them for Best in Show. My artwork is in private collections in the USA, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Greece, Panama, Puerto Rico, India, Scotland and Spain. I am not a realistic painter, but I keep some realism in creating the compositions. I understand Art as the expression of my inner feelings, not a copy of existing objects. In my opinion Art is a way of transforming objects into feelings and colors expresses the moods and emotions. I teach my techniques to others to awaken their creativity. I price my original artwork reasonably to provide the opportunity to acquire the work and fulfill my desire to be in many homes and businesses worldwide
J. Walker Fischer
J. Walker Fischer is the son of the late Cdr. Edwin Fischer and Sara Fischer, longtime Ormond Beach residents and OMAM activists. He is a 7th generation Floridian, graduate of Seabreeze High School, Furman University and the University of Florida and is an Army officer Vietnam veteran. Retired from careers in public relations and broadcasting, he currently divides his time between residences in Ormond Beach and Laurel Park North Carolina. A victim of "viewfinderitis", Walker's addiction to amateur photography began with a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera in the 1950s. Since then he has dabbled with myriad 35mm still and 8mm motion picture cameras, darkroom magic, finally graduating to digital photography. Although he has worked professionally with photography, he prefers to shoot with unsophisticated quick-on-the-draw point and shoot cameras, not smartphones or SLRs. Lately you will find Walker, a former longboard surfer, up to his neck in the ocean shooting "inner waves", the hollow waves along Ormond Beach shore and sandbar breaks with occasional surfers and paddle boarders in the background. The pinnacle of his wave photography: shooting from the water the world-famous Waimea Bay shore break on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.
Jill Bright lives on a farm near her native town of Hahira, Georgia. Her interest in art began with photography, which she still enjoys. Her first entry in Valdosta's Spring into Art" exhibition earned an award of Merit for her photograph of Nutt, her Brittany Spaniel. Jill is a nature and animal lover and many of her works features pets, livestock and wildlife. All of her works feature brilliant colors. "Like most artist, I paint my surroundings. I do it in color." On the difference between painting wildlife and people, Jill says, "I found that I like painting expressions, whether an animal or a person; it begins with the eyes." Her other interests include cooking, skeet shooting, and social and duplicate bridge.
A native of South Georgia, Jim Touchton studied art at Valdosta State University completing his masters at the University of Georgia. His artistic journey led him to New York where he befriended Elaine and Willem de Kooning, influential artist of the Abstract Expressionism Movement. Elaine de Kooning painted the portrait of John F. Kennedy that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Willem de Kooning was a part of a group of artists that came to be known as the “New York School” that included such great artist as Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, Han Hofmann and Robert Motherwell. These artists changed the art world. Jim Touchton lived, traveled, worked and studied under Elaine de Kooning, and spent time in the presence of her husband. Elaine’s influence of expressionism is reflected in a statement by Touchton, “Painting is action, response and reflex.” His artworks bring to the viewer the visualization of his intimate and immediate relationship with his surrounding world.
I never went to school for art, and I was always in awe of those who had “the gift” that enabled them to create. For years I felt the creativity inside me, but it would only come out in short, unpredictable bursts. I never made the space for it. That changed around 2014, when I created space to start making art on a regular basis. Through the use of unconventional art materials (think newspaper, rubbing alcohol, food coloring and bleach) my understanding of creativity and art began to shift and expand. I realized that I don’t need an art degree to be an artist. I don’t need a collection of expensive art supplies to validate my creative voice. I have fallen madly in love with the process of making art. Each piece that I create goes through so many different incarnations: it can be awkward and uncomfortable, and then euphoric and exhilarating, or disappointing and unbearable. Learning how to move through these phases gracefully is not unlike my life outside of the canvas. More and more these days, the creative process ends with something I actually enjoy looking at. Sometimes it doesn’t, and I’m learning to becoming comfortable with that as well. My hope is that, in looking at my art, you are moved in the same way I have been during the creation of each of these works. If any of them tug on you, even if for a brief moment, then we’ve connected. You’ve seen me and I’ve moved you. This is why I make art.
Robert Clayton Shirk was born in Tarrytown New York in 1952 and grew up in South Florida. The product of a broken marriage, Robert visited his artist father's Manhattan studio during holidays and summer vacations. As a junior in college he needed a break from his business studies and took an elective course in design. Falling in love again with his first passion, he finished college in 1977 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. During college Robert won "Best in Show" awards in various student art shows and was selected into and received an ‘Honorable Mention’ award in the 1976 "Bicentennial American Painters In Paris" show in Paris, France. During this time, Robert’s paintings were created on both sides of clear plexiglass. He found it's transparent flat surface perfect for depicting his hard edge surrealistic landscapes. For the next 10 years Robert was selling in South Florida galleries, and being commissioned for his paintings. He was also working part time as a graphic designer with various advertising agencies. Putting down his paintbrush in 1987, Robert got married and took a full-time job as Art Director at a Coral Springs agency. Five years later in 1992 he started a successful marketing business that he ran with his wife for 23 years. In 2015, a couple of years after moving to North East Florida, Robert sold his business and was free to go back to his roots and paint.
A mostly self-taught oil painter, Wally's work is informed by many years of living on the Tomoka River and over 50 years of surfing along the Florida east coast. His technique for studio painting is a slow one, using multiple layers of thin and thick oil paint over a period of months and sometimes longer in order for the painting to evolve beyond his initial concept into something deeper and more meaningful. He likes to think of this process as a collaboration between himself and the painting.