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Birds Nest Invitational highlights nature just in time for Earth Day
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“Security” Janet Cornett - Sculpture - photo by Tom Reed

Quinlan Visual Arts Center exhibits
What: 2010 Colored Pencil Society of America regional juried exhibition, "Birds Nest Invitational," "The Fabric of Women" and "Two to Tango: Analogous Works in Clay"
When: Through May 29
Where: Quinlan Visual Arts Center, 514 Green St. NE, Gainesville
How much: Free; pieces available for purchase
More info: 770-536-2575

Some feather them. Others fill them with money. A few watch their children fly from them.

But they all have one thing in common: A nest is one’s home base — a personal space where one may flutter about or fall asleep.

Many local — and even national — artists took this idea of a nest, the subject in one of several new exhibits at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center in Gainesville, and gave it a more literal translation as a bird’s home. Their representations of nests in acrylics, oils, watercolors and even metal work out well on a whole other level, though.

A walk through the exhibit is a great way to celebrate Earth Day.

Quinlan Director Amanda Kroll said the timing of the event just happened to coincide with the green holiday. But the exhibit serves an even larger purpose: A portion of the proceeds will go to Elachee Nature Science Center in Gainesville.

The "Birds Nest Invitational" is a juried exhibition, with winning pieces selected by artist Roseta Santiago. Kroll said the Quinlan made an open call to artists and invited others to submit pieces. The pieces in the Green Street Gallery have been narrowed down from about 55 original entries.

The pieces represent a range of nest interpretations, but all staying fairly true to the theme.

"Security," a sculpture by Janet Cornett, features eggs layered in soft blues, surrounded by a nest of bristly barbed wire. Local metal artist Jane Taylor’s submission, "Winter Solstice," features found objects. A couple artists use a new product — watercolor canvas and boards — which allow the pieces to hang without the protection of glass.

"It’s letting artists step out of their boundaries even more," Kroll said of the canvas.

"Another sculpture, "My Nest Egg — Phase II," comes with a personal story from artist Tandy Woodall Ray.

Originally told she was going through early menopause, she thought she wouldn’t be able to have children. As a result, a few years ago she created a series of dark, empty nests in response to her feelings.

But she later changed doctors, received a different treatment and not long ago gave birth to a girl. Her joy shines in a metal nest holding a bright copper egg.

Other exhibits at the Quinlan include pieces from the Atlanta chapter of the Colored Pencil Society of America, portraits by Nancy Dusenberry featured in "The Fabric of Women" and porcelain pieces by Gainesville State College professor Jennifer Graff in "Two to Tango: Analogous Work in Clay."

Even after Earth Day, each gallery gives off a feeling of spring, Kroll said.

"They are four very different shows, but it’s nice in the spring, after a long winter, to come in and see a lot of color," she said. "Spring’s about that."

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