To mark the occasion, the gallery has created an exhibit featuring work from Lamplight artists both past and present, an eclectic, lovely collection of work that spills across both levels of the gallery and feels like an artistic family reunion where the visitors are just as welcome as the artists themselves.
For those familiar with the gallery, the exhibit offers the chance for them to go hunt for old friends of their own. I was thrilled to reacquaint myself with Deborah Goodman’s bright birds and frogs, as whimsical as pages from a children’s book and finely wrought enough to satisfy any nature lover. Carma Hard Fuller’s carved, painted gourds echoed the nature theme while offering a bit of three-dimensional fun.
Some of those old friends might even surprise you. I was struck by Beverly Mangum’s meltingly beautiful watercolors, perfect enough for postcards and imbued with just a touch of wonder.
There are also several Lamplight stalwarts on display, including the four artists who have been involved since the gallery was founded – Colleen Parker, Barbara Dowdle, Charlene Hill, and Rebecca Lee. Parker’s work is bright and freeform, the result of experimentation and play that seems to encourage viewers to go out and do the same thing. Lee focuses on exquisitely detailed still lifes of fruit and flowers, while Hill balances nature with a touch of the domestic. Dowdle’s latest collection of shells into dreamy, warm-washed fantasies.
There’s also the chance to get acquainted with new artistic friends whose work you might not have had the chance to see before. Stan Elmer turned a simple flower into an explosion of color that looked like a firework in miniature, while Kay Affleck’s animals had fur so richly detailed that I felt like I could reach through the canvas and pet them.
A few new spots recently opened up at the gallery, so if you’re familiar with a brush or camera there’s a chance you might be able to permanently join the party (call 298-0290 for more information). As for the rest of us, there’s more than enough to inspire at least one more return visit.