Elvis, Gina Gallina and all the colors in Fenix Arts’ ‘Hanging By a Thread’

Elvis, Gina Gallina and all the colors in Fenix Arts’ ‘Hanging By a Thread’

Susan Idlet cackles when asked about the title of the current fabric arts exhibit, “Hanging By A Thread.”

The new president at Fenix Art Gallery on Fayetteville’s Mount Sequoyah says she not about to snap, she just loves a good pun.

With works ranging from a disarrayed poem by Langston Hughes framed like watercolor paintings to large-scale threaded installments, the pieces in Fenix’s most recent exhibit vary in theme. The expressionistic “The Weight of Secrets, 2018” by Amber Imrie is described as “Purified queer confessions, sewing thread, and branch” on the title card. While Donna Mulhollan reminds viewers to “Play” with her whimsical needlefelt, Teresa Schlabach’s fine threadwork is nearly photo realistic.

The exhibit was a natural fit for Fawn Wonsower-Potter’s “Entropy Negentropy or The Audacity to Persist,” which she created with all recycled and donated materials, creating a latch-hook collage of colors. Unintentionally evoking the form of a tree, the overall piece has a look similar to a coat of arms hanging on the wall of an eccentric noble family.

“I didn’t design it. I just set a series of rules: I can only use scrap material. I can’t undo anything. And I can’t buy anything for it,” says Wonsower-Potter.

She included the “The Audacity to Persist” in the title as a jab at how long the piece has been in production rather than a lofty stance on the essence of being. Production began in 2017, and the artist has branched out into pottery that bears a resemblance to the colorful swirls in the ears of her felted bunnies and elephants, some of which are in the exhibit.

In the center of the gallery there appears to be a sort of parachute, but as one approaches, light twinkle in the center, illuminating the careful patterns Tina Oppenheimer weaves into her colorful, intricate crochet work. A giant caterpillar holding a wine glass full of yarn leans against a window which also illuminates another of Gina Gallina’s recognizable works, an Elvis mannequin rocking a crochet jumpsuit next to a crochet-covered guitar.

“It’s pretty full, but I think it all works,” says Idlet, who just stepped up as president of Fenix Arts. She says that she first became aware of Fenix during a special exhibit in 2017 at the Walker-Stone House, now the Folk School of Fayetteville. Around the same time she had first begun dabbling in art herself. She asked Fenix Board member Cindy Arsaga what she thought of her drawings.

“I had my little notebook, my whole sketchbook with me, and I’m like, ‘Cindy, look at this. Do you think that I qualify?’ And she goes, ‘Oh, yeah, you’re you got some chops. I think you should apply to be a member!’” Idlet remembers with an easy laugh. “So I did. Then I just like, I guess I am an artist.”

Nowadays Idlet is known for her vibrant, and sometimes metaphorically cheeky designs created using colored pencil that she transforms with an acrylic-like finish. A small series of her work is displayed on flags draped across the desk in the back of the gallery for the current exhibit.

“Hanging by a Thread” will be on display at Fenix Arts until March 3. Next up is a member show, “Fresh Paint.”

Several of the Fenix Arts members are donating pieces to a silent auction for a Valentine’s Day fundraiser with live music from folk sweetheart duo Meadow Makers. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14. Tickets are $10, and seating is limited to 60. Find out more at fenixarts.org.


‘Hanging By A Thread’

WHAT — A fiber arts exhibit featuring work by Cate McCoy, Fawn Wonsower-Potter, Laurie Foster, Jessica Robin, Amber Imrie, Melspace Creative, Kim Seaberg, Jane Hartfield, Ann Naumann, Gina Gallina, Donna Mulhollan, Scott Mashburn, Sally Ball, Sona Gardner, Tina Oppenheimer, Teresa Schlabach, Jaquita Ball and Cory Perry.

WHEN — 1-6 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sundays

WHERE — Fenix Arts in Millar Lodge at Mount Sequoyah in Fayetteville

COST — Free

INFO — fenixarts.org

Categories: Galleries