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Nature is the inspiration for the FRANK Gallery's new exhibit


The works of artists Shelly Hehenberger, RJ Dobs and Luna Lee Ray were featured at the FRANK Gallery for its January and February exhibit from Jan. 7 to March. 7, 2020. 

The current exhibit at the FRANK Gallery doesn't technically have a theme. But the two featured artists, Shelly Hehenberger and Luna Lee Ray, share a common inspiration: nature. 

FRANK Gallery’s January/February Exhibit is open now through March 7. The gallery, located at University Place, will host an opening reception on Jan. 10 at 6 p.m.

The exhibit features work by mixed media artists Hehenberger and Ray, as well as sculptures by guest artist RJ Dobs.

Ray said she is especially interested in how things change in nature.

“For me, I would have to say it's watching the processes that happen in nature — the way that things grow and form and transform, and the way that weather interacts with plants or things from the earth, that whole dynamic,” Ray said.

Hehenberger said her work doesn’t directly portray nature but is rather an abstract look at nature itself. 

“It's more of a distillation of the experience of nature, as opposed to an actual portrait of something in nature,” Hehenberger said.

The exhibit also features work in a new medium for Hehenberger. While she typically works with cold wax and oil on wood, which can be seen in the exhibit, she is also displaying some of her new work on cotton paper.

“Whenever I have a new medium, I explore it to its maximum,” Hehenberger said. “I just do as many different things with the medium as I can think of, trying a lot of different things, finding different ways, drawing in different ways on it. The end result is that there's a wide range of stuff going on. It's all very organic looking.”

Ray and Hehenberger selected Dobs as this show’s guest artist after seeing his work at a show in Pittsboro, thinking that his work would fit well with theirs.

Gallery manager Natalie Knox said including Dobs’ work, and the work of guest artists in general, is especially important for FRANK’s mission of supporting local artists.

“We want to be a place that's inclusive, so we like to show the work of guest artists, so it's not just member artists and we're being a little bit more diverse,” Knox said.

In addition to the opening reception on Jan. 10, FRANK Gallery will also be hosting an artist talk on Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. Knox said these artist talks are an important part of their mission to bring local art to the public.

“You'll be able to hear from RJ and Shelly and Luna, straight from the artists' mouths about what inspired them, how they worked on their pieces,” Knox said. “In that way, we're always trying to broaden our art community and expose our artists.”

Ray said the gallery plays an important role in her life and that she finds it important to have a place where local artists get a chance to show off their work.

“It's a gift as an artist to be a part of a gallery, especially a very high-quality gallery, that's in your town that you feel really good about because it gives you a place to put your work,” Ray said. “That other part of being an artist where it's seen by the public and people interact with it is really important.”


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