Monday, April 22, 2024

Wilma Daniels hosts first in-person exhibit with retrospective of No Boundaries International Art Colony

Leon Patchett’s “Untitled” was created in 2010 at No Boundaries International Art Colony. (Port City Daily/Courtesy Leon Pratchett)

WILMINGTON, NC—Annually, No Boundaries International Art Colony takes place for two weeks in November on Bald Head Island and welcomes artists from around the world to the partake in unencumbered, undisturbed creativity.

With the quietude and serenity of the island serving as a backdrop for inspiration, the residency admits a dozen or so artists, from Ghana to Turkey, Austria to Cyprus, England to China, Holland to Wilmington. They’re housed in a few cabins on the island, enjoy catered meals from local chefs, and watch the fruits of their labor come full circle in the culmination of an art show featuring their new works.

Though the pandemic of 2020 halted the residency, No Boundaries’ board of directors decided to host a retrospective of work in CFCC’s Wilma Daniels Gallery downtown. On Friday night the gallery hosted its first in-person exhibit, allowing 10 viewers to walk through at a time and see art conceived through various years since No Boundaries was founded by Wilmington artists Pam Toll, Gayle Tustin and Dick Roberts in 1998.

“In past years, artists participating in the colony have given a piece of work created on the island to No Boundaries, in exchange for the experience of the art colony,” said Vicky Smith, president of the board. “We have pulled over 30 works of art from this collection, which include paintings and sculptures from France, Spain, Peru, Germany, Iceland, Scotland, Macedonia and more.”

Scottish artist Leon Patchett has two pieces on display in the retrospective exhibit. They’re made of found wood from Bald Head that Pratchett gathered and assembled abstractly near his cabin, where the sea met the horizon and the shore’s dunes provided an ethereal “studio.”

“It sounds like a holiday but it was no vacation,” Patchett wrote in an email from the Highlands of Scotland. Though worthwhile, he calls the experience intense, a sentiment he says is equally shared among artists who attend and push themselves to produce at their optimum.

Patchett’s ridged, wooden sculptures are cryptic and elusive.

“The connection between the finished sculpture and the landscape is made self-evident when we see them sit comfortably together,” he explained of his piece, as it initially sat among Bald Head’s dunes (see picture above).

However, taking his work out of nature creates an entirely different experience for the viewer, he added. “[I]n the gallery setting, they inspire the viewer to make their own narrative of how they came to be.”

Patchett created “Pushing the Line” in 2009 and “Untitled” in 2010 at No Boundaries. The former was influenced by another artist-in-residence, Wayne McDowell, well-known for his still-life and isolated landscapes. McDowell passed away in 2013.

“Its title was inspired by a conversation with Wayne when we were talking about how he approached his painting,” Pratchett remembered.

The camaraderie and conversations at the colony are as heavily influential to the artists as is the free time they’re given to hunker down and forge ahead. According to the No Boundaries mission, it centers on “sharing, connections, dreaming and action.”

“It was a wonderful experience,” Patchett said. “No Boundaries and Bald Head Island are a special combination. Inspiring place, inspiring people.  I look back and remember what an amazing atmosphere it was to work in. It’s difficult to describe, but a very creative time. . . .  I will hope to return someday.”

No Boundaries International Art Colony Retrospective exhibit is on display through Dec. 18 at Wilma Daniels Gallery.

Leon Patchett’s wooden sculpture “Pushing the Line” welcomes visitors at the entrance to No Boundaries International Art Colony Retrospective Exhibit. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)
Leon Patchett’s wooden sculpture, “Untitled,” was created at the 2010 No Boundaries International Art Colony. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)
Only 10 people at a time were allowed into the No Boundaries Retrospective exhibit at Wilma Daniels on Friday evening — the first in-person exhibit hosted since the pandemic began. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)
David Zukerman talks to curators of the exhibit during a walk-through of No Boundaries Retrospective at Wilma Daniels Gallery. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)
Renee Zukerman looks at a piece by No Boundaries artist Rusudan Khizanishvili. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)
Viewers followed Covid-19 guidelines by wearing masks and meandering 6 feet apart through the Wilma Daniels Gallery to view its first in-person exhibit, No Boundaries Retrospective. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)
The late Wayne McDowell’s “Monoprint” was created in 2009 at No Boundaries International Art Colony. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)
No Boundaries president Vicky Smith speaks with one of No Boundaries International Art Colony’s founders, Pam Toll. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)
Harry Taylor, whose work is also featured in the exhibit, was creating tintype portraits at the opening of the exhibit on Friday night. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)
Only 10 people at a time were allowed into the No Boundaries Retrospective exhibit at Wilma Daniels on Friday evening — the first in-person exhibit hosted since the pandemic began. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)

Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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