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Art show goes in new directions
Expanded gallery takes on literal translation of 'branching out'
“When Trees Bleed” by Patrice Lynne Young, an acrylic on deep cradle panel.
‘Branching Out’
Featuring work by Larry Compton, Patty Workman and Patrice Lynne Young
When: Through Feb. 28
Where: Sautee Nacoochee Center’s Center Gallery and Gallery Too
More info: 706-878-3300

It was just a year ago that the Sautee Nacoochee Center’s Center Gallery was expanded across the hall, welcoming the space of the Center Too gallery to show more North Georgia artists.

This year, the gallery is taking the branching out a little more literally, with an exhibit centered around forest and tree scenes by artists Larry Compton, Patty Workman and Patrice Lynne Young.

The theme wasn’t totally a coincidence, though, said gallery director Jim Thomas.

“Branching out doesn’t just mean trees. It can mean other things as well,” said Thomas, adding that the gallery committee chooses themes for the eight shows of the year.

“When we decided to schedule our various themes, my thinking was, ‘Hey, we branched out last year doubling our gallery space, so what a perfect tie-in to have it a year later?’”

Compton’s detailed pencil and graphite images include leaves, branches, ferns and other materials found on the forest floor. The exhibit also includes some of Compton’s oil painting landscapes.

Workman’s pieces show graphically illustrated trees, and her pen-and-ink compositions extend the trees out onto the mat surrounding the piece, giving them a three-dimensional effect. Highlights of watercolors soften some tree images, while others are left black and white.

“I started doing trees when I was in high school. I had a wonderful teacher ... she gave me some tips but none of them really appealed to me,” Workman said of how she developed her style. “What I liked best was in the wintertime, when the leaves fell off the trees and you have the winter skies. And when you get a tree with no leaves on it, it’s like a piece of artwork in itself.”

Workman said she will take a day when her two boys are off at school and cover the kitchen table with watercolor paper, then make backgrounds on them.

“Then I’ll come back and do my free-form trees,” she said. “I came up with the idea of coming out of the picture and onto the mat ... They’re not confined inside the mat; they wander out.”

Pieces by Young show single trees, groups of trees and other landscapes done in a bold, colorful style. Plus, there are some surprises from her tucked into the show.

Trees aren’t her first choice of a subject, she said, but they make a good metaphor.

“They do fascinate me, and there’s something of the resilience of trees. They shed all their leaves but they come back, and that’s why it’s an interesting metaphor for human resilience,” she said. “They’re very noble and, of course, they’re very simplistic.”

Young said she usually paints subjects in a series. The focus on trees and their bare limbs was a chance to turn her attention to the open space around them.

“Some of my friends tell me I’m the best painter of empty space they know,” she added.

Rounding out the show are juried pieces from other area artists. Theme-related art includes paintings, wood-turned art, pottery, jewelry, stained glass, photography, mixed media and fiber art.

All art on display and for sale in the galleries has been produced by artists who live within a 50-mile radius of the Sautee Nacoochee Center.

Workman said not only does that make the gallery an asset to the many different kinds of artists in the area, but it adds to the personal tie she already has with the Sautee Nacoochee Center.

A longtime White County resident, Workman’s mother and grandmother attended school in the gallery, along with her husband.
“It really has a background with me,” she said.