Up & Coming Weekly

November 02, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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12 UCW NOVEMBER 3-9, 2021 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM roughout the year Gallery 208 exhibits contemporary works of art which include a variety of themes, techniques to express ideas, styles ranging from representational to nonobjective abstraction and exhibits that can often be challenging. Yet rarely do we have an exhibit about beauty. Beauty, especially if it relates to the fig- ure, can be a problematic subject : we each see beauty differently and images of beau- ty have been marketed in ways that result in stereotypes. Yet it is still important in the human psyche to experience beauty. For example, we welcome the beauty of sunshine after many days of overcast and rainy weather. Beautiful Strangeness: Photographs by Kyle Harding opens Nov. 9, at 5:30 p.m. at Gallery 208 and is an exhibit that explores the beautiful strangeness of being a child, any child, or our own experiences as a child. e challenge for Harding was to en- able us to go beyond a family portrait and experience a universal time that should have been filled with wonder, mystery and simple pleasures in the smallest events, ordinary objects and everyday activities. Harding earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education, with a concentra- tion in photography, from East Carolina University in 2008 and earned a Master in Art Education at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in 2017. A pub- lic art schoolteacher, adjunct faculty at Fayetteville State University, mother of two young children, married with a large family of in-laws, and a daughter and niece to her immediate family, Harding is a very busy individual. Intermittently she takes time to focus on what is happening during the daily and never-ending experiences of being around her two young daughters as an artist. As an artist, she tries to see past the familial and capture the universal. After being invited to participate in the 2021 Art Faculty Biennial in Rosenthal Gallery at FSU, Harding shared the fol- lowing in her artist statement : "I chose a subject I am most passionate about at this time in my life: my 4-year-old and 7-year- old daughters." e selections in the exhibit are part of a larger body of work to capture universal themes with my chil- dren as the subject : innocence, reflection, play, hope, and vulnerability. In a larger context, I hope the photographs have the power to evoke memories for everyone of what it means to be a child and to remem- ber the strange beauty of the world around us when we were children." One of the many reasons for visitors to attend the opening of Beautiful Strange- ness at Gallery 208 is to meet the artist and enjoy how a photograph, by an art photog- rapher, can go beyond the subject. Hard- ing's main objective is making an artistic statement through a photograph – pho- tography is used as a medium for creative expression, to express an idea, a message, or an emotion. A definition of fine art photography involves bringing a vision, emotion, or a state of mind to life through a photo- graphed image. It involves creating something that previ- ously only lived in your mind, as opposed to simply capturing what you see in an artistic way. In Beautiful Strangeness, Harding has selected images from activities we would take for granted and elevated the cropped images to convey states of mind through the photographed image. In the photograph titled "ree Amigos," the viewer is looking down on two sets of small bare feet standing on cement, the two front legs of a spotted short-haired dog are between the children. e legs of the children are captured be- low the knees and cascade into the photo from the top edge, almost as if thin col- umns on each side of the photo. in, yet COVER STORY Kyle Harding photographs Beautiful Strangeness by SONI MARTIN "Sadie with Sunglasses", Kyle Harding photographs a close-up of a young Sadie wearing a seem- ingly large pair of sunglasses. (Photo by Kyle Harding)

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