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Wednesday August 3, 2016

Drawn and painted on birch panels, many of which extend over 6 feet high, the work of nationally recognized artist Joni Pienkowski redefines traditional artistic genres while encouraging viewers to explore new ways to look at art.

Three collections of the Blacksburg, Va.-based artist’s work, Abstracts on Birch and Paper, The Paint Saints and The Many Looks of Self-Portraits, will open at Piedmont Arts on August 13.

“Joni’s work is diverse, bringing together figurative and non-figurative pieces with the use of color, line and texture,” said Director of Exhibitions Heidi Pinkston. “Her three collections work well together and offer multiple views of the artistic process. Many of her abstract pieces can be hung horizontally or vertically, allowing viewers to really push their perceptions of her work.”

Pienkowski says all manner of subject matter goes into her abstract pieces. “I’m after the interplay,” she said. “Even a sense of movement in the abstracts that reflect processes in life. Something is happening, slowly or quickly and either subtly or dramatically. I want color and shape to remind you of more than one thing. A bird flies by the window, you can’t see all of it. Clouds change constantly, texture is fleeting. Change is too rapid, yet we want to slow it down and examine the beauty, the surface.”

In The Paint Saints, Pienkowski pays homage to artists who have influenced her work.

“These are artists I choose to honor, but not emulate,” said Pienkowski. "They intrigue me. I may take lessons from them, but not follow. Miro, O’Keefe and Matisse are some favorites. I do take ideas from them, such as making the small much larger and employing calligraphies and shapes very freely.”

When painting The Many Looks of Self-Portraits, Pienkowski says a face on a page was never enough. “I had to have goofy hats to make myself more interesting,” she said. "Perhaps borrow some bugs from my husband, the entomologist, or include some cows. It’s autobiography in bits and pieces; using paint, lithography, drawing, many media.”

Along with Pienkowski’s work, A World, In Pieces by Greg Arens will be on display in the Lynwood Artists Gallery. Arens lives simply in the woods below Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. The lush landscape of his home is where much of the inspiration for his work is derived. Most of his work is painted en plein air and he has traveled from Mexico to Macedonia in search of motifs. His work has been exhibited in at least ten states, as well as in Sweden and Macedonia. He has won numerous awards in local art exhibits, including Lynwood Artists’ and Piedmont Arts’ annual exhibit, Expressions.

Joni Pienkowski and A World, In Pieces will be on display August 13 – October 29, 2016 at Piedmont Arts, located at 215 Starling Ave., Martinsville. Piedmont Arts exhibits are always admission free. Museum hours are Tuesday – Friday: 10 am – 5 pm and Saturday: 10 am – 3 pm. For more information, visit PiedmontArts.org.


Related Events:

Members-Only Reception
Friday, August 12 • 5:30 – 7:30 pm • Piedmont Arts

Piedmont Arts will host a Members-Only Reception in honor of the exhibits, Joni Pienkowski and A World, In Pieces by Greg Arens. Piedmont Arts members, prospective members, artists and guests are invited to attend. Complimentary drinks and light refreshments will be served. This reception is sponsored by Susan and Charles Aaron, Jerri and Joe DeVault, Chris and Jim O’Brien, Barbara and Guy Stanley, Ellen L. Wood, Lynwood Artists and Piedmont Arts. Please RSVP attendance by calling 276.632.3221 or online at PiedmontArts.org.

Art @ Happy Hour
Friday, September 30 • 5 – 7 pm • Piedmont Arts

Director of Exhibitions Heidi Pinkston will discuss the exhibit, Joni Pienkowski. Guests are invited to view the museum’s exhibits in a casual, fun setting. Complimentary refreshments will be served. Admission is free.


Tags: Art, Artisan Trails, Piedmont Arts