artists Mary Jo Sims and John Turner at Berkeley Art Works | Newspaper

Retirement Idyl: Artwork by Mary Jo Sims and John Turner is an exhibition of paintings, drawings, collages, prints and mixed works of art by two members of the Berkeley Arts Council, on display at the Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street, Martinsburg.

John Turner loved to draw during his elementary school years. Until he attended classes at the Berkeley Arts Council, he had never taken art classes or received formal art instruction.

“My experience with instructors has stimulated a strong desire on my part to explore, risk and discipline my artistic endeavors. Classes are conducted in such a way that time spent in the studio is encouraging, educational and socially engaging, ”he says enthusiastically. He finds great pleasure in line drawings and vibrant colors. The mixture of techniques such as watercolor, ink, acrylic and colored pencil allows him to connect representative elements in an organic way with more abstract vignettes.

Mary Jo Sims majored in fine art in college, where she was influenced by American Abstract Expressionists. After reading Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kandinsky, she became interested in the deep connection between the spiritual and the aesthetic. She explored this connection while attending Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, in their Department of Religion and the Arts.

“I continue to resonate in particular with Kandinsky’s improvisations, pieces that are separate from the subject and rely entirely on color, line and form for meaning. The color, the lines and the shapes formed by the juxtaposition and the mixture of colors, give the meaning of my recent works. While there is some intentionality in the application of color, I allow the initial flow of color over the surface of the paper to dictate much of the direction of the painting.

The exhibition, which is open until August 7, features several of their individual works, but John and Mary Jo also collaborate on works and draw inspiration from each other. The collaborative works in the exhibition show a beautiful harmony in their artistic styles and interests.

The Berkeley Arts Council is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization incorporated in West Virginia that strives to ensure that Berkeley County has a vibrant and vital arts environment by promoting awareness, understanding and appreciation of the literary, visual and performing arts in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

Christopher S. Washington