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WAGE presents its 2018 exhibition

Susan Shie and Libby with "Shaken and Stirred." The piece presents a social commentary on current events, especially on life in Puerto Rico after the recent hurricanes. The work is still in progress and will be quilted prior to being displayed at the exhibition.

Ellen Pill

"Reflections" is the theme for this year's annual exhibition of the Wayne Artists Group Effort. Fifteen area artists will show a total of 45 artworks, encompassing a wide variety of artistic media at Wayne Center for the Arts from Jan. 12 through Feb. 17.
The community is invited to an opening reception on Jan. 12 from 6-8 p.m., the first night of the show. Sally Abbott will play piano, most of the artists will be present and there will be refreshments. The event is free.
Work displayed will include painting and fiber. New to the WAGE show, there will be fused glass pieces and encaustic paintings. Sometimes called hot wax painting, encaustic painting involves the use of beeswax that is heated, colored and applied to a surface such as wood or canvas.
Each year WAGE members submit ideas for a theme for their annual show. "Whoever comes to the March meeting votes to choose the theme," WAGE founding member Susan Shie said. "The rule is you have to start your work for the show after you pick the theme."
WAGE artist Mike Jackson submitted the "Reflections" theme that was chosen. The result is that every piece of art in the show was designed in the past year, specifically for the chosen theme.
Several months prior to the show, WAGE members may submit their art to be considered for the postcard invitation that is sent out every year with the show details. That decision also is made by a vote of the members. This year the invitation features a watercolor: Robert VanNatta's "Traps."
Shie will show three of her signature quilts at the show. "I think of them as soft paintings," Shie said, "a hybrid between fiber and painting."
During her study at Kent State, Shie became interested in painting on something easier to transport than a traditional canvas. "I started doing what they now call 'art quilts' back in the late '70s as a feminist choice," Shie said.
The bonus advantage to Shie's soft paintings? "I can fold them up and send them all over the world," she said. "And I do."
One of Shie's pieces for this year's show is titled "Shaken and Stirred." The quilt is a reflection on current events, "especially life in Puerto Rico since hurricanes Irma and Maria," Shie said.
"I do social commentary," Shie said of her work. The large piece began as a series of drawings. "I make little sketches, and they change and evolve, like a playwright setting up a play, so I know who the characters are and what they are doing."
The large piece is packed with symbolism and commentary. Several of the figures are representative of prominent individuals including the mayor of Puerto Rico and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Beets are featured in the several sections of the piece as representative of women's strength. "I teach classes, and students live with us for a week, and one student brought a bag of beets from her garden. We ate a few and then forgot about them," Shie said.
When she later found the beets, they had sprouted. "They were so beautiful with their leaves. Beets are a very strong, tough root crop, very rooted and earthy."
The WAGE group was founded nearly 32 years ago. Members must attend at least four meetings in a year in order to exhibit in the annual show. Each exhibiting artist is allowed to show three pieces.
Artists exhibiting in the 2018 show are Kelly Aboulkacem, Patricia L. Kuntz Anderson, Monica Bongue-Bartelsman, Lynn Buckland, Sherrie Dennis, Jude Gonzalez, Julie W. Fisher, Janice Mori Gallagher, Michael William Jackson, Lorene Meier, Joanne M Murray, Randall Robart, Shie, VanNatta and Brooke Winkler.
The WAGE 2018 annual exhibition is at the Wayne Center for the Arts, 237 S. Walnut, Wooster. The exhibit is open to the public during art center business hours: Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
True to WAGE's mission in supporting and encouraging artists at all levels of skill and experience, "Reflections" is a nonjuried show.
"We are a support group. We are there witnessing what you are doing and encouraging you to do it," Shie said.
Find the event page on Facebook at WAGE 2018 Exhibition.

Published: January 9, 2018
New Article ID: 2018180109979