Up & Coming Weekly

June 06, 2023

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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Page 12 of 24

12 UCW JUNE 7 - 13, 2023 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Gallery 208: The Ocean World of Ivy Rittenhouse by SONI MARTIN Visitors to the exhibit titled e Ocean World of Ivy Rittenhouse, at Gallery 208, will view works of art cre- ated by an individual whose history, temperament and career are rooted in the sciences. Logic might suggest that science and the arts are opposites, yet they are aligned in many ways — both careers attempt to comprehend and communicate something about the world around us. Opening June 8, the exhibit was cre- ated by a chemist whose mind is filled with complex data and knowledge about the "identification of the sub- stances of which matter is composed; the investigation of their properties, and the ways in which they interact, combine, and change to form new substances." As an artist, Rittenhouse effortlessly communicates the es- sence and possibilities of our biosys- tem in ways we do not normally see. rough the mediums of watercolor and alcohol inks on paper, we are to experience the subjects which inspire the artist. After earning a degree in chemistry from Eastern New Mexico University, for 30+ years Rittenhouse has been the laboratory operations manager in the Department of Chemistry at Fayetteville State University. Having knowledge and interest in the oceans, one of Rittenhouse's most recent assignments was maintaining "e REEF" at Fayetteville State University. (e REEF is one of the few places in Central North Carolina for visitors to see coral reefs and reef organisms.) Ask her anything about a healthy ocean ecosystem, and we will hear Rittenhouse's explanations about coral life and the abundance of sea creatures dependent upon its struc- ture. rough her gifts as an artist, we are able to observe the aquatic world in a new way. Best described by the words of Amanda ompson (in her article titled "Making a Place: Art a Multi-Modal, Multi-Disciplinary Approach"), Rittenhouse's images are "wordless explorations of place that allow for the intersection of imagina- tion … alternative ways of encounter- ing, experiencing and responding to the complexities" of nature. Rittenhouse is the quintessential example of "there is no set path for someone to become an artist." For Rittenhouse it was the result of an active outdoor life of scuba diving, riding horses and being an "outdoors person" that came to an unexpected, dramatic and painful halt. e arts became a type of therapy, a recovery. Rittenhouse shared the story of how she became an artist and the incidents that changed her life. "During 2011 and 2015 I was given an antibiotic, in the fluoroquinolone family, after sur- gery. e first adverse drug reaction (ADR) was misdiagnosed. It was the second ADR that destroyed my joints and tendons resulting in a right hip replacement, tendon repair and years of physical therapy." "Just for something to do during my recovery, I started using colored pencils to fill in the pictures of horses in adult coloring books. Suffering from pain, I was living in a dark place in my mind, so I used bright colors to offset the darkness. I later framed the pictures and gave some to my doc- tors and friends and was told that I was particularly good with colors and should put away the coloring books and start painting for myself. So I did. I began with watercolors, then moved on to alcohol inks, and I'm currently working with acrylics. e bright and stunning colors are comprised of elements, and the paint allows me to interpret the images in my head into art, both chemistry and artwork hand in hand." Rittenhouse is modest. When I saw her colorful framed works hang- ing in her office at Fayetteville State, I immediately knew I wanted to share her creative works and her story with the public. Her first one-person exhibit demonstrates her natu- ral skills, talent and aesthetic relationship to oceans. It is also a story about perseverance. A natural colorist, Rittenhouse brings her sensitivity and observa- tion of colors to her creative work. Perhaps her earliest appreciation of color and its influence was growing up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, famously known as the Land of Enchantment. While her father, a physicist, worked at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (later changed to Los Alamos National Laboratory), Rittenhouse stated she spent her "free time horseback riding through the canyons, admiring the beautiful azure blue skies, the rusty color of the clay mesas, the pictur- esque and polarizing landscape. e turquoise and silver jewelry in the region is prevalent — the tur- quoise stones varying from sky blue to a paler sky blue, greenish blue, or pale green, depending on the quantities of iron and copper within each stone." e experiences of color while growing up in New Mexico, her love of oceans, and her interest in scuba div- ing have all influenced her fascination and appreciation for color. Whether it is the vibrant colors you would see in the aquariums at "e REEF," or while scuba diving, Rittenhouse has experi- enced the spectacles of color and uses those memories to evoke an essence of beauty and harmony in aquatic environments. In Rittenhouse's paintings, we see intense colors first but also sense the perpetual movement of water — a har- monious water environment and its life forms are present. In her "Ocean Blue Series," blues and earth colors remind us of abstracted shorelines or what might be just under the surface of crashing waves. Sea dragons and goldfish swim with ease in reflected and refracted light-sourced environ- ments. (Above) Gold Fish by Ivy Rittenhouse (Bottom of page) Sea Dragons by Ivy Rittenhouse COVER Serenity, Private Treaty by Ivy Rittenhouse

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