New Waterworks exhibit tells similar stories in various styles

Published 12:05 am Friday, June 14, 2024

SALISBURY — From now until Sept. 4, Waterworks Visual Arts Center will be showcasing the creativity and technique of three distinct artists. 

The exhibit, “Journey Within: Present in the Moment” has artists Lewellen Daniel Padgett, Malu Tan and John Beheler display their own unique voices and inner thoughts 

“It was just kind of serendipitous with how this came together. I love having the color and the texture and the patterns for our summer show. Collectively, they really all speak to the same type of thing, but in a very, very different way,” Waterworks Executive Director Anne Scott Clement said.

Padgett’s art pieces are entitled, “Peace Begins With Me.” Patrons walk in the room and are confronted with a list of trigger words like “pro-choice,” “tax churches,” “war on men,” and “socialism.” Lined on the walls are shadow boxes Padgett, a local artist, hand made that are beautifully intricate that lets whoever is looking at them decide their purpose.

“You can take away whatever you want to from the box. There’s no hidden meaning, there’s no specific meaning that the artist wants you to see. It’s a peaceful journey you enjoy as you go through,” Clement said.

The last shadow box has a mirror in it so the person looking at it is confronted with themselves. The last portion of the installation is a bowl of prayer scrolls that someone can take with them as they leave. 

Tan, a Charlotte artist, has her installation called “When I Think of Home.” Tan’s art in her own words is about, “an attempt to find myself and capture the essence of a place.” She has live Yoshino cherry trees hanging from the ceiling that brings a lively experience to those who walk by them reminiscent of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. 

Tan also has layered, acrylic paintings that bring with them a modern sensibility.

“These pieces are really extraordinary. I love the color of them, the pieces are very calming,” Clement said.

Beheler’s “Spirit of the Plains” marries his Native American heritage with his unlimited imagination. A member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, Beheler has his mesmerizing paintings alongside authentic Native American artifacts like his great grandfather’s headdress. It truly feels like going back in time centuries ago. 

On June 7, Waterworks hosted a welcome reception where all three artists came to socialize and meet with the public. Clement confirmed at a later time that the artists will return to Waterworks and give separate gallery talks discussing their craft. 

While there is constant galleries going on at Waterworks, Clement is still capable of distinguishing how each one stands out. 

“I think it’s the diversity of the artist and bringing in different cultures all together at one time, but we’re all as one. It’s fun to explore different people’s beliefs and understand their culture a little bit better,” Clement said.