The rooms at the Victor R. Small House will be filled with the artistic talents of Fayetteville State University professors Soni Martin and Shane Booth as part of the Sampson County Arts Council’s next art exhibit to begin Thursday.
Martin and Booth worked Monday afternoon strategically placing their 30 pieces of artwork in the rooms and halls at the house located on College Street in preparation for the artist reception Thursday, May 3, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and the month-long art exhibit May 3-June 7.
Martin’s work includes a variety of mixed media, including prints and drawings.
“Currently I am interested in obscurity as a layer of meaning,” Martin noted. “Opacity has given way to transparency and types of illumination.”
According to Martin, using a reductionist approach, her efforts are to limit the color palette to luminous or reflective surfaces to heighten obscurity and meaning.
“What remains from earlier work is often a flattened representational image of an ordinary place I visit or familiar objects,” Martin said. “The representational portion remains intentionally mundane while the larger areas in many of these works is an open ended and a free association response to the representational image, the medium, and the preliminary idea. A proportionally larger abstract space is juxtaposed to create pictorial tension of seemingly unlike things. Although for me they relate.”
Booth’s work includes photographs of family heirlooms, mainly items that belonged to his great-grandfather.
“The items I photograph are taken out of context and put in white space,” Booth shared.
For both Martin and Booth, their work allows the viewer to be their own judge and dictate the space as it’s seen in their own eyes. Throughout the Small House, Martin and Booth say they worked to strategically place pieces of art together, allowing individual pieces to place emphasis on the piece it was next to.
“We both deal with space, just in a different way,” Martin shared.
Both Martin and Booth have served as juror in the art show sponsored by the Sampson Arts Council each year. Bringing them in to showcase their work, Sampson Arts Council director Kara Donatelli said, was a chance to allow the public to see the work of two great artists.
“I am excited they are here,” Donatelli shared. “They have judged our art show in the past and now they can showcase their artwork for the public to see.”
Martin earned her bachelor of art in painting from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and her master of fine art in studio art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is a professor of fine art at Fayetteville State University.
Booth was raised in Nebraska in a small farming community and graduated with a bachelor of art in art from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a master of fine arts in photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He has taught photography at Fayetteville State University for the past 10 years. His work has taken him to Ethiopia, where he worked with HIV positive children and to Sweden where he was a contestant on the Swedish reality TV show Allt for Sverige, where he was nominated for favorite TV star at the Gay Galan awards.
His work has been exhibited nationally and he has won several artist grants that have allowed him to continue his photographic endeavors. He has had work published in local magazines and several books. Most of his photography deals with self portraits and identity as well as landscapes.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.