The Thomaston-Upson Arts Gallery is displaying the bas relief oil paintings of Mari K. Blue at the gallery from Feb. 10 through March 12.
"Blue's three dimensional artwork literally leaps forward into the heart and mind of the viewer" says TUAC's Visual Arts Chair Phyllis Franklin.
Blue is a native Georgian who grew up in the big city atmosphere of Cleveland, Ohio. She returned to Georgia some 30 years ago and tells everyone that she does not miss the harsh northern winters. She has been painting all of her life and professionally for the last seven years, winning many awards at the Georgia National Fair in Perry as well as other shows throughout the state. Her distinctive highly detailed and colorful style reveals a sense of joy for life and gift for story telling.
"I paint what I know," she says. Her art focuses on her family's rural roots but is flavored with a touch of city life.
Blue describes her work as true multimedia productions because she uses a variety of techniques and materials. Each 3-D piece takes about three or four weeks to complete. Her technique involves plaster, paper, and other dimensional materials to form the base of the painting. Then she uses a series of oil glazes to create one of a kind works that excite and fool the eye. The viewer is compelled to make tactile contact with the surface of the painting while they take it all in visually.
To begin her work, Blue draws stick figures on paper. She builds the plaster around the shapes, carving and molding them until the three dimensional form is complete. Once the plaster shape is dry, she begins to add other found, created, and manipulated material until she is happy with the end result.
Before painting full time, Blue worked for 20 years as a reading instructor at Fort Valley State College. She has two sons, Antoine and Teron Williams. Her husband Isaac Blue commutes to his teaching job in Griffin and also lends his support to Mari with framing, transport and displaying her art works. She currently lives and works in Milner, Georgia and can be contacted via email at email@example.com.
A "meet the artist" reception will be held Feb. 29, from 2-4 at the TUAC gallery located on the historic Thomaston Square.