Stray Art discovers new home

Published 10:24 am Thursday, January 7, 2010

“I had toy trains as a child,” said artist John Shadrick, pointing to his photograph of rails running under an arched bridge.

Another depicts a railway disappearing into a fog bank.

“I like the lines, sweeping curves of rails fading into a vanishing point,” he said.

A train car door was featured in yet another photo.

Jazz spilled from somewhere, enveloping fine art of varied media.

On one wall hung Shadrick’s railroad photos, and his close up of dry corn stalks –– rife with texture so real they almost rustled –– and a photo of a decaying wagon wheel.

Although best known as a photographer, Shadrick’s work includes pen and ink, graphite and acrylic.

“I’ve been taking photos for years, and winning awards,” he said.

In 2009 his pieces placed first in three local shows, plus a Merit Award with the Auburn Arts Association.

Shadrick’s art can be found mingling with others at a new gallery, Stray Art Salon, on Highway 280 at Lee Branch.

“You’ve heard of stray cats?” Shadrick laughed. “We’re a group of stray artists.” The gallery includes nine, now investors, who rotate in opening the Salon.

Sculptor Arthur Umlauf arrived for his shift. Umlauf, originally from Austin, Texas, followed a circuitous route in is career.

“I was a carpenter, cabinet maker,” he said. “I’m from a family of artists. You may have heard of the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum in Austin. Charles Umlauf is my father. My brother Karl is artist-in-residence at Baylor University, Waco, Texas. My twin sisters are artists in New York.”

One large Umlauf sculpture, “The Ascension,” hangs in Riverchase United Methodist Church. Twelve pieces, called “Touching Someone,” were commissioned and donated to Hoover Schools. In those pieces two bronze hands make contact.

“My art is representative, that is to say, the figures and shapes have intentional meaning. Touching others through art is my goal,” he said.

Umlauf uses a variety of media, including wood and marble, and was voted 2008 Alabama Finest by Gadsden Museum.

He is represented by several galleries: Bryant in New Orleans, Seen Gallery in Atlanta, and other regional and local venues.

See for more information.

Stray Art Salon plans for an event Jan. 24, 1-5pm, featuring artists Hank Siegel and Beverly Owen.

Call 991-5151 or visit the Salon, meet an artist, and take home an inspiring treasure.

Gladys Hodge Sherrer can be reached by e–mail at