When Anna Bier Gallery Director Marcia Weidner recently learned that she needed to produce an exhibit to be displayed coinciding with Darke County Center for the Arts’ presentation of The Texas Tenors, she was temporarily at a loss.
Who could she possibly persuade to produce a show at such short notice? But she quickly came up with a happy resolution to her dilemma, as she is intimately acquainted with an artist who had readily available a body of work containing many award-winning pieces. And voila! The lovely, joyous, and diverse paintings of local artist Marcia Weidner are currently on display in the Anna Bier Gallery, located within Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall.
The gallery walls are adorned with inviting landscapes, revealing portraits, and stunning still lifes reflecting the inherent skill and profound growth of an artist who, even as a busy young mother with multiple demands on her time, always felt the need to paint. One of the works on display, a delicate depiction of a lacy hammock hanging in front of a sturdy stone pillar, is among her first efforts; she says that she included “Cape Cod Hammock,” to demonstrate how she has developed as an artist who happily pursues the goal of “perfecting her talent” as she continues to expand her artistic horizons.
Marcia, a Darke County native who grew up on a farm near Ansonia, values family relationships, a trait that is easily gleaned when gazing at the portraits on display. Her warm and appealing rendering of “Max Sink” is precious to the artist as this picture helps keep her father alive for her. “Karl With Guitar” shows the artist’s husband performing for a friend’s wedding; his wife of 34 years says that she “liked the intensity in Karl’s face,” and skillfully created a memorable likeness of her handsome mate. The couple’s oldest daughter Natalie, a former Greenville Country Club lifeguard, is beautifully depicted wearing an aquamarine head wrap and sunglasses in which the cool water of a swimming pool is reflected.
“Portraits have to look like their subject,” Marcia stated. “And that’s hard.”
She also finds still lifes challenging, although it’s a challenge that she enjoys.
“Tears” depicts onions so realistically that one instantly empathizes with the title. The artist faithfully reproduces a broad variety of differing qualities in “Textures,” which features a copper pitcher, a leather-bound book, an onion with diaphanous papery-thin peel, and a flower pot of solid, rough stone.
“Three Pears,” another of Marcia’s early works, is also an indication of the intrinsic integrity of her artistic vision. Burnished golden fruit arrayed on a white cloth attracts one’s eye from across the room, and when seen up close fulfills the worthiness of that attraction. Exquisitely formed and shaded eggshell halves elegantly sitting on a window sill evoke an earthy homey feel that is enhanced by the story behind the piece. When Marcia observed broken shells arrayed at the home of an artist friend, she was told that those fragile vessels held seeds ready for planting, a gardening trick handed down by the friend’s mother.
Familiar local beauty is lovingly illustrated in “Family Pond” and “Stillwater Riverbank,” two scenes from her childhood home, one an inviting summer view, the other a snow-covered winter landscape. “Garden Gate” realistically shows a picturesque site in Kennebunkport, Massachusetts, sprightly flowers blooming in front of a white fence as light and shadow play across the canvas. “Richmond River Bank” impressionistically reproduces flowers and trees and flowing water. Marcia says that she’s still working to discover her own personal style, but to this viewer’s eye, her struggle produces astoundingly beautiful results without regard to the technique used.
All of this and much more will be on view at the Anna Bier Gallery during DCCA’s Artists Series concert by The Texas Tenors, and will remain on display through April 23; the Gallery is open Saturdays from 11 a.m. till 3 p.m. Explore and enjoy this amazingly lovely show; you will undoubtedly discover that the Gallery Director chose wisely and well when selecting the artist for the current exhibit.