Arts Center puts pastels on display for members’ exhibition

Story by Tasha Biggers, Gainesville Times

The vibrant colors of pastel paintings will cover the walls of the Quinlan Visual Arts Center today at the opening reception for the Southeastern Pastel Society 2011 Juried Members’ Exhibition.

Ronald Pircio of Lawrenceville, the SPS Exhibition Chairman, helped hang the works for the show, which will be on display through Oct. 8.

“Our purpose is to promote pastel painting as a medium in the Southeast,” said Pircio, who is a pastel artist himself.

One hundred paintings are on display for the exhibit, selected from 257 works submitted by 97 artists in nine states.

“This year it’s our member show, so all the members (are invited) to submit three paintings, and then next year, we’ll have our international show,” he said.

The SPS, established in 1988, has more than 250 members from across the country and several international members.

Pircio said he prefers pastels because they are a versatile medium.

“You look at some pastel paintings and you think it’s a photograph, and some are really loose,” he said.

“It depends on how the artist wants to use the medium.”

Another advantage of using pastels is “you don’t have to worry about it drying,” he said.

“They’ve got paintings in the Louvre that are pastels,” he said, adding that the Old Masters sometimes used the medium.

“It’ll last and last and last. The colors aren’t going to fade. They’re not going to change.”

Because pastel works never completely dry, each painting in the exhibition will be covered with glass or Plexiglas.

“You can take your finger and destroy a painting,” he said, adding that, unlike oils, pastel pieces aren’t susceptible to cracking over time.

Pircio said the SPS presents a $500 scholarship at each member exhibition.

Amanda McClure, the Quinlan’s executive director, chose to split the scholarship between five students for the center’s summer camp, “Pop Art” Art Camp 2011.

About $4,000 in awards also will be presented to SPS members at the reception.

For more information on this and other events, visit the Quinlan Visual Arts Center online.

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