Friday, June 14, 2024

‘A Reminiscence of a Good Time’

A visible artist and musician, the late Wes Freed is maybe greatest recognized for his surrealist illustrations adorning the album covers of Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers. The Richmond-based artist’s unmistakable, collector-worthy file covers and live performance posters depicted photos of otherworldly beings and animals with connections to the music they embellish. In 2022, on the age of 58, Freed died from colorectal most cancers. His legacy lives on by his inventive pursuits, and a brand new exhibition on the Artwork Hive in Staunton is showcasing his work by the month of March. A gap reception is about for March 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. on the artwork heart, situated at 835 Spring Hill Highway.

The exhibition was curated with help from the Buddies of Wes Freed, who wished to show Freed’s art work close to his hometown of Crimora within the Shenandoah Valley; it’s the primary time lots of his works can be showcased close to the realm the place he grew up. Freed was a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth College, and the establishment created the Wes Freed Memorial Scholarship Fund in 2022, providing monetary assist to VCUarts college students from rural localities in Virginia. Proceeds from the exhibition will profit the scholarship fund, which has at the moment raised $22,000 towards its $50,000 aim to turn into a full endowment. Direct donations can be made by VCU.    

Freed’s influence as an artist and illustrator has resonated amongst artwork lovers and musicians throughout the globe. Upon his loss of life, Rolling Stone journal described his “ominous, gothic art work” as bringing the albums it adorned “to vivid life.” As a musician, Freed has usually been described as shy offstage, however he reworked as a stage performer. Throughout the Eighties and ’90s, Freed sang with the bands Mudd Helmet, Dust Ball and The Shiners, delighting audiences with the ferocity of his vocal performances.

Multimedia artist and Buddies of Wes Freed member Renée Stramel describes his art work as possessing “a mythic high quality balanced by a sure humbleness and good humor, like a reminiscence of time.” Though Freed’s work has been popularly labeled as “Southern gothic,” Stramel isn’t positive the time period absolutely captures the character of his artwork. “[His work will] proceed to affect artists due to its connection to the viewer,” she says. “Freed created iconic characters that inhabit a universe of his personal making. Every work was half of a bigger story.” 

Stramel hopes the Artwork Hive exhibition will present a chance for each followers of Freed’s work and people not conversant in him to turn into higher acquainted. As well as, she would love the VCUarts scholarship to encourage different Virginians to pursue their very own inventive desires, “particularly these from rural communities,” she says, including that she’d just like the funds to open the door to “the probabilities that come from being an artist … it begins with a dedication to your craft, irrespective of the place you’re.”

Artwork Hive co-founder Kirsten Schneider says she’s thrilled to host the particular exhibition. “Particularly to have so lots of his works on mortgage and being proven collectively for the primary time within the space Wes grew up in, amongst the panorama that knowledgeable his work,” she says. “That his legacy will go on to help the voices of different rural artists is actually fantastic.” 

The Wes Freed exhibition runs March 1-31 at Artwork Hive, situated at 835 Spring Hill Highway in Staunton.

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