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'Intuitive' Art Exhibition from Businesswoman and Rock Star Duo

April 20, 2005 – St. Croix residents Jonathan Edwards and Kathy Bennett are more well known as a musician and bookseller, respectively, but together they are holding a debut exhibition of their creative visual artwork. Bennett will be exhibiting oil paintings, and Edwards will be showing paintings as well as whimsical furnishings and sculpture. This debut gallery appearance for these two artists will be open to the public for only three days: from Thursday, April 21, through Saturday, April 23, at the Walsh Metal Works Gallery in Peters Rest.
Edwards is a musician who has had a successful 40-year career, touring and recording over a dozen albums. He is well known internationally for his 1971 single "Sunshine (Go Away Today)" and local residents are familiar with his annual concert on St. Croix and his catchy advertising jingle for the Divi Carina Bay Casino. Born in Minnesota and raised in Virginia, his music brought him to the Caribbean in the early 1970s. Jonathan has lived on St. Croix since 1997 with his family.
Kathy Bennett owns and operates Undercover Books & Gifts in Gallows Bay, where she often showcases art and jewelry creations by local artists. Originally from Long Island, NY, Bennett has taken many drawing and painting classes. She and her family have been living on St. Croix for 15 years.
Both Edwards and Bennett are serious artists, whose work might best be described as "intuitive" art. According to the website of The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, intuitive art can be defined as "work of artists who demonstrate little influence from the mainstream art world and who seem instead motivated by their unique personal visions." This includes non-traditional folk art, self-taught art and visionary art. Edwards' work tends toward contemporary folk art, as he creates furniture and sculpture out of found objects, weathering them to intense patinas. Bennett's still life oil paintings are meditative and internal, and her use of color and light is advanced.
Even though Edwards studied fine art at Ohio University before launching his music career, and Bennett studied painting from an early age with artists in New York and later on St. Croix, their careers have taken other creative paths. However, each of them has branched back into visual art with great energy and personal vision, and their works show a sophistication and mastery of technique beyond what would be expected of a "weekend" artist. Edwards has shown works at the Caribbean Fine Art Exhibit at the Good Hope School for the last two years, and this is a debut exhibition for Bennett.
The majority of Edwards' exhibition consists of functional furniture which is handmade from natural objects, or hand-restored and pieced together from found man-made objects. Edwards' technique is similar to quilting: he seeks out discarded scraps, and enjoys "seeing those objects live again in an entirely new context," says the artist. Edwards also creates paintings, mosaics, sculptures and fashion accessories out of everything from packing crates, beach stones and used wire to discarded architectural details and license plates.
Bennett works in oil on canvas. She sets up still life tableaus in her home and works from life and from photographs. Her subject matter is timeless: fruits spilling from a bowl, sliced and displayed in a rich, dark environment of mahogany colors and shadows. Bennett's work is noteworthy for its apparent detail with a thriftiness of brushwork. She manages to capture a rich scene and great depth and texture with a limited number of colors and an unfussy, impressionistic style. "Painting is a necessary creative outlet for me," explains Bennett.
Don't miss this very brief three-day exhibition of the work of two industrious local artists.
Jonathan Edwards & Kathy Bennett: Intuitive Art will be on exhibit from Thursday, April 21 through Saturday, April 23, at the Walsh Metal Works Gallery. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, or by appointment. For more information, call the gallery at (340)773-8169.

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