WESTERLY — Art teachers from the Westerly public School department will show their work this month at an exhibit at The Westerly Library and Wilcox Park's Hoxie Gallery. The public is invited to the opening night reception on Aug. 7 at 5 p.m.

A total of eight artists; Westerly Middle School teachers Kelly Donohue and Jamie Verbinnen; Westerly High School teachers Christopher Kelley, Tara Asselin and John Tedeschi; Springbrook teacher Christine Lonergan; Dunn's Corner's teacher Meghan Riley, and Melissa Robson will exhibit their work. 

The pieces in Donohue's "July," series, all created in acrylic, "reflect her love of color and breezy summer days," said Tedeschi, the high school art department head, in an email. "All of the works were inspired by her personal summer experiences and travels. From a morning walk at the Cape to the enjoyment of a summer cocktail, Kelly’s work is a tribute to the lightness and bliss July days inspire." All of the works are created in acrylic.

Lonergan, an oil painter, creates representational paintings of landscapes, still life and figures. "Through her paintings, she creates artwork of places or people that are so beautiful that they make you slow down and take a second look," Tedeschi said. "Through painting, she tries to carefully craft God’s mastery of nature through light and color to create a sense of peace and serenity to the viewer. Her paintings are impressions of local scenery and from her travels that are inspired by the Masters, Impressionists and by Contemporary Artists."

Asselin, who teaches at Westerly High School, works in clay and is currently focused on the exploration of silhouette, she said. "After some time away from the pottery studio, I am rediscovering my love and passion for this medium and experimenting with different clay bodies and glazes. I’m inspired by nature and find myself channeling its beauty and force as I design my pottery forms."

Riley, said she has recently been interested in "laying down color on canvas and depicting reflective surfaces, dabbling in digital art-making, and throwing pottery at the South County Art Association’s open studio in the summer months."

"Her body of work in this show is exploratory," Tedeschi said. "This lends directly to her teaching – she teaches all media, and practices all media. Staying out of her comfort zone creates a space of a 'beginner mentality,' and pushes her to view every piece with fresh eyes, and an open mind."

Kelley said his work is "process-based and centers around accumulation."

"In the studio I give myself tasks and make time to explore mediums in order to create components that are assembled to make finished work," he said in am artist's statement.

"I enjoy working in many media and the process of learning new ones," said Robson in her artists' statement. "My pottery explores ergonomics and comfort, and all of my work is inspired by the beauty of the natural world and of the ordinary moments of life."

"I never know when a piece I’m working on is finished," said Verbinnen "Sometimes I just have to step away for a while. In most cases, that is when it’s instinctively done, but I’m always a little insecure to call it finished. Many of my paintings are not signed because I always think there’s something else to add. My mother’s advice was to sign them on the back before I start painting to take the pressure off. I still laugh when I think of that great piece of advice."

— Nancy Burns-Fusaro

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