Signs of spring are erupting in the form of bold and vibrant brushstrokes at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center in Gainesville as the gallery prepares to unveil its seasonal exhibition Thursday, April 14.
Featuring the work of Gainesville solo artists Ingrid Bolton and Krys Pettit along with Atlanta-area artists Jennifer Ferris, Shanon Schneider and BrushWorks Society, the spring exhibit runs the gamut of mediums and styles, from oils and watercolors to abstract and impressionism.
The exhibit opens with a reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m., allowing art lovers to meet the artists behind the work as well as kindred connoisseurs and collectors.
“(This exhibit) is a pleasure to view at a time like this,” said the Quinlan’s executive director, Nairika Cornett. “As we are learning to navigate the new normal, I think it’s very welcome (because) we all want to see something happy after a while. It’s a very dynamically different exhibit — every artist brings a different technique, different medium.”
The installation will be on display during gallery hours — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday — through June 4.
Individuals can also virtually peruse the collection via the Quinlan’s website, which enables them to view and purchase art from anywhere — a step the gallery took at the onset of the pandemic.
“We are confined with wall space, but the equalizing factor is technology,” Cornett said. “You can reach any corner of the world today and play with the big guys, as long as you have quality — which the Quinlan certainly does by way of art. Established artists, emerging artists, we’re just very lucky that we have built this reputation.”
Now in its 76th year, Cornett said the Quinlan remains artist-friendly, with a focus on fostering established and emerging talent sans barriers.
“A lot of times, people want to know immediately by looking that this is (a specific artist’s) painting,” Cornett said. “While that’s great, that doesn’t allow you to flourish as an artist, because you may today want to do portraits, or landscapes and say, ‘Now I really want to change and do abstract,’ and the world isn’t always kind to that. I tell the artist, ‘If I tell you what to do because that’s what I want, I’m a failure as an executive director of a gallery.’ I want to give them the freedom to create without barriers — because that’s where artists thrive the most. I have certain ideas about what I think is beautiful, but that’s only for what comes home to me. That should not be to tell the story of artists of this time through my eyes.”
It’s for that reason, Cornett said, the Quinlan’s exhibits aren’t fixed to a theme; rather, thematic elements reveal themselves as the pieces come together. With the spring installation in particular, she feels sure the gallery will have something to offer to everyone.
“When I look at an exhibition as a whole, I try as much as I can to remove my likes and dislikes but to offer the community a good understanding of what is happening in the art world currently, particularly in the area,” Cornett said. “You don’t have to love the thematic content, even the medium — but you can say, ‘This is an accomplished artist.’”