‘Out of the Box’ featured at Sunset River Marketplace Nov. 2 – Dec. 3; reception Nov. 5, 2 – 5 p.m.

Sunset River Marketplace art gallery in Calabash will feature works by the Art Matters painting group in an eclectic exhibition titled Out of the Box from Wednesday, Nov. 2 through Saturday, Dec. 3. A reception, which is open to the public at no charge, will be held Saturday, Nov. 5 from 2 to 5 p.m.

The group began in 2006 as a pastel class, which was taught by noted SC artist Jane Staszak. The lively and talented group dubbed themselves the Pastel Sisters and had their first group show at Sunset River Marketplace in 2010. Since then the class has evolved into an open studio where they often explore media other than pastel. In 2012, they changed their name to Art Matters in order to cover a broader range of style and work.

Participating in Out of the Box will be Jane Staszak, Nancy Guiry, Joanne Bendy, Linda Young, Susan Nern, Beryl Kirkpatrick, Tina Lepsig and Sue Ruopp.

This lively circle of artists collectively decided to reach and explore new media, techniques and experiences, culminating in an exhibition full of surprises and talent.

Nancy Guiry says, “We decided to shed the sadness that life sometimes brings and get our happy child-like selves back. We blew bubbles laced with paint, flung paint from sticks and stretched our art to a whole new place.”

Staszak, who is best known for her lush landscapes and animal portraits in pastel, turned to mixed media collage. The artist laughs, “It’s a self portrait, Perilously Perched and I’m afraid of heights! I felt dizzy when I was working on it, like I was on the edge looking down.”

Joanne Bendy who has always been inspired by the natural landscape found herself exploring two contrasting watercolor techniques – pointillism and outline wood prints.

The group also explored working with alcohol inks on tile and glass, creating ornaments, abstracts, florals and landscapes. The fast-drying medium creates a vibrant marbled effect that the artist can treat as a background or the design itself. Susan Nern, has focused on scenes inspired by the changing season of the coastal marshes. “I want to share that vision, that beauty of Sunset Beach and the surrounding low country,” she says.

Linda Young is an award-winning artist originally from Brookline, MA. She typically works in oil and pastel, and is a signature member of Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod. She says, speaking about the alcohol inks,  “I imagined I could do something I had never done before, jumping in, fearless and excited to see what would happen. Who knew a whole new world would open up?”

Sue Ruopp, painting on wood for the Out of the Box show, says,  “A passion for learning and a never-give-up attitude have brought me to where I am today. My dad taught me that there is no such word as ‘can’t’ and I feel blessed to have this attitude. It’s gotten me through breast cancer, two brain tumors, three hip surgeries and most recently, melanoma.”

Also included in Out of the Box are a number of nostalgic collages by Beryl Kirkpatrick. She says, “Inspired by my grandfather’s antique postcards (c. 1912), these are created to arouse thoughts of memories past. Old sheet music on a tea-stained canvas is the background.”

Calabash artist Tina Lepsig leaves her watercolor and pastel behind for an adventure in hand-dying silk and creating simple and sophisticated scenes using only river rock and wood.

Gallery owner Ginny Lassiter adds, “The artwork in this show is definitely out of the box. It’s creative, it’s fun, and I hope everyone will come in to meet the artists during the reception.”

Sunset River Marketplace showcases work by approximately 150 North and South Carolina artists, and houses some 10,000 square feet of oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, mixed media, art glass, fabric art, pottery, sculpture, turned and carved wood and artisan-created jewelry. There are two onsite kilns and four wheels used by students in the ongoing pottery classes offered by the gallery. A custom framing department is available. There are realistic and abstract art classes as well as workshops by nationally and regionally known artists. For more information, call 910.575.5999 or visit the website at www.staging.careful-crib.flywheelsites.com.

Sunset River Marketplace is located at 10283 Beach Drive SW (Hwy. 179), Calabash, N.C. Regular hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For daily updates, “like” the gallery’s page on Facebook.