VALDOSTA – Two new exhibitions opened Monday at the Annette Howell Turner Arts Center, featuring a newcomer to the arts center and a well-established artist at the center and in venues across the country.

Wedding and masterpieces

Harry Ally came home.

The 50-year-old art veteran revealed “Harry and Suzanne Ally, the Artist and the Muse” during a reception at the Turner Center.

Ally has 40 pieces in the show while his wife, Suzanne, whom he affectionately called “Suzy”, has six small pieces.

Their work is exhibited in the Sallie and Harmon Boyette gallery at the arts center.

Ally called the collection her “personal diary,” giving viewers a glimpse into who he is as a person.

He currently lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico with his wife, but visited the Turner Center on Monday for opening night.

Ally is a retired professor at Valdosta State University, where he taught for 27 years.

He is now a professor emeritus at VSU, according to the Turner Center.

He participated in Turner’s DrawProject. He said he was also featured in the centre’s Spring Into Art exhibit.

For him, the show’s opening Monday night felt “good; it’s like coming home, ”he said.

Ally graduated from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He graduated from the University of North Texas with an MA in Fine Arts.

His work has been featured in a number of national and international exhibitions and he has stated that he has received a few awards in jury exhibitions.

His career began in oil painting before venturing into tar, red Georgia clay, fabrics, sticks, stones, acrylics, and textured paint.

“Recently, drawing has become very important, especially charcoal,” Ally said. “I love everything about charcoal: the rich, deep blacks, the gradations, the way it smears, how it can be erased (and) manipulated. … This is amazing stuff and it is so forgiving.

He finds inspiration in his wife, Suzanne. He said she influences his art.

“She’s not only my muse, but she’s been the mad scientist behind the scene. She experiments with materials and develops new techniques in painting, which I have adopted in my work. I would probably still be painting just in oils without it, ”Ally said.

“My entire doctoral thesis exhibit was based on images of her. Suzanne also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from TCU and was awarded the prestigious Nordan Fine Arts Fellowship in Painting as an undergraduate student.

The couple are opposed in their art; Ally painting as a “compulsion” with “blinders on” and his wife mixing art and life as she is a “Renaissance woman,” Ally said.

Other impacts are sculptors Stephen De Staebler and Manuel Neri.

He likes the classical Greek and Roman sculptures with missing limbs and the whiteness of the original surface, as well as the small prehistoric sculpture of Venus of Willendorf.

Ally’s favorite contemporary artist is Anselm Kiefer.

In the past he has been represented by Lowe Gallery in Atlanta and Santa Monica, Soren Christensen in New Orleans, Stricoff Fine Arts in New York, and Craighead Green Gallery in Dallas.

The Mason Fine Art Gallery in Atlanta currently represents Ally.

New guy in town

The name of the exhibit, “If the River Were Fire,” suits clay artist Trevor Dunn, who owns 42 pieces scattered throughout the Arts Centre’s Josette Gallery.

“The name of the exhibition comes from the process of firing the work with wood,” he said. “The flow of the flame and the deposit of ash contribute to the development of surfaces. A visual sense of history is recorded on the pieces and tells a story of (their) placement in the kiln.

Dunn is a newbie at the Turner Center and said he’s thrilled to have a solo show at the center.

“Having the opportunity to show a larger collection of works helps clients better understand the aesthetics of the pieces and deepens the concepts behind the work,” he said.

As viewers stroll through the Josette Gallery, Dunn hopes they embrace the exhibit’s message of slowing down and connecting with others.

He believes that people are constantly distracted and easily lose sight of the most important aspects of life.

“High profile experiments on electronic devices continue to compete for our time and attention,” he said. “I like modern technology, but it’s increasingly difficult not to get too drawn into high-profile experiences. I regularly strive to find time to have real and meaningful experiences with my family and friends.

Inspiration for the artwork varies, testifying to Dunn’s fascination with the concept of exponential growth and the pandemic and his love for surfing, skateboarding, mountain biking and hiking in southern Utah .

One of his plays, “Zero Alone is Nothing” focuses on “conspicuous consumption of anything that keeps us from staying on track with our life goals.”

Dunn said he was a person easily captivated by material objects that do not fill life, such as surfboards and skateboards.

Building a skateboard in a college social studies class introduced Dunn to the art.

He graduated from the University of South Florida and received an MFA from Utah State University.

“Completing the surfboard helped me overcome fears of making art and gave me the confidence to pursue my interest in art,” said Dunn. “I quickly discovered my love of ceramics at Center Studios at the University of South Florida.”

As a graduate student, he studied ceramics in Jingdezhen, China.

Dunn uses ceramics to explore ceremonial objects, sculptural forms, utility pots and large vessels.

American artists Richard Serra and Bruce Nauman are his influences.

Dunn taught ceramics and sculpture at San Juan College from 1999 to 2006, according to a statement from the Turner Center.

He has led wood firing, salt / soda baking and oven-building workshops across the country and has lectured internationally, the statement said.

In 2009, he received the Graduate Student Fellowship from the National Ceramic Arts Education Council for “a proposal for a study and film project in Jianxi, China,” the statement said.

Dunn now works as an assistant professor of ceramics at the University of North Florida, the statement said.

The Ally and Dunn Exhibitions will be open to the public until Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at the Arts Center, 527 N. Patterson St.

Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday.

Visit turnercenter.org, or call (229) 247-2787, for more information.

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