Artistic mediums set for display at LCCA

Glen Rhea will have his hand-carved wooden items on display at the Louise Campbell Center for the Arts, at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 19.
Staff Writer

For those who love photography or hand-carved wooden objects, the Louise Center for the Arts will have a display of both types of artistic mediums.

A new art exhibition will open Sunday, May 19, in the Louise Campbell Center for the Arts, featuring photographer Judy Jones and wood-worker Glen Rhea. The opening reception is from 2 - 3:30 p.m., and the public is invited to come out and enjoy the beauty and craftsmanship expressed in wood and through photography. The exhibits are sponsored by West Point Clay County Arts Council.

Although Jones enjoyed a professional nursing career and raised a family, photography always played a part in her life. Jones has recently moved into professional photography, having bought her first DSLR camera several years ago. A trip to the Gulf Coast resulted in a stunning silhouette photo of a lone pelican perched on a pier post which catapulted Jones to pursue a more serious approach to photography.

Largely self-taught, Jones began taking online courses from Joel Sartore, a well-known photographer and head of The National Geographic Photo Ark project.

She said her goal is to capture the exquisite color and variety found in nature. It drives Jones to spend hours searching for just the right angle, light and composition before beginning to snap hundreds of frames.

“I love being out in the woods, fields and lake areas looking for interesting subjects. But the most fun happens when I open the pictures on my computer and start editing,” Jones said. “I may shoot up to 500 frames and only a few will make the cut.”

Jones said she was fascinated by the antics of animals, both tame and wild, and feels a connection with them, which she hopes to convey through her work with the MSU Therapeutic Riding Program and Palmer Home children.

Glen Rhea loves the feel, smell and durability of wood. He is most satisfied with finished pieces when the smooth glide of his hand over the honed and polished wood finds no imperfections.

“I spend at least as much time sanding and applying coats of Tung oil as it takes to shape and turn the piece on the lathe,” Rhea said.

Never attending a workshop or having any instruction in specialty techniques, Rhea is self-taught. “My good friend Bob Proffitt, who owns Proffitt’s Porch, gave me a bowl he had turned especially for me and I just thought I would enjoy working with wood myself," Rhea said. "So I purchased a lathe and just started working with some cedar I had at home.”

Other woods he likes to work with are oak, maple and black walnut, which he harvests from his own property.

A native of Colorado, Rhea settled in West Point in 1967, and had a very successful career as a contract pipe line welder. Upon retirement he felt the need to find meaningful use for his time, and woodworking fit the bill.

When discussing his methods, Rhea said woodworking on a lathe can be dangerous. Sometimes the rough piece might have some unseen flaws in the wood and large wood chips can fly at high velocity, causing injury.

“Sometimes I have a piece literally explode while it is on the lathe," Rhea said. "The knot in the wood might trigger it, or I might have gotten a place too thin.”

Rhea said other disasters might occur while the bowl is drying out. A sudden pop, and the piece is shattered.

"My wife Gail is assembling a “bowl totem” of these broken parts,” Rhea said.

Most of his creations are produced for family members and friends, but Rhea has made some special bowls for sale during this exhibit. He is donating the proceeds to the Arts Council to fund additional programs for youth and children.

Sponsored by the West Point/Clay County Arts Council, the exhibit will hang through June 30. The LCCA will be staffed on some Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m. for visitors to see the show. For more information or to schedule a tour of the exhibit at another day or time, contact Kathy Dyess at (662)-494-5678 or Julie Gray at (662)-295-0461.