Helen Burton, one of Cleveland’s most celebrated professional artists, will feature a Kaleidoscope of her paintings at the Exum Gallery in Chattanooga from Sept. 14 through Oct. 28.
The interpretation of the Greek word kaleidoscope is “beautiful shape” in a continually shifting view of colors and scenes. The term appropriately describes the collection of paintings by Burton whose colorful and detailed artwork can only be appreciated fully in person. The opening reception is from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 14 at the gallery.
The public is invited to meet the regional artist and explore the “Kaleidoscope” exhibition.
Burton’s detailed watercolors span a wide range of images, from florals to architectural subjects, which she calls “Portals to the Past” — windows and doors that represent the distinctive character of historic places she has visited in Europe. Other paintings show local scenery.
A departure into acrylics resulted in a series of gourd still lifes on Gessobord mounted in floating frames. The square format permits various arrangements of the four paintings that were designed as a set. The artist also presents “A Few of My Favorite Things” which depict collectibles like marble eggs, bird and animal figures, and a copper teapot from Morocco. These are also acrylic paintings on square Gessobord panels.
A native of Canada, Burton lived in Florida before moving to Cleveland in 1993. Her artistic career began in graphic design at The Miami Herald newspaper, and she taught art and journalism on the high school level after attending the University of Miami and a commercial art school. Her fine art experience continued with workshops conducted by nationally known watercolor artists which expanded her skills and interest in this medium.
She joined the Tennessee Watercolor Society in 2002 when the statewide biennial exhibition was held in Chattanooga at the AVA gallery, where she won the Totally Transparent Watercolor Award. Since then she has been active in TnWS as the director of Region III, editor of their publications, and chairman of their exhibition when it returned to Chattanooga in 2010. She received Signature Membership in TnWS in 2006, and in Georgia Watercolor Society in 2005.
The highest honor to be achieved by a watercolor artist is Signature Membership in respected state and national organizations. Burton traveled to California to be inducted into the National Watercolor Society as a Signature Member in October 2011 — the highlight of her art “Kaleidoscope” exhibitioncareer. Her painting was one of 100 selected by three jurors from over 1,000 entries worldwide for the NWS 91st International Exhibition.
Recent honors are inclusion in the Southern Watercolor Society 35th Annual Juried Exhibition, in Georgia in June 2012. She was one of 90 artists chosen from 400 who applied. She was also accepted for the Miami Watercolor Society second annual online exhibition which opened Sept. 1.
Burton’s work is currently at In-Town Gallery in Chattanooga where she has been an elected member of the artists’ co-op since 1999.
The artist has been involved with the Museum Center at Five Points in Cleveland, even before it opened in 1999. She was commissioned to create pen-and-ink drawings of the seven figures which represent the various eras of this region’s history. These are actual portraits of the local residents who re-enacted the roles of these noted persons. Her drawings were transformed into life-size figures etched onto glass panels permanently installed in the lobby of the museum. Burton’s original paintings and prints are available in the museum store.
The Exum Gallery is in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Chattanooga, 305 West Seventh St. at Pine. Exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Call the church office at 423-266-8195 for directions and more information.