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Mother, daughter to show off works at Blount-Bridgers House

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From Contributed Reports

Thursday, January 5, 2017

TARBORO — Edgecombe Arts will present the works of two Asheville artists with local ties — Bee Sieburg and her daughter Molly Courcelle —  from Jan. 12 through Feb. 18 in the Hobson Pittman Memorial Gallery.

A reception and gallery talk will be held in the gallery 5:30-7:30 p.m. on opening night, Jan. 12.

The featured artists have a real connection to Tarboro since the former Bee Pitt is a native and is Tarboro Mayor Joe Pitt’s big sister. Courcelle is Pitt’s niece. The mother/daughter pair maintains studio space in Wedge Studios in Asheville’s River Arts District.

After a career of producing floral arrangements and displays for weddings and other catered events, Sieburg said she is happy to be painting again, her first love. Sieburg said she draws inspiration from everything around her, stopping to take photos wherever she goes — from the local towns and mountains of Western North Carolina to her travels in France and England.

Animals are a favorite subject.She grew up painting portraits of her pet goat and dog.

“I am also inspired by beautiful scenes of the landscape, interiors of friends’ homes, broken-down houses,” she said in a release.

After graduating from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with a bachelor of arts degree in arts education in 1964, Sieburg taught art to elementary school children prior to being drawn into the floral arranging business by a caterer friend.

Sieburg’s studio is often open to visitors, and her art can be found 
in Asheville at The Gardener’s Cottage, Woolworth Walk and K2 Gallery and in other galleries and gift shops in the western part of the state.

Courcelle grew up surrounded by art. Her mother encouraged her from an early age to view the world with an artist’s eye, she said. They spent time drawing and painting outdoors noticing colors, forms and compositions found in nature. They also loved to visit art galleries and museums where Courcelle developed an appreciation for art history at an early age.

Courcelle attended Wake Forest University, receiving a bachelor of arts degree with a focus in painting. Upon graduating she became involved in floral design while living in Cambridge, Mass., and Providence, R.I. She moved to Asheville in 1997, and with her mother, opened The Gardener’s Cottage, a floral and antiques shop in Asheville’s Biltmore Village. They sold the business when Courcelle started her family.

When describing her work, Courcelle said, “I am fascinated by paint ... the feel of the medium, the effects of the brushes, the push and pull of line, plain and form. With this in mind, my work is as much about the process of painting as it is about the final image.”

She describes each painting as its own unique experience. Much of the process is spontaneous and just as much is reactionary. The result is a painting that is layered and painterly, generally abstract yet essentially organic.

Courcelle’s Christian faith plays an important role in the artwork as well and many of her titles have Biblical references. “Bringing my faith into the work gives purpose and excitement to the act of painting; creating, communicating, learning and focusing,” she said.

In the gallery, works by Hobson Pittman are in an ante-room replica studio and in the landing of the second floor and “this new exhibit will mix beautifully with the works that are a part of Tarboro’s permanent collection,” said gallery curator Motsie Brooks. Pittman, who passed away in 1972, would be celebrating his 118th birthday just two days after opening night.

The Hobson Pittman Memorial Gallery is at Tarboro’s historic Blount-Bridgers House and is open  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and from 2 to 4 p.m on Sundays. More information about Edgecombe Arts can be found online at www.edgecombearts.org.


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