‘Must See’ exhibits

(L-R) Artist Paul Cordes Wilm, Gallery Coordinator Sandy Swindall and artist Jesse Cunningham at Parnell Memorial Library Gallery. (Special/Catherine Legg)

By CATHERINE LEGG / Community Columnist

The current exhibits at Parnell Memorial Library Gallery are fascinating works by two exceptional artists; a must see for those who appreciate a variety of art styles and mediums.

The exhibits will remain at the gallery until Friday, March 11.

The featured artists are Jeffrey “Jesse” Cunningham and Paul Cordes Wilm. Both are University of Montevallo graduates who credit Professors Ted Metz and Scott Stephens for their inspiration and guidance.

“I found these artists to be refreshing and unique,” said Gallery Coordinator Sandy Swindall, “both humble and genuine artists who are willing to share their story and encourage others in their own artistic endeavors. They are simply who they are; talented artists who continue their own journey of art exploration and ideas.”

Cunningham was born in California, but has spent much of his life in Alabama and is now teaching visual arts at Meadowview Elementary School. His primary interest is clay and sculpture using various firing techniques; sawdust and other low firing techniques. His work ranges from small vases to large sculptured heads. Swindall expressed that viewers want to touch each piece, to feel the form of it, to understand how it was made and to savor its beauty.

Alabama native Wilm is a multi-talented artist who writes poetry, plays in a band and paints.

“His work incorporates bright and bold hues and is a mix of folk and pop art which is often ‘quirky and playful,’ but invites the viewer to a deeper truth underlying it all,” said Swindall.

“The concepts of greed, capitalism, politics and censorship are often themes of his work.” He frequently uses recycled material, sometimes painting on household objects such as tables and doors.

A reception and gallery talk was held for the artists on January 30. The Montevallo Arts Council sponsors the gallery and these events. The gallery is open during regular library hours: MWF: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tues. and Thurs.: 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sat.: 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Upcoming gallery events include works by Selma artist Charlie Lucas, sometimes called “the Tin Man,” and later in the year: Cissy Orr Hulett, an oil painter fromMontgomery, and Donna Chieves, a watercolor artist from Hoover.

Readers are reminded the Fifth Annual Montevallo Arts Fest will be April 7-10. One of the main events will be the Montevallo Art Show in Orr Park on that Saturday, featuring dozens of artists selling their work and musical groups performing on the Square Stage. The other event during the Fest will be performances of the Montevallo Main Street Players’ production of the musical “Always.”

Catherine Legg can be reached at clegg2@bellsouth.net.