Telling a good story

Narrative and ARTtoBUY at DVAC

By Joyell Nevins

Photo: Susanne Scherette King, “Changers are always near”

Seven years ago, Susanne Scherette King tentatively opened the door to the artistic world and brought one painting to a Dayton Visual Arts Center (DVAC) member’s auction and critique. Now that door has slammed wide open.

“It’s surreal but so exciting,” King said. “I have gone from coming in sheepishly with one piece to having a show with 25 pieces.”

King is the current solo exhibitor at DVAC, with 25 paintings in the Narrative collection. Her paintings are all acrylic and “non-figurative,” she said. She uses strong and vibrant colors, motion and a lot of layering in her paintings.

DVAC describes her work as “expressionist, characterized by an uncommon ability to translate emotion into color and images that range from the ethereal delicacy of a ghost, to the raw, chunky boldness of a geographic map, without any direct reference to, or abstraction from, physical objects or places. It’s paint and canvas, period.”

The name Narrative comes from the titles of the paintings – they all tell a story, such as “The street was empty, then he turned the corner,” or “We all need to be completed.”

“Paint, water and oil mix and create a synergy emerging on the canvas,” King said. “Each piece becomes its own personal narrative, always allowing the story to continue.”

King is originally from Valparaiso, Indiana, but has lived in Dayton for more than 30 years. She has two daughters, 30 and 27, and one grandbaby on the way. Her day job was teaching English at Oakwood Junior High School.

Fifteen years ago, King started painting as a hobby for herself. She took inspiration from artists such as Robert Motherwell, Hans Hoffman and John Mitchell.

“At the very beginning, I copied their work,” King said. That’s how I got started. Once I started, I really enjoyed it. Now it’s coming out of me.”

King credits the artists at DVAC for helping encourage and hone her work. After that first painting she brought to the juried auction got such a positive response, it gave her the courage she needed to pursue her art.

“I owe a lot of gratitude to DVAC,” she said. “It was very well received and gave me so much affirmation. So I continued from there.”

King notes Dayton, in general, has a group of artists that are tight knit in community but widespread in expertise.

“Dayton is lucky to have so many talented artists as they do in all different genres,” she said.

King has now been featured in eight galleries and in several group and solo exhibitions across Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

She has also acquired several corporate clients. The architect or designer will give her a color combination, and she creates a work for that business. Her specialized artwork is hanging in Dayton businesses such as Elements IV Interiors, Dermpath Lab and NewPage, as well as in the Martini Modern Italian restaurant in Columbus.

And the artwork has become more than just a hobby or even career choice in the last couple of years. After enduring an automobile accident and serious medical complications, her art became a way to cope and carry on – to express her emotions in color. In fact, most of the pieces for the Narrative show have been created in this window of time.

“It’s been an amazing outlet,” she said. “My work over the last year has changed in color and design.”

King does her work in a tiny studio in her basement – what she refers to as the “cocoon room.” It’s the smallest room in the house, but it’s her private sanctuary, although she does warn it’s not neat and tidy.

“I’m not the neatest painter,” she laughed. “I’ve been known to throw some paint!”

ARTtoBUY

Alongside King’s paintings, the annual ARTtoBUY: Holiday Gift Gallery is also happening at DVAC.

“It’s an opportunity for local artists to market and sell their work as holiday giftables in a contemporary art gallery setting,” said Eva Buttacavoli, executive director of the center.

This year there are 51 artists – the biggest number the event has had yet. Seventy-one artists applied to be in the show. A jury comprised of professors, gallery owners and members of the Ohio Arts Council judged each work on craftmanship, originality and contemporariness.

“It’s the best of the best,” Buttacavoli said.

Shoppers can find gifts in glass, ceramic, sand painting, photography, mixed media and sculpture, as well as scarves and jewelry. All the gifts are displayed with special bulbs that light up as observers pass them.

“It illuminates the beautiful craft and is a way to celebrate the artist,” Buttacavoli said.“Dayton is lucky to have so many talented artists as they do in all different genres,” she said.

King has now been featured in eight galleries and in several group and solo exhibitions across Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

She has also acquired several corporate clients. The architect or designer will give her a color combination, and she creates a work for that business. Her specialized artwork is hanging in Dayton businesses such as Elements IV Interiors, Dermpath Lab and NewPage, as well as in the Martini Modern Italian restaurant in Columbus.

And the artwork has become more than just a hobby or even career choice in the last couple of years. After enduring an automobile accident and serious medical complications, her art became a way to cope and carry on – to express her emotions in color. In fact, most of the pieces for the Narrative show have been created in this window of time.

“It’s been an amazing outlet,” she said. “My work over the last year has changed in color and design.”

King does her work in a tiny studio in her basement – what she refers to as the “cocoon room.” It’s the smallest room in the house, but it’s her private sanctuary, although she does warn it’s not neat and tidy.

“I’m not the neatest painter,” she laughed. “I’ve been known to throw some paint!”

ARTtoBUY

Alongside King’s paintings, the annual ARTtoBUY: Holiday Gift Gallery is also happening at DVAC.

“It’s an opportunity for local artists to market and sell their work as holiday giftables in a contemporary art gallery setting,” said Eva Buttacavoli, executive director of the center.

This year there are 51 artists – the biggest number the event has had yet. Seventy-one artists applied to be in the show. A jury comprised of professors, gallery owners and members of the Ohio Arts Council judged each work on craftmanship, originality and contemporariness.

“It’s the best of the best,” Buttacavoli said.

Shoppers can find gifts in glass, ceramic, sand painting, photography, mixed media and sculpture, as well as scarves and jewelry. All the gifts are displayed with special bulbs that light up as observers pass them.

“It illuminates the beautiful craft and is a way to celebrate the artist,” Buttacavoli said.

Shoppers can come during open gallery hours or during a special shopping party. DVAC will host a “Beer & Peanuts” Shopping Party from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 17, in conjunction with Joe Waizmann of Warped Wing Brewery.

Also available to patrons is the ability to rent the venue for a private holiday shopping party, complete with music and refreshments. The rental fee will be discounted or waived depending on how much the group purchases that evening.

Art lovers can also meet Susanne Scherette King in a gallery talk at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 11.

Narrative will be on view through Dec. 27. The ARTtoBUY Holiday Gift Gallery will also be open through Dec. 27. Dayton Visual Arts Center is located at 118 N. Jefferson St. Open gallery hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. from Tuesdays to Saturdays. Call 937.224.3822 or visit daytonvisualarts.org for more information.

Reach DCP freelance writer Joyell Nevins at JoyellNevins@DaytonCityPaper.com.Page

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Joyell believes in the power of the written word, a good cup of coffee, and sometimes, the need for a hug (please, no Tommy Boy references). Follow her on her blog “Small World, Big God” at swbgblog.wordpress.com or reach her at joyellnevins@daytoncitypaper.com

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