Gallery brings 'Sparkle and Light'

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Bring some "Sparkle and Light" to Historic Downtown Wilson with the Barnes Corner Gallery First Friday Open House, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on March 1. This month's opening will feature watercolor artists Russell Yerkes and Ryan Fox, who bring light and life to their work through ground-breaking styles, garnering them both international awards and acclaim. 

Adding sparkle to the evening will be Asheville glass artist Deb Williams, whose work in the natural forms of nature has garnered her the nickname, "The Glass Leaf Lady."

Russell Yerkes

Goldsboro artist Russell Yerkes prefers to create large watercolor paintings with what he describes as an "in-your-face" perspective. Inspired by underwater scenes viewed through the limited vantage of a snorkeling mask, his highly imaginative work is vibrant with saturated colors and intricate textures and patterns. 

Yerkes begins with his foreground and works toward the background, allowing the design to emerge as the painting develops. Yerkes does not pre-draw his entire image, instead he focuses on individual parts that, after many layers of color, become like puzzle pieces fitting together in a dramatic, non-traditional piece of art.

Yerkes has painted all his life but became a full-time professional artist 20 years ago.

Ryan Fox

While his subjects may be inspired by the photographic documentation of his world-wide treks, the  paintings and painting methods of Raleigh's Ryan Fox push artistic boundaries. Formerly a professional photographer, Fox uses photographic images merely as reference points, allowing his imagination and memory to create color and detail. His goal is to paint a memory of a unique moment in time. 

While many watercolorists mix color on their palette before carefully applying it to paper, Fox combines methods of blocking, loose impressionist brushwork, carefully painted passages and inventive pouring and mixing color directly on the paper, to create vibrant, evocative images of great imagination and passion.  

Deb Williams

On a whim, Deb Williams, an artist who had worked with stained glass and glass blowing, took a class in glass casting. Buckets of colored glass. Molds. Kilns hot as infernos. She fell deeply in love. The process begins with combining a variety of colored glass, all with compatible coefficients of expansion, into specialized molds. The artist must employ sensitively timed firings so that the piece fuses to the desired degree without melting into a puddle. Then a painstakingly slow, step-down cooling process is followed so that the piece doesn't shatter. These processes are highly technical and require great patience. Williams, who never considered herself patient or technical, nevertheless threw herself into mastering her art and loving every minute of it.  

Williams finds inspiration from nature and the beautiful surroundings of her Asheville home. Affectionately called the "Glass Leaf Lady," Williams brings her unique vision and sparkle to an ancient process.

The public is invited to attend the "Sparkle & Light" First Friday Open House and to meet the artists. Light refreshments will be served. For more information call Pegi Sharp at 252-291-8878 or Oona Lewis at 252-236-1055. 

Barnes Corner Gallery is located at 200 Tarboro St. W., Wilson.