EXHIBIT OPENS: EVOKING ASHANTILLY: ARTISTS JEANNINE COOK AND MARJETT SCHILLE
Artists Jeannine Cook and Marjett Schillle present “Evoking Ashantilly”, an art exhibit reflective of the hours both spent at Ashantilly. Join us for this catered event and see the marvelous work these renowned artists have produced. Each has provided an artist's statement:
Ashantilly is a wonderful mixture of history, architecture, the arts and coastal ecology. For me, as an artist, it has been a joyous and fascinating place in which to explore and and celebrate this Historic Site.
With my friend, artist Marjett Schille, I have spent many hours working at Ashantilly. The fascinating and unplanned result of our exhibition here is that we have dovetailed in our art. By this, I mean that Marjett has been looking at the “larger picture” with paintings of Ashantilly’s landscapes, trees, buildings. Meanwhile, I have focused closer in on details of these same trees, tabby walls and other delights. Bark from different trees, oyster-embedded tabby, the historic marble threshold to the entrance of the house, feathers that floated down from the trees, lichen and grape vines… they are all smaller parts of the whole, at Ashantilly, but of course, everywhere. Even the collages that I created with historic paper that previous owner, Bill Haynes, used when he printed at The Ashantilly Press, allowed me to link Bill’s love of the environment with my own.
My using, for the most part, metalpoint in the work I created has also been a subtle link to Bill Haynes and his heritage. Bill loved so many aspects of the beauty we inherit from previous generations, and I once had a wonderful conversation with him about his love of medieval manuscripts, illuminations and their exquisite art. Metalpoint was born in medieval monasteries, with the use of lead to line pages and draw the outlines of illuminations. By the early Renaissance, lead was giving way to the more ductile and expressive metal, silver, for use in all forms of drawing. Leonard da Vinci, Raphael, Dürer and others have left us amazing silverpoints that are as fresh as if they were drawn today. Metalpoint was then gradually forgotten as graphite and other more forgiving media came into use. Working in silver, gold, copper... requires a specially prepared drawing surface, erasure is almost impossible and lines require a slow, steady, careful build-up of fine marks to achieve darker tones.
After 19th century artists learned about the forgotten drawing medium of silverpoint when the 14th century manuscripts of Cennino Cennini’s Il Libro dell’Arte were found in Italian archives, it has slowly gained adherents who love its subtle, shimmering lines. The antithesis to today’s hyped technicolour world, silverpoint is a medium that slowly evolves as the silver tarnishes to a soft golden brown, giving it a life and freshness that is unusual in drawing media.
In the same way that metalpoint drawings combine a long heritage and a fresh, contemporary voice, so too does Ashantilly remind us that history enriches and allows us all to celebrate many aspects of life in a very special place.
Marjett C. Schille
Evoking Asantilly Artist’s Statement
Ashantilly invites contemplation and artistic exploration. The gracious beauty of the aged home is set like a jewel in its natural site, with both planned, preserved grounds and wild marsh borders The coastal habitat with plants, birds, animals and insects inspire close attention and creative expression. The rich tradition of Ashantilly artists both past and present foster the growth of any artist fortunate enough to spend time here.
When I first came here, I knew I wanted my work to express the richness of the experience. I chose mixed media and collage for this series. I was inspired by the examples of Picasso and Braque who created these artistic processes in their development of Cubism, layering various papers and mixing media for experimentation and expression—a new way to see a subject.
In a different way, my intent was also to really see—to take a visual journey, to simply be in this beautiful space, letting it speak to me. Through drawing and painting on site, I explored the variety of textures, colors, atmosphere light and shadow. I was rewarded with the sight of creatures one sees there if one takes the time to look and to invite a visit. My Ashantilly work includes both vistas and close up views.
The second part of my journey occurred in the studio. Added to what I had already begun in the field, which textured papers, what combination of collage, drawing and painting , mixture of charcoal, pastel, tempera, acrylic, colored pencil might express the character of what I saw? What could best celebrate the timelessness and essence of the place and the inhabitants of its surroundings?
I hope this art truly does evoke Ashantilly The series is an artistic journal of my “travels” there and an expression of how lucky I feel we all are to have the beauty of nature and our coastal Georgia heritage as it is preserved and protected here.
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