Ozark Mountains, yoga are inspiration for Senior Art Exhibit

Release Date: 11/29/2011

Clarksville, Ark. --- University of the Ozarks student Ginny Gardner will present her Senior Art Exhibit, "Meditation in Portraits of Nature," from Dec. 1-15 in the Stephens Art Gallery.

Artwork by Ginny Gardner.

Ginny Gardner will present her Senior Art Exhibit, "Meditation in Portraits of Nature," from Dec. 1-15 in the Stephens Art Gallery.

Gardner is a senior art major from Little Rock. She is scheduled to graduate in May of 2012. There will be a Meet the Artist Reception from 7-8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 in the gallery, which is located in the University's Walton Fine Arts Center.

In her artist's statement, "Common Fluidity through Nature and Portraits," Gardner says she derives much of her inspiration from the Ozark Mountains.

"Imagine yourself in the middle of the Ozark Mountains surrounded by the nostalgic smell of burning wood, the bright colors of fall foliage, and the sweet sounds of acoustic instruments. This is where the energy behind my artwork was born," Gardner said. "Here, I found a beautiful place filled with grassy coves, adorned with hidden four leaf clovers and a variety of trees.  Once a year natural and human features join together to create a beautiful festival.  Through my artwork, I offer a rhythmic and artistic journey through my experiences in heart of the Ozarks.  I find a comforting serenity in the Ozark Mountains, a beautiful scene of nature.  I am calmed by Mother Nature and the complex wholeness of earth's life cycles.  I imagine a rhythmic cycle that makes fluid beauty.  This fluidity includes many aspects that combine to make a cyclical beauty which we call life.  I try to reproduce this beauty in my art in a non-objective style with color and form.  The visual aspects of my artwork stem from my love of nature and interest in its repeating shapes and patterns."

A hobby she picked up a few years ago has also influenced her artwork.

"I began to hula hoop my freshman year of college after attending my first festival," she said. "At first, it was a playful activity and I never thought of it influencing my art work.  However, as I continued practicing my love for the hoop, its shape took form in my art work.  My journey with the hoop has enhanced my vision of reality, form and movement through many processes of trial and error.  The presence of the circle is in motion throughout my work.  The hoop has helped me find my true self through creative movement and discovery.  The hoop's shape has inspired me to create a feeling of wholeness in my work.  I often use the circle to embody nature's reliance on a continuing cycle.   The circle also symbolizes a perpetual movement which is a core part of nature and my art work. My never-ending journey of learning how to dance with the hoop has been an essential tool in helping me find myself and my artistic style."

Gardner said the practice of yoga has also influenced her as an artist.

"My recent discovery of yoga has enhanced my ability to connect my mind, body, and soul with my artwork," she said. "Prior to this discovery, my work was mainly documentation of the natural world.  I have transcended this basic interpretation to encompass a multifaceted approach to my artwork.  Now my work is highly structured by my emotions.  Yoga evokes an emotional response in my body.  The breathing and movement in yoga has shown me the importance of connecting different practices to form a positive whole.   For example, one can practice the physical moves but not gain the complete benefits of yoga if one does not breathe correctly.  Similarly, in art one can create forms, but without incorporating emotion the piece will be void of a vital aspect which makes the work interesting and whole.  I use yoga positions throughout my work to bridge the unnatural landscapes with the natural form of the human body.  Yoga awakened my conscious through breathing and movement.  My eyes widened as I realized the benefits of practice; I could more easily breathe and absorb the abundant imagery of Mother Nature. I could finally see my own image positively in the universe.... Through creative breathing and movement, I have found true beauty."

The gallery is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is open to the public and there is no cost for admission. For more information, please contact the Office of Humanities and Fine Arts at 979-1349.