PRESTONSBURG — Thursday night, the Mountain Arts Center hosted a reception local artist Donna Williams, whose work is currently being exhibited at the center.
The exhibit, entitled “Parsing the Lunacy,” showcased many of Williams’ works, including her colorful modernist paintings and her unique “found object” sculptures, which she crafts from miscellaneous items.
The atmosphere of the reception was cheery and light, with a healthy mix of mystery, intrigue and wonder from the crowd.
“Part of what I like about her is that she takes ordinary objects and forces people to see them in a different light,” said Cari Moore, who attended the reception.
Other patrons had similar reactions, Trent Hylton, from Elkhorn City, noted, “Each piece tells its own story, because each piece has a truly unique story to tell.”
Many at the reception shared the opinion that the arts should be more visible in the region. As fellow artist Mark Chapman Chrane said, “The arts are going to be a vital part of our area’s renewal.”
Thomas Whitaker another attending artist, summed up the crowd’s enthusiasm for Williams’ work, saying, “She’s very exciting. She’s accomplished as much in a month as most of us do in a lifetime.”
Williams can trace the roots of her art to a single experience.
“I was over at a friend’s house watching TV and drinking wine, when we started making hearts and shapes out of old jewelry,” Williams recalled. “You could call that my moment of awakening, when I knew that I wanted to be an artist.”
When asked about her art, Williams had plenty to say.
“Art is like my therapy. You can say things with art that you couldn’t easily express through other means … It’s fascinating to watch someone look at or talk about a piece and not realize that what they are seeing can be a kind of symbolic reflection of themselves. They don’t always figure out that they are the Crow perched on the Branch, or the chain that binds the statue’s feet.”
Williams’ art has also been showcased at the Underground Gallery in Whitesburg, the Perry County Public Library, All Good Things, Appalshop and Lizzie B’s restaurant in Prestonsburg. In 2012, she was even invited to an international art gallery in Oslo, Norway.
Williams is also noted as the founder of the Kentucky Art Tribe, an organization of like-minded artists whose goal is to encourage the appreciation of art throughout the region. She also cohosts a radio show on WMMT 88.7 in Whitesburg, called Art Matters, which airs the third Wednesday of every month at 6 p.m.
You can see more of William’s work on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/donna.williams.art, or her blog at donnawilliamsart.blogspot.com.