Raymond Berry Shows at Chroma Projects

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      Elizabeth Howard

      Chroma Projects & Vault Virginia presents

      Raymond Berry: Bellair: Making Visible the Invisible

       Opening Reception on First Friday, July 5th from 5:00 – 7:00PM

      One place comprehended can make us understand other places better. Sense of place gives equilibrium; extended, it is a sense of direction too. Carried off we might be in spirit, and should be, when we are reading or writing something good; but it is the sense of place going with us still that is the ball of golden thread to carry us there and back, and in every sense of the word to bring us home. ~ Eudora Welty

      Bellair Farm represents something elegant and resonant that shoulders a great history with warmth and meaning. I asked permission of Cynnie Davis to study it from the viewpoint of the landscape and not that as merely a picture of what we think a farm should be. How would this beautiful site see and consider itself? What was important? What would the curl of a year or so of visits and observations teach me about this varied and protean landscape?

      That ball of golden thread is a lovely image that has connected a handful of families to this place; I am always humbled by the graveyard that holds Reverend Timberlake and his family next to where I am painting. He was an original Trustee of the college I have taught in for over forty years. Am I part of that thread now? I always say hello and place my hand on his headstone when I pass him by. He’s checking on me…

      In my short time, I realized the effect of the swell of the hills that trickle water down the sides to help form a new pond and nurture the small frogs that chirp and peep while I work standing in the light grey mud. I cannot see them, but they tell me they see me! I respect the floodplain that reaches out from the Hardware to lay down a particulate that will create a talcum in the summer swirling around the cars driving down the farm road to where the vegetables are waiting to be picked. My black truck treasures whatever residue sticks to its bumpers and wheels when I leave to return home, the remnants of honest labor in the fields! I have found some sacred places here, viewpoints and vantages that encourage stillness and contemplation. I have found allies in my investigations: the wonderful people who work the farm and turn the soil and give me good advice and good questions, who know so much more than me about the ebb and flow of this landscape. My good colleague, Franklin, who guards the house and escorts me around the grounds when I venture into the higher clouds of heaven…all these things get into the paint.

      Cynnie Davis is the longest resident of this farm. She walks the paths and spreads the wildflowers with grace and love. She has lost a beloved husband and son while living in this spiritual place and she has taken upon herself to share and nurture its benefits to those around her.

      Visitors are welcome to walk the trails and pick the vegetables, and enjoy for a bit, the dream of living a life here. Her generosity and sense of giving come as naturally to her as the mud and hard labor of farm work does to this beautiful estate.

      Ray Berry

      Bellair: Making Visible the Invisible will be presented inside Chroma’s Micro-gallery, and on the walls of Vault Virginia’s Great Halls. It is an extensive exhibition of an extensive undertaking.

      The show is on view weekdays from 10:00 – 4:00 throughout both months, closing on the 30th of August. Please contact Deborah at artlab@chromaprojects for further information and private viewings.

      Chroma/Vault Virginia is located at 300 E. Main on the Downtown Mall, Gallery Entrance is on 3rd St S.E., under the black awning, across from the Front Porch Music School.

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