THOMASVILLE — The Thomasville Cultural Center opens its doors to two nationally known artists, husband and wife Jack Beal and Sondra Freckelton, for a joint exhibit through March 18.

“It’s a great exhibit — wonderful — in terms of artistic skills exemplified in the works themselves,” said Elaine Banks, exhibit coordinator. “When people get here they will understand why we think it is a great exhibit for the cultural center and the community.”

Sondra Freckelton is a noted abstract artist who embraced realism in the 1970s. The genre of still life painting comes to magical life in her works and some have said they are more realistic than the real things.

Her watercolors are large, brillantly-colored and strive to engage the emotions.

She is a major figure in the post-modern art world and has exhibited in major museums and galleries.

Her work is in the permanent collections of major museums like the National Museum of American Art and the Smithsonian.

“I had a studio in the fruit cellar when I was 10,” said Freckelton. “I just always did art. I always did the school bulletin boards in grade school — I was sort of born doing it.”

Watercolors are her main medium, but she was an abstract sculptor for her first ten years as an artist.

“I consider myself a sculptor that paints,” said Freckelton. “I always liked watercolors and was seduced by the medium. I paint realistically and sculpt abstractly. The minute you want to use form and third dimension in artwork when painting, you must use the subject matter or else it looks like you are doing a painting of an abstract sculpture. I also do watercolors for big abstract sculptures. I also do oil painting studies for watercolors.”

She also dallies in lithographs and silk screens.

Freckelton, thanks to the Cultural Center and Tallahassee Watercolor Society, will host a Watercolor Workshop Thursday through Sunday.

Jack Beal is known for his figure paintings and his depiction’s of allegory and myth.

He is part of a group of artists who, after moving on from abstract expressionism, sought to re-introduce realism to the 20th century.

“Years ago, when I was a little child, I was often ill and my mother gave me paints to amuse myself,” said Beal. “I’ve been amusing myself for about 75 years.”

In 1999, he was commissioned to design a pair of murals for the Times Square Station in New York City.

These were “The Return of Spring” and “The Onset of Winter,” both depicting New York City street scenes in glass mosaics.

Beal’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe in venues like the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan, the National Gallery of Art and the National Museum of American Art.

“I make art because I understand it and other people can understand it, that makes for a clean break between us,” he said. “I tend to be more abstract, but on the surface there is realism and most people can understand realism. I am determinedly realistic and my works are evocations of what life is as we live it. I love it when people understand what I’m doing even though they don’t always fully understand it. I love reaching out to other people.”

Beal works in oil paintings, pastels, lithographs and etchings—usually his subjects arise from things that strike him at the time.

“Oil painting is a serious business, all the rest is to carry me on,” he said.

Beal will speak at the Cultural Center’s “Lunch and Learn” on Tuesday and give a lecture on “The Resurgence of Realism in the Last Half of the Twentieth Century” on Thursday.

A suite of Beal’s prints of etchings have just been editioned and are being introduced for the first time in Thomasville.

“These are offered at introduction price and are just beautiful and have a real story behind them,” said Freckelton. “These are things he did when he was much younger.”

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