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Grandmothers threads tie together family show
"Secrets" by Pat Drew

Five generations, one common thread.

For the matriarch of the family, that thread is literal - it holds together the cloth that makes up her quilts. For the following generations, that thread becomes each one's interpretation of the world.

These different threads from the Nash family will be on display at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center starting May 29.

Pat Drew, who exhibited her paintings two years ago at the Quinlan, returns this time with works from her grandmother, mother, niece and great-nephew.

Drew's niece, Julie Hogan, teaches art at Lumpkin County High School and Hogan's son Nash - Drew's great-nephew - recently graduated from the University of Georgia.

Their styles range from family portraits to nature to the urban environment, but they are all connected, Drew said. Her pieces come from archived photos that are photocopied, laminated on a canvas and painted with transparent paint. The overall effect is a patchwork of colors and shapes enhancing the original image. Her mother and grandmother made elaborate quilts that resemble abstract art.

"It's really a very powerful show; none of the three of us paint together, but there's a thread. Part of it is in something I call pieces - it's also an examination of a section of the world," Drew said. "It's just really interesting to look at this period of time that spans over 100 years."

The idea to combine the family's pieces came to Drew after attending Nash Hogan's exit reception at the University of Georgia last year. Drew, who became a full-time painter later in life, said she realized as he introduced the family members how they had all become painters.

"I got to thinking, you know, that's weird. We are three generations of painters, and we're actually five generations because my grandmother was so talented ... she would sew on these gorgeous quilts - that was her creative outlet," Drew said. "My mother made quilts, too.

"When my mother was like 16, a visiting artist came through and said if you'll make me a suit of clothes, I'll give two of your daughters painting lessons," she said. "And so my mother and Aunt Virginia were the middle buttons, and they got to do two paintings apiece."

Drew majored in art in college and had her own ceramics business for 13 years. It wasn't until after she retired when she began taking more formal painting lessons and began working on her own pieces. About six months after she threw herself into the medium, she held her first one-man show.

Her paintings have been exhibited at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, along with various galleries around the Southeast.

But it's the family connection, she said, that makes this show so special.

She stressed that despite whatever economic differences, her mother and grandmother always made sure their children were exposed to the arts.

"The earliest remembrance of my mother is her taking me to a rehearsal of her mother, she was doing (the musical) ‘Indian Love Call,' and she was doing props for it, and I probably wasn't more than 4 years old," Drew said. "My second love is theater, but yet also she encouraged my art. She encouraged my creativity."