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Three Hillsborough artists combine flesh and spirit in exhibit

Three local artists are exploring the truth behind the saying, “the human body is a work of art” in a Hillsborough exhibit open throughout November.

The Hillsborough Arts Council Gallery is showcasing three area artists who all focus on the beauty of the human body in an exhibition called “Flesh and Spirit,” which runs until Nov. 23. According to the artists, this juried show is meant to show the form in a variety of ways using different forms of art media.

The featured artists include Cynthia Aldrich, Linda Passman and Thomas Stevens, from Durham, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, respectively. They were chosen in 2012 based on work that they submitted for review per the Hillsborough Arts Council’s open call. By the summer of 2013, the artists were given the date of the show and met others involved.

Thomas Stevens, Hillsborough’s current mayor and a UNC alumnus, focuses on 2- and 3-D art — primarily oil paintings and sculptures of the human form.

“I think that the Arts Council is the one who pulled the three of us together. We had never met before, but they recognized that the figure work was pairing us to show well together,” Stevens said.

“I think all three of us are just very, very delighted at the way that the show came together, that our work complements each other very nicely.”

Passman contributed collages and mixed media art in addition to a figure paintings. Her works are based on photographs that she took of herself mixed with calligraphy of poems, writings, other photographs and paintings.

“I do rather expressionist work,” she said. “It’s very individual. I try to make a connection with the viewer and of course the viewer has to make a connection with the work, but there’s no right or wrong, there’s no answer, there’s no definitive way of being seen.”

Cynthia Aldrich, a ceramic artist, is showing a series of 12 dancers.

“What I wanted to accomplish was to make one dancer, which is absolutely pure white, and that is the inspiration for all of the rest of the pieces,” she said. “The rest of the subsequent pieces are a variation on the first piece, so it’s like a theme in variation.”

Her time as a dancer inspired her to capture the elegance of the human body in its various forms of motion.

“I just think it’s beautiful,” she said. “Everything about it. Bodies move, and there’s all different kinds of bodies, and different body types, and I think it’s all beautiful.”

Though originally strangers, the artists were united by their interest in the human form and their hope that others will gain a new perspective on the beauty of the body by seeing it from different viewpoints.

“It’s a very interesting exhibit,” Passman said. “I like being in the show with the other two people because it shows the figure in three so completely different ways that it’s a very exciting interface, I think.”

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