The Eastern Arts Society, a student organization, will present new work by student and staff artists at the third annual Eastern Art Show, Friday, April 25, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm in the Resource Center on the Moorefield campus of Eastern WV Community and Technical College. As is tradition, the show will also feature the release of the Society’s annual edition of Eagles Nest, its literary and photography magazine.
Ryan Zirk, Chris Windley, Jilian Taylor, Dreama Kelly and Charles Terrell, among others, will show art this year. The ‘Next Exit’ band will perform, and Hank’s Smokehouse Southern will cater pork BBQ sandwiches, coleslaw, mac and cheese, green beans, chocolate cake and soft drinks.
Curtis Hakala, faulty advisor to the Arts Society, who is shepherding the show’s production, pointed to Eastern students Zirk and Windley as the main show organizers. “Chris worked on editing and formatting the Eagles Nest, which was a pretty difficult task. And Ryan put together some of the show’s artwork.”
Bottletop Van Gogh Portrait
As a special attraction, the 2014 Show will display an 8 by 16 foot, multi-colored mural of a replicated Vincent Van Gogh self-portrait. Constructed by Martinsburg artist David Heatwole in 2009, and newly restored this spring by the Eastern Arts Society, the mural consists of hundreds of plastic bottle caps and lids, glued originally to four pieces of particle board.
“A viewer standing close to the mural will probably see only a cluttered heap of scrapped bottle tops,” said Hakala, who also worked on the restoration.
“But as you move farther away, the eye begins to give form to the arrangement of colors as recognizable shapes, and Van Gogh’s face, puffing on his pipe, sharply appears in a beautiful, pointillist portrait,” he explained. In this kind of picture, hundreds of small, colored dots, patterned in carefully designed clusters, give rise to the image.
Damaged & Rescued
Created as part of "Put A Lid On It," a four-state, multi-work project that sought to recycle garbage as art, the mural came to life through Heatwole’s vision and artistry, assisted by a dozen young children as helpers over a two-week period. Once completed, it hung for 30 weeks outside Martinsburg’s Redbrick gallery.
By Thanksgiving of 2011, the weather had so faded the bottletops and warped the undergirding boards that Heatwole decided to dismantle the mural and haul it to the landfill. But Paul Yandura, a collector who admired the artwork, and co-owner of the Lost River Trading Post, rescued the mural and stored it in his barn.
There it lay, damaged and decaying for two years, until an idea hatched between Yandura and Terrell, Eastern’s president: the students’ Arts Society might wish to adopt it as a restoration project.
Polished & Remounted
Ryan Zirk, Chris Windley and Amanda Thompson notably contributed time and effort to the restoration work, Hakala said, “and several other students pitched in the work” as well.
“We remounted the four old panels on new pieces of plexiglass, and reglued bottle caps onto the mural using silicone glue,” he explained. “Also, we polished all the bottle caps with tire cleaner, and replaced many broken ones.”
Eastern staffers Terry Wimer, Scott LeCrone and Paul Harman, along with Ward Malcolm, Dean of career, technical and workforce education, and President Terrell, “were all very instrumental in mounting the mural on Eastern's wall,” Hakala noted, a feat accomplished with the assistance of rented scaffolding.
Above, five men work on the two-tier scaffolding, affixing the mural to a high wall in Eastern's Resource Center.
Below, Terry Wimer puts the finishing touches on the wall-mounted mural.