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By JANE COLLINS
Special to The Sumter Item
Wow! Wow! and wow! If you like your art colorful, creative, diverse and thought-provoking, then the current Sumter Gallery of Art exhibit "Spirited Vision," by Carolita Cantrell, should be high on your list of things to make you happy. The Sumter Item's introduction of the artist by Ivy Moore in the Nov. 2-3 Weekend Edition gave a strong introduction of the artist's background and connection to Sumter. What it could not do is prepare you for the highly diverse nature of her works.
"Free to Fly" establishes "Spirited Vision"- its composition and attitude. Arms reaching upward, lifting a billowing scarf toward the sky, the woman reaches up. A bird continues the upward direction, leading the eye and reaffirming the spirit of freedom. The scarf symbol is emphasized again in "Free to Fly." Another realistic painting, "Love All Creatures Great and Small," adds an aspect of symbolism with the animals gathered around the woman.
Cantrell's mosaic-inspired works emphasize her subtle use of color and shading. "Lady with a Fur," located in the entry hall, seems almost monochromatic, yet there are minute color variations to enhance the picture's depth. "Majestic," another mosaic-inspired piece, seems Byzantine; however, the woman's expression and bright halo add a sense of character to her serenity. Cantrell's focus of "Spirited Vision" also celebrates her willingness to explore. The gold leaf dominating "Glitters" adds another dimension to her artistic exploration.
Her ability to use color and stroke lines becomes evident in most of her work. "The Geisha," "Prediction" and "Hint of the Orient" come alive with action and attitude through her careful use of brush and color combinations. In "Flight," she says much with little detail, the two white forms moving against the contrast of the red-and-orange background, a tract of purple extending the eye and action.
Her paintings are not without humor: Look for hidden faces, study "Head in the Clouds," check out the use of color in "Woman." Works like the mixed-media "Fun" and the intense use of color and composition in "Racing with the Moon" are testimony to her vast range of artistic genre and ability.
The level of artistic control, development of atmosphere and variety of formats certainly showcases her desire to reflect a "Spirited Vision." Her exhibit will remain at Sumter Gallery of Art, 200 Hasell St., through Jan. 10, 2020. For more information, call (803) 775-0543 or visit https://sumtergallery.com.
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