Pine Bluff Art League Exhibition Showcases Best of Local Artists

The 2019 Pine Bluff Art League Exhibition, recognizing the best of the area’s artists opens Thursday, August 8, with a free public reception and awards ceremony. Juror Ricky Sikes will be on hand for remarks and to award Best in Show, First, Second, and Third Place prizes, as well as Honorable Mention.

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'Eviction Quilts' Highlight Housing and Poverty Issues

Artist and documentarian James Matthews is bringing attention to the prevalence and reality of evictions with a series of quilts that are now on view in ASC’s Kennedy Gallery. Matthews created the nine quilts that comprise Eviction Quilts from clothing, bedding, and fabric he found curbside in Little Rock. The items were all left after the residents were evicted. 

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'Heavy Metal' Exhibition Showcases 'Women to Watch'

Robyn Horn,  1190 Layers of Steel , 2007, steel. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Robyn Horn, 1190 Layers of Steel, 2007, steel. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Statewide Tour Features Arkansas Nominees for National Museum of Women of the Arts Exhibition

The Heavy Metal: Arkansas Women to Watch 2019 exhibition tour begins its southeast Arkansas visit this week as the latest exhibition in the Arts & Science Center’s Kennedy Gallery.

The exhibition at ASC opens with a free public reception on Thursday, April 25, from 5-7 p.m. Artists will be on hand for remarks beginning at 5:30. ASC’s volunteer organization Art Krewe along with MK Distributors are sponsoring the reception.

The state tour is organized and sponsored by the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (ACNMWA).

The exhibition features work by Arkansas artists Michele Fox, Amanda Heinbockel, Robyn Horn, and Holly Laws. As the title suggests, all the works include metal as the primary or accent medium. The works range in size and form, and include pieces such as wooden and steel installations and finely detailed silver jewelry.

“The four artists featured in this Women to Watch exhibit have worked with metal in a variety of ways: casting bronze, soldering gold, welding iron and crocheting silver,” said Barbara Satterfield, chair of the ACNMWA Exhibition Committee. “The show is a great mixed-media idea lab for form as well as function.”

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C., developed the Women to Watch exhibit program to increase the visibility of and critical response to promising female artists. The program features artists from the states and countries in which the museum has outreach committees. NMWA curators select the theme, and local arts professionals curate submissions to the national museum.

Holly Laws’ mixed-media installations  Placeholder  (front) and  Three Eastern Bluebird s (right) and were selected for inclusion in the national exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C.

Holly Laws’ mixed-media installations Placeholder (front) and Three Eastern Bluebirds (right) and were selected for inclusion in the national exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C.

ACNMWA is the only affiliate of the national museum to organize statewide tours of work by its nominees to the national competitive. Heavy Metal is the fifth in the biennial series that is seen by an average of 5,000 Arkansans across the state, according to the ACNMWA. The 2019 state tour premiered in February at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. The exhibition will have traveled to eight venues across the state when the tour wraps in November.

ACNMW’s guest curator Matthew Smith selected the national nominees and the four Arkansas artists featured in the 2019 state tour. “These artists have created new traditions and extended existing boundaries, developing their vision with the use of metal,” Smith wrote in his curatorial essay. “From sculpture to delicate pieces of jewelry, they have informed our understanding of metal’s potential: its conceptual malleability and its dynamic potential.”

Laws’ mixed-media installations Three Eastern Bluebirds and Placeholder were selected for inclusion in the national exhibit, which was held at the NMWA from June 28–September 16, 2018.

The exhibition is on display at ASC through Saturday, June 22. Its next stop is the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale.

The Artists

Michele Fox, She wanted to be beautiful, 2017. copper craft wire, assorted hardware, scrap copper, 14k gold filled wire and chain, glass beads, argentium sterling wire, gray tiger eye beads, and suede. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Michele Fox, She wanted to be beautiful, 2017. copper craft wire, assorted hardware, scrap copper, 14k gold filled wire and chain, glass beads, argentium sterling wire, gray tiger eye beads, and suede. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Michele Fox of Little Rock began working with metal at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School. She first exhibited with a series titled “Safety Nets”; the work focused on the primitive need for safety that she experienced while going through a year of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy.

“Every piece of jewelry she creates is a unique, fully functional work of art,” Matthew Smith wrote of Fox’s work in his curatorial essay. “The idea of rigidity in her metal materials completely disappears as the lines of her works intertwine amongst themselves. Fox’s skillful combination of manmade metal wire and nature-made materials results in wearable and fashionable fine art.”

Fox’s fine art jewelry can be found in The Galleries at Library Square, located in the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History and Art in Little Rock.

A medical doctor, Fox is a blood banking and transfusion medicine specialist and professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

“I am a physician with an alternate life as an artist, who started using fiber techniques to make metal or mixed-media jewelry because the tactile sense of how jewelry feels is as important to me as how it looks,” she wrote in her artist statement.

Amanda Heinbockel, For Mimi, 2017, sterling silver and brass. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Amanda Heinbockel, For Mimi, 2017, sterling silver and brass. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Amanda Heinbockel of Little Rock is an art teacher at Central High School. She recently exhibited at Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock, and North Little Rock’s Argenta Branch Library and Thea Foundation.

Before joining the Central High faculty, Heinebockel completed an artist residency at Elsewhere: A Living Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Secondary Education degree from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.

Heinbockel’s pieces in Heavy Metal include jewelry and small, detailed sculptures. Some pieces include symbols from her childhood experiences. She made the brass Reliquary for Cindy Bird in memory of the last pet cockatiel she had growing up. The brooch For Mimi included a silver bloom of her grandmother’s favorite flower (gardenia) and a tomato vine (a staple in her grandmother’s garden). A sterling silver ring (Root Ring) opens to reveal a root design. While several pieces feature plant anatomy, the silver and enameled copper earrings Digestive System focus on human anatomy.

Robyn Horn, #1263 Industrial Series NO. 19 “Star Wheel,” 2017, pine and steel. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Robyn Horn, #1263 Industrial Series NO. 19 “Star Wheel,” 2017, pine and steel. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Robyn Horn’s work is in museum collections around the country. Among them are the Arts & Science Center, the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Asheville Art Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Detroit Institute of Art, Museum of Arts + Design in New York, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. Her work can also be seen in galleries such as Greg Thompson Fine Art in North Little Rock and Justus Fine Art Gallery in Hot Springs.

In addition to her contributions as an artist, Horn has long been engaged in numerous state and national arts organizations and foundations.

Horn has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art from Hendrix College in Conway. Horn has worked in other mediums such as painting and photography but she is most known for her abstract, geometrical, textural wood sculptures. She has worked in the medium for more than 30 years, and was awarded the prestigious Arkansas Living Treasure Award in 2008 for her work as a wood sculptor.

Her seven pieces in Heavy Metal reflect her exploration of metal in her recent works.

“I have used steel in different ways, employing it as a material of strength in my Steel Series, and using it as an accent in my Industrial Series to augment my wood sculptures,” Horn wrote in her artist statement. “Lately, I have come to see the conceptual aspect of steel and cast iron in my work as a way of questioning process or function.”

Detail of Holly Law’s placeholder, 2017, cast bronze, found ironing board, and plywood pedestal. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Detail of Holly Law’s placeholder, 2017, cast bronze, found ironing board, and plywood pedestal. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Holly Laws of Mayflower is a sculptor and also creates multimedia installations. She is an associate professor of art at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway where she teaches three-dimensional design and sculpture. Before joining the UCA faculty, Laws worked with Bread and Puppet Theater in New York City and with several motion picture studios in set dressing, custom fabrication, and prop design.S

She has exhibited in galleries and museums across the country including the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock; the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.; the Flaten Museum of Art at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota; the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island; Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts, Muriel Guépin Gallery, and the Spring/Break Art Show, in New York City.

She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Tyler School of Art, Temple University.

Laws’ three large mixed-media sculptures in Heavy Metal were created as part of a larger body of work titled Bellwether, which began in the fall of 2016 “as a response to my sadness over the divisive state of affairs in the American political landscape,” she wrote in her artist statement. “I wanted to explore the horrible disconnect between the citizens of this nation: the miscommunication, the polarization, and the hate. The resurgence of overt misogyny and the backlash against feminism were of particular interest to me.”

'Scenes' Offer Glimpse Along Delta Highway

David Trulock,  Wishbone at KVSA AM 1220 , 2018

David Trulock, Wishbone at KVSA AM 1220, 2018

Photo Exhibitions Take Viewers Through Southeast Arkansas, Past and Present

Nancy Abernathy,  Cotton’s Ready , 2010

Nancy Abernathy, Cotton’s Ready, 2010

Visitors can view images from the Delta past and present in the Arts & Science Center’s latest exhibitions, Scenes Along the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway and Women of the Arkansas Delta.

The exhibitions open with a free, public reception and awards presentation Thursday, Feb. 7, 5-7 p.m.

The Pine Bluff Advertising & Promotion Commission and Barbara House sponsor Scenes Along The Delta.

The Scenes exhibition captures the natural beauty and human experience of the Delta. Photographs of the landscape, people, artisans, musicians, wildlife, buildings and transportation give viewers a glimpse into the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway, which runs from Pine Bluff to Lake Village along U.S. 65, and into Greenville and Leland, Mississippi, along U.S. 82.

ASC invited amateur and professional photographers in fall 2018 to submit images for the juried exhibition. Photos were required to be taken within 1 mile of the highway.

The artists whose images were selected are:

  • Melissa Abernathy

  • Nancy Abernathy

  • Tim Davis

  • Frank Ferguson

  • Rita Henry

  • Ken Lamber

  • Jennifer Price

  • Kim Reese

  • Glenda Reeves

  • David Trulock

  • Anita Walden

  • Vickie Young

“I found in these photographs a powerful, nostalgic, mysterious, simplistic and haunting chapter of the story that is the Delta,” juror Lisa Burton Tarver of El Dorado said in her juror statement. She chose 27 pieces for the exhibition and the awards for Best in Show ($500), First Prize ($250), Second Prize ($150) and Third Prize ($100). Tarver will be on hand during the reception to award the prizes.

(Tarver, a photographer for more than 30 years, will have her own photo exhibition, titled “Southern Elegance,” March 9-30 at the South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado.)

“The criteria for this exhibition included composition, photographic skill, and use of light and went a step further to include exceptional interpretation and je ne sais quoi—that indefinable ‘something’ that speaks to the viewer,” explained ASC Curator Dr. Lenore Shoults.

The Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway has officially been recognized in both Arkansas and Mississippi. In 2017, Act 451 designated the Arkansas Delta portion of U.S. 65 to be the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway. Mississippi followed in 2018, designated their portion of U.S. 82 that runs through the cities of Greenville and Leland.

The Delta Rhythm & Bayous Alliance sought this designation as part of a broader plan for tourism-based economic development in the region. The alliance is a cultural heritage tourism initiative highlighting music, arts, and bayou history along the route on U.S. 65 and U.S. 82.

“The ‘key’ to the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway is unbelievably hard to define in words, but immensely easy to understand in spirit for the residents who live in its bucolic wonder,” wrote Jimmy Cunningham for the Scenes Along the Delta exhibition catalog. Cunningham is executive director of the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Alliance and co-author of the book Delta Music & Film: Jefferson County and The Lowlands.

“May the photographic images of this exhibition reveal the ‘key’ to our beloved Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway in myriad illustrious iterations,” he added.

Anne R. Zachary of Marvell

Anne R. Zachary of Marvell

Women of the Arkansas Delta

In a companion exhibition, visitors will also have a chance to view photos from a 1976 book of the same name, Women of the Arkansas Delta. The Pine Bluff Women’s Center, through a grant by the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission in 1970s, sought to “gather, preserve, and publish information about women of the delta, their history and lives.” They documented social justice activists, farmers and small business owners—African American and white.

Among the women documented:

  • Annie R. Zachary of Marvell. Appointed in 1969 by Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, she was the first African American named to a governor’s board.

  • Mildred Laureles of Snow Lake. She has been postmistress of the small Desha County community near the Mississippi River since 1947.

  • Ora Brown of of Pine Bluff. She owned a beauty shop and several rental properties in the city. The 1976 book included a recipe for her chocolate pound cake.

The book, photographs, and original negatives are now in ASC’s Permanent Collection.

ASC Curator Dr. Lenore Shoults, in a letter that appears in the exhibition catalog, thanks the women documented in the collection:“You could not have known that over forty years later a woman would stumble upon your stories and be inspired to curate an exhibition based on your lives.”

“My favorite line is from Geneva Byrd, of Tucker, ‘I’m independent. I work for what I get. (My husband), he’s working. Let me work for mine. I can buy what I want … if you’re working, you can go and get what you want. Like that little blue car sitting there.’”

Scenes Along the Delta & Bayous Highway and Women of the Arkansas Delta are on view in the International Paper Gallery through Saturday, April 20, 2019.

Bork 'Shapes' Up for Solo Exhibition

Dustyn Bork during a 2018 Vermont Studio Residency, featuring two works in his solo exhibition  Complex Shapes and Empty Space.  The exhibition is at the Arts & Science Center though Saturday, April 13. Photo by H Romero, courtesy of Dustyn Bork.

Dustyn Bork during a 2018 Vermont Studio Residency, featuring two works in his solo exhibition Complex Shapes and Empty Space. The exhibition is at the Arts & Science Center though Saturday, April 13. Photo by H Romero, courtesy of Dustyn Bork.

Lyon College Professor Explores Architectural Structures, Color in ASC Show

By Shannon Frazeur

Printmaker, painter, and professor Dustyn Bork brings his colorful, abstract and geometric work to the Arts & Science Center with a solo exhibition Dustyn Bork: Complex Shapes and Empty Space.

The exhibition is now open, and ASC is hosting a free, public recept­ion 5-7 p.m. Thursday, January 24.

The 21 pieces in the exhibition — acrylic on shaped panels and framed seriographs — are inspired by architectural forms.

“The theme for the exhibition is formally about shape and color,” Born explained. “Conceptually, the work is all inspired by the built environment. I am interested in how architecture shapes our daily experience.”

ASC Bork Exhibition - Complex Shapes - 72dpi.jpg

The title of the show comes from a line in a book on Japanese aesthetics called In Praise of Shadows by Jun'Ichiro Tanizaki. “It is a brief but beautifully written first-hand account on what makes Japanese architecture unique based on space, lighting, and an appreciation for age.”

“I am interested in the contrast between old and new structures. I want viewers of my work to make connections between the textures, colors, shapes, and lines in my work with the world around them.”

The exhibition is an excellent fit for not only ASC’s gallery space but for Pine Bluff.

“The dimensionality and vibrant colors of Dustyn Bork’s bold shapes catapult off the gallery walls and one cannot help but smile when entering the space,” ASC Curator Dr. Lenore Shoults said. “Bork’s exploration of the constructed environment, upon which this series is built, and Pine Bluff’s current moment of architectural decay and renewal is particularly poignant. Again, art guides us and, during this exhibition for sure, keeps us joyful and optimistic about the outcome.”

Bork explored the structures and design aesthetics of the 1970s for his solo exhibition at the East Arkansas Community College Gallery last fall. Split Level included a series of paintings in which traditional rectangle compositions were cut into shaped panels to more accurately reflect architectural forms in split-level. 

For another 2018 exhibition, Bork teamed up with his wife, artist Carly Dahl, for Going Unnoticed at the Historical Arkansas Museum in Little Rock.

“She is one of the most talented, smart, and creative people I have ever known,” Bork said. “She is always making things; if not art, then textile weaving, knitting, or crafts. She has a great eye and lends her critical attention to work in the studio — a big help.”

“We have been together for 10 years and enjoy traveling, attending art exhibitions.”

He is originally from Monroe, Mich., about an hour south of Detroit and part of the heavily automotive-centered region. (Monroe is also home to a nuclear plant and a large equestrian monument dedicated to former resident Gen. George Custer.)

Bork taught for seven years in Ohio at the University of Toledo: Center for the Visual Arts before moving to Arkansas in 2010. He is an associate professor of art at Lyon College, a small private liberal arts college in Batesville.

“I have since received tenure and have really enjoyed the academic and artist community here. It is a great gig, a beautiful place to live in the foothills of the Ozarks, talented students to work with, and a wonderful community to live, work, and play in.

“Lyon is amazing place to teach. The students are great, and I enjoy the impact I can have in a nurturing environment working with small class sizes. It is a great campus.”

Bork has even called the Lyon campus home the last few years. “Carly and I live on campus and serve as resident mentors. It has been an amazing and rewarding experience working with all of the students and watching them grow.”

The couple is a fixture in Batesville’s art community. He serves on the board of the Ozark Foothills FilmFest and volunteers for the Batesville Area Arts Council, where Dahl is executive director.

Dustyn Bork and his Lyon College mural class students with one of the murals they created in Batesville. Bork and North Carolina- based artist Grace Engel designed the mural, and the students painted it. Photo by Carly Dahl, courtesy of Dustyn Bork.

Dustyn Bork and his Lyon College mural class students with one of the murals they created in Batesville. Bork and North Carolina- based artist Grace Engel designed the mural, and the students painted it. Photo by Carly Dahl, courtesy of Dustyn Bork.

Last fall, Bork and six students — along with artists Steve Adair of Rogers and Grace Engel of Asheville, N.C. — designed and executed four murals in Batesville.

The students created one mural — from concept to paint — completely on their own. Protect explores the local emergency services and was commissioned by the Independence County Judge. 

Greetings from Batesville — created for Main Street Batesville — is in the style of a retro postcard. Each letter includes landmark buildings in the city.

“It was a great experiential learning opportunity for students on show to work with stakeholders, think through the design process, and learn a few different mural techniques,” Bork said. “It's been awesome to see the community response — a lot of selfies and sharing on social media. It's awesome to see your impact in the community. Batesville is experiencing a bit of a Renaissance downtown and it’s been awesome to play a small part in that.”

More information about Bork can be found at his website, dustynbork.com. He can also be followed on Instagram.

Bork will be back at ASC for the next Second Saturday Family FunDay on February 9, to demonstrate screen printing and to help visitors screen print a T-shirt they can take home.

Dustyn Bork: Complex Shapes and Empty Space is on display in ASC’s William H. Kennedy Jr. Gallery through Saturday, April 13, 2019. Simmons Bank and the Arkansas Arts Council are the exhibition’s sponsors.


MORE ABOUT DUSTYN BORK

  • Bork earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking in 2002 from Indiana University in Bloomington and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking in 1999 from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

  • His work has been included in a number of juried exhibitions, including the 2016 Annual Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, the Delta National Small Prints Exhibition at the Bradbury Art Museum in Jonesboro, and the Print Exhibition at the Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, N.J. He has also had more than 20 solo and two-person exhibitions with Dahl.

  • In 2016, Bork won one of three Arkansas Arts Council individual fellowships in Visual Arts painting, the largest individual artist fellowship the council awards.

  • Bork has taken his talents internationally, with an artist residency at the Franz Masereel Centre in Kasterlee, Belgium, and the Martignano International Residency for Artists in Martignano, Italy. He was also part of a juried exhibition at the International Printmaking Biennial of Douro Alijó, Portugal.

  • Bork has two sons. Eddie is also an artist, working in graphic design, printmaking, and new media. He graduated from Lyon College with a degree in art. Aiden, his youngest son, is a high school senior and interested in counseling. He too plans to attend Lyon next year.

  • Bork’s work can also be seen at Justus Fine Art Gallery in downtown Hot Springs.

  • Bork and Dahl both contributed works to ASC’s 2018 Potpourri art exhibition.

  • Music is another one of Bork’s loves. “I recently started DJing for KILT, the Lyon College radio station, and I'm hooked.”


Artist Statement for Complex Shapes and Empty Space

shaped no. 10  by Dustyn Bork, acrylic on shaped panel

shaped no. 10 by Dustyn Bork, acrylic on shaped panel

“Certainly, some architectural forms are favored over others, a hierarchy exists for preserving and restoring styles of architecture based on their historical or cultural significance. I am interested in the contrast between old and new structures. It is a curious fate for the life of a building. Some go through many visual iterations and renovations while others will not stand the test of time. I want viewers to make connections between the colors, lines, textures, and forms in my artwork and those to be found in their daily interactions with the constructed environment.

“Certain architectural forms find their way in my work. My paintings and prints focus on the built landscape from my observable surroundings. I have experimented with abstracting forms and structures lifting them from their original context. The current series of paintings are reminiscent of building facades and remove the compositions from the more traditional rectangle and are cut into shaped pieces to more accurately reflect forms pulled from various sources. I want the works to take on an object-oriented feel. Will the new designs and forms constructed today soon collapse, be replaced, or last a lifetime? Each composition is meant to represent the beauty implicit in everyday surfaces and structures in various levels of decay and renewal.” — Dustyn Bork