A garden of delight

Peg Hoover’s vibrant photographs are currently on display at the Anna Bier Gallery located within Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall in Greenville. I recently spent a delightful part of my Sunday afternoon surrounded by this garden of delight, and highly recommend that you brighten one of your days by taking in these beautiful pictures. The Gallery is now open on second and fourth Sundays from 12 noon to 4 p.m.; if Sundays don’t work for you feel free to contact Anna Bier Gallery Director CeCelia Rice at [email protected], and she will arrange a mutually agreeable time for your visit.

As you enter the Gallery to view Peggy Hoover’s work, the initial image that will catch your eye offers a jubilant jumble of color — an old orange VW hulk filled with yellow, white, and orange blossoms instinctively brings a smile to your lips as you luxuriate in the joyful image. But that’s only the beginning of the radiant pictures on display.

A completely different aura is evoked when viewing the more subtly colored image of a pink dahlia in a Ball jar; the warm tranquil delicately colored picture uniquely mounted in an old window frame inspires peace and calm in the viewer. A similar photo featuring a dramatically beautiful bouquet of dahlias artfully arranged in the same pink Ball jar is also pleasingly enhanced by its flower-embossed frame; both of these two-dimensional pieces offer a sense of dimension as well as a feeling of nostalgia induced by the simple elements included in the pictures.

In another appealing work, the striking purple-tinged edges of a lush dahlia blossom fill the canvas on which they are printed, the delicate petals delightfully unfurling seemingly to infinity. A similar blossom printed in black and white provides a stark contrast to the surrounding colorful works, its dizzying contours creating a mystical meditative response.

Peggy Hoover credits her love of flowers to her mother, who has always maintained beautiful flower beds. The artist now grows her own flowers, and although she doesn’t go out looking for subjects, is always on the lookout to discover something beautiful to capture in her photographs. Born near Muncie, Indiana, Ms. Hoover lived and worked in Chicago for over fifty years, but has now returned to her home state to assist her mother, who resides in Winchester. A self-taught photographer, Peggy says that she feels great satisfaction in capturing some of nature’s most beautiful moments with her camera, finding each flower to be unique with its very own intricate, interesting details.

Her close-up of a delicate yellow rose captures that unique yet universal beauty, evoking a sense of painterly mastery, as does a dramatic photo of white flowers with water droplets glistening on the petals. Hearty sunflowers also provide striking images throughout the Gallery exhibit, including a majestically framed close-up of a cheerful blossom as well as a soldierly row of the playful flowers framed in a white cabinet door, both pictures easily inspiring happiness when viewed.

Two prints framed by a double window feature a cornucopia of delights, magically transporting the viewer to the gardens pictured. In another uniquely framed scene, a garden door stands ajar, offering an enticing peek at the wonders awaiting beyond. Additionally, a photo of a charming garden house adorned by flowers blooming in pots beside the inviting door somehow attains a spiritual quality, invoking a calm, serene response.

An ethereal close-up of an elegant pink-tinged calla lily calls to mind paintings by the Old Masters, while the portrait of a bright red zinnia easily conjures happy thoughts of current summer days. A nostalgic yet contemporary picture of exuberant pink and yellow flowers blossoming atop the seat of a white chair under a banner proclaiming “Live Life in Full Bloom” eloquently expresses a fitting theme for this exhibit which somehow stimulates all the senses with its life-like evocations of the beauty found in nature.

These ethereal yet realistic photographs by Peggy Hoover will remain on display at the Anna Bier Gallery through Sept. 23; experience their joy and beauty before they move on. Peggy’s work is also available at the Art Hub in Union City.