April Exhibitions: A Ménage à Trois & Not Without Water

This April, MAC’s Gallery @ Room 1927 will feature two exhibitions: “A Ménage à Trois” by Frank “Chip” Mayes and “Not Without Water” by Pier Hardin.

Frank “Chip” Mayes began painting in 1960 and is a painter of Oils, Acrylics, and Designers Gouache. He enrolled in college as an art major. Being one of the first graduating seniors from the University of West Florida, he founded the traditional Senior Portfolio Review and Show. Chip became well known in the Florida area and was supported by the community with patrons placing regular commissions. After graduating, he left for independent studies in Europe for an extended period of time. He has studied all over the world. Upon returning to the States, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and currently lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

“Giving time to painting is an act of faith. To this world it will hardly appear noble, purposeful, praiseworthy; and yet, painting reincarnates in every generation. James Whistler put it like this, ‘We have then but to wait–until with the mark of the Gods upon him–there come among us again the Chosen–who shall continue what has gone before.’ I, Frank, the artist say, I am a painter, a visual story teller, and an observer of people, places, and things.”

Not Without Water depicts the environments that could not exist without water. Surreal and abstract forests, bog plants, cypress knees, swamps, mythical caves, carp, lily pads, insects, and frogs—water is their source of life, just as it is ours. Reflected clouds on a pond surface, a meandering stream that courses underground, a hollowed cave—all are evidence of water’s complex and vital omnipresence. The recurring lines, shapes, and patterns observable in the plants and animals that thrive in or at water’s edge define Pier Hardin’s aesthetic sensibility, and hold her in thrall at the miraculous connectedness of nature. Pier’s paintings tend to put the viewer closer to the subject, and often have no horizon lines in sight. This magnified tete-a-tete with a pitcher plant or a frog swimming to the surface of a pond often results in an intimate point of view. The bold colors she chooses express extremes of darkness and light, frequently lending a surreal or fantastical mood to the subject matter. She uses organic line and careful placement to move the viewer’s eye intentionally about the compositions, just as water moves us with rhythm and fluidity. As a Mobilian, a proximity to water has profoundly shaped Pier’s understanding of beauty and mystery. She hopes that her oils and watercolors reveal a reverence toward the biodiverse world of nature that exists in Mobile’s estuary systems. These primordial places where tides meet streams continuously bind Pier in their spells.

“Life in us is like the water in the river.” – Henry David Thoreau

These exhibitions will remain in the MAC Gallery @ Room 1927 until Saturday, April 29th. Contact Sydney Cramer at scramer@mobilearts.org or 251-432-9796 for more information. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday – Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday.

Leave a Comment