Firmly Rooted

Paintings by Stacey Pilkington-Smith and Liz McKay

May 19 – August 31, 2018

Opening Reception May 19, 2018 7-9 PM

The adage “opposites attract” holds a great deal of truth.  Often art that would be viewed as drastically different in style and technique convey similar themes and emotions.  Stacey Pilkington-Smith’s background in graphic art is clearly visible in her illustrational style, while Liz McKay’s fine art training resonates in her powerful use of composition and line.  Two very different approaches, yet both artists draw inspiration from the unruly aspects of the natural world by utilizing soft sinuous lines, intertwining curves and earthy elements to express feminine power.

Heavily influenced by the work of Alphonse Mucha, Stacey Pilkington-Smith’s ethereal watercolors draw the audience into a sensual world of lush greenery, watery pools and long forgotten deities.  Her female figures sing a siren’s song of art for art’s sake and her green men wink at us from behind shrubbery, inviting us to join them in their mirth. Smith’s work is reminiscent of the art nouveau style which reflected the close connection between the feminine and the power of nature.

The juxtaposition of large, smoothly curved boulders against linear, skyward climbing ladder structures in Liz McKay’s paintings speaks to the often tenuous relationship between the male and female of our species. Whether subconscious or intentional, McKay’s work has a distinctly feminist voice that is ever present in the scale of her rounded stone figures. They loom powerfully within the picture plane as if poised to move at any moment, giving the viewer a sense that the sacred feminine – long repressed in our patriarchal culture – has lost none of it potency.

“Firmly Rooted” is the second exhibition by these two artistic friends and will be on display through the summer at Gallery 27 in Lincolnton, North Carolina.