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Red Brick Gallery’s Nature-Inspired 2024 Season & Opening Exhibit

Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts proudly announces the Red Brick Gallery’s 2024 season, opening with an exhibit inspired by the beauty of western Pennsylvania, featuring wood artisan, Mark DeWalt, and landscape painter, Jason Floyd Lewis. The exhibit runs weekends from Friday, April 19 to Sunday, May 26. The RBG is located a 17 Main Street in Foxburg, PA 16036, with weekend hours Fridays, 1-6 PM; Saturdays, 11 AM to 7 PM; and Sundays, 12 noon to 5 PM.

Responding to the natural landscape of western Pennsylvania, Jason Floyd Lewis’ paintings and drawings of places near his home are complemented by fourth-generation woodworker Mark DeWalt’s crafting of found wood from local forests. While Mark enjoys “blending materials from diverse origins to create something new”, Jason is interested in “the various effects of light, air, and humidity that can transform the mood of the landscape.”

The public is invited to enjoy two special exhibit events. In celebration of Earth Day, a co-sponsored nature-inspired Poetry Reading and Writing workshop will take place on Sunday, April 21. Poets of the Wild will read nature poetry in the RBG Upstairs Gallery from 3:30 to 5 PM, following a free poetry writing workshop in the Foxburg Free Library from 2 to 3 PM. No admission for the reading or workshop. For more information or to register: (724) 659-3431.

The exhibit’s opening wine and cheese reception catered by Don Ras III and The Crow’s Cupboard will be on Sunday, May 5, from 4 to 6 PM, following the Lincoln Hall concert of world-renowned theatre organist, Dave Wickerham: Wurlitzer Wonders and Improvisations.

Wood artisan Mark DeWalt will be exhibiting fine furniture, turnings, and sculptural pieces featuring woods of exceptional grain and or character. He said, “Always living in a rural setting, my fascination with trees has grown deeper with every year. In our local forests, we have some venerable old-growth trees surrounded by an amazing variety of species of different ages in the understory.

When wood is harvested the story of the tree is often revealed by studying the grain. Whether I’m working with a giant slab from a hundred-year-old tree, a limb, a burl, or milled lumber, I try to let the story of the tree show through the finished work. Each piece is inspired by the lumber being used. My design goals are to honor the tree as well as the traditions and proportions of fine woodworking, hopefully revealing what I see to others.” In addition to physical works, Mark is known as a jazz keyboard artist performing frequently in the area and Lincoln Hall.

RBG Artistic Director Jason Floyd Lewis was introduced to drawing and inspired to pursue art by his teacher at Clarion Area High School. After receiving the BFA in Fine Art from the Columbus College of Art and Design, he attained an MFA in Drawing at Bowling Green State University. Lewis describes his works in the exhibit. “My artwork represents the landscape as I have observed it… real places, many of them near my home in western PA… that are in some way memorable, such as rivers, roads, trails, or other significant landmarks.

I am interested in the way human activities coexist and intermingle with the natural landscape in rural areas. In my recent work, I have focused on forest interior spaces, exploring the more rugged terrain of wooded areas. My goal is to represent the landscape in a naturalistic way. My goal is to orchestrate works of art that not only emulate the beauty of the landscape but also operate as an expression of my personal response to it.”

Commenting on the overarching themes of the RBG’s 2024 exhibits he assembled, Jason Lewis said, “The natural beauty abundant in our region is the greatest source of inspiration behind the creativity of our guest artists.  Whether through the careful crafting of natural materials, or the representation of natural splendors, nature is a common thread.” 

He emphasized, however, that “the members of the Red Brick Artists’ Cooperative, whose work is exhibited all season long, are the backbone of our gallery’s presence. The membership continues to evolve, and we are fortunate to bring in new talent each season. This year, Ann Harting will be sharing her unique ceramics and fiber arts inspired by organic forms. Our new potter, Chris Bauer, is accomplished in producing functional ceramics. His work is wood fired, which leads to beautiful, sometimes surprising outcomes from the kiln. I believe this will be the first body of reduction fired ceramic work that we have had in the gallery. 

As always, our special exhibit schedule is designed to showcase the work of RBG members while bringing in some of the region’s finest artists as guests at the gallery.  Member Karin Arnds is working with her colleagues at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts to create a group exhibit of weavings to open in October. Our largest collaboration, opening with a poetry reading on Sunday, June 2 from 4 to 6 PM, will feature the work of 15 visual artists paired with 15 writers who are composing poems in response to the artwork. This group of artists and poets from throughout Western Pennsylvania was selected with assistance from Barbara Pierce of Arts Oil City and by the Bridge Literary Arts Center. 

Collaboration, connecting artists with one another, and with a greater audience, is one of the most exciting things about what is happening at the Red Brick Gallery.”

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