‘Celestial Skies’ April exhibit at Justus Fine Art Gallery

“Cotton Sunrise,” by Matthew Hasty. (Submitted photo)
“Cotton Sunrise,” by Matthew Hasty. (Submitted photo)

"Celestial Skies," the April exhibit at Justus Fine Art Gallery, will focus on work that contains celestial elements -- sun, moon, stars, "and even an eclipse," a news release says.

The show will feature a selection of new paintings by Matthew Hasty, which capture "dramatic effects of sunlight and moonlight in his luminous Southern landscapes."

Work by artists including Michael Ashley, George Chambers, Randall Good, Robyn Horn, John P. Lasater IV, Sandra Sell, Kathryn Sixbey, Gene Sparling, and Elizabeth Weber will also be showcased.

The opening reception will be held from 5-9 p.m. Friday as part of the monthly Gallery Walk in downtown Hot Springs.

Hasty will be present for the opening reception to discuss his work with attendees. The exhibit runs through April 30.

Hasty creates "hauntingly beautiful" Southern landscapes that "glow with light while capturing the essence of place. His paintings draw the viewer into his expansive views and offer moments of peace and reflection," the release said.

A native of Memphis, Hasty has lived most of his life in the South. "His mother was an artist and the materials to make art were always around from early childhood, prompting Hasty to begin making art at a very young age," it said. He pursued his interest in art and earned a BFA from Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

"Hasty's work is inspired by Nineteenth Century landscape painters from the Hudson River school, along with Russian landscape painters including Arkhip Kuindji, Isaac Levitan, and Ivan Aivazovsky. Hasty's paintings can be found in public and private collections throughout the United States, as well as in Germany, France, Russia, South Korea, Mexico, and others," the release said.

Work by Sixbey is the newest addition to the gallery roster. Her painting "Safe in the Garden" "draws inspiration from Henri Rousseu's rich paintings of jungle foliage, while incorporating subject matter from her own garden. Since childhood, Sixbey has been interested in the study of all natural things that her environment offered her. Growing up, she observed and drew animals, landscapes, and her family and friends," the release said.

Sixbey pursued her artistic interests at the Memphis College of Art as a painting major and following college worked as a graphic artist and illustrator. She went on to become an art director at Buntin Advertising in Nashville, Tennessee, and later an art director at Towery Publishing in Memphis. In 2002, she continued her painting education with The Contemporary Realist Academy under the tutelage of Kate Manzo.

"Finally, I was among painters who were just as inspired by the old masters as I was," Sixbey said in the release. Manzo, who was trained abroad under Ted Seth Jacobs and others, shared her professional skills at the Contemporary Realist Academy that she and others founded in Memphis.

Beginning in 2010, she worked for eight years as an art therapist for Mid South Health Systems, an adult behavioral health company. During her employment, she founded "Art and Soul," an annual art show including works from over a hundred client artists and six counties.

"It was one of the most rewarding endeavors of my career, helping those realize their self-worth while on a creative journey towards recovery," Sixbey said. Her travels with her work also proved inspirational for her own artistic practice as she drove through the rural roads of the Arkansas Delta experiencing the seasonal changes that it offered. Sixbey's work has been exhibited and collected throughout the Mid-South.

Lasater "developed a love for art while working as a designer and illustrator for a division of Hallmark Cards. Fine art was a natural transition after years of study and practice," the release said.

Lasater now paints full time, both from his studio in Siloam Springs and on the road painting en plein-air. He also teaches workshops in venues around the United States and internationally. Lasater's honors include national plein-air painting awards, artist-in-residencies, feature articles in both Southwest Art and Plein Air Magazine, and additional press in Art of the West, Southwest Art, International Artist, and Plein Air Magazine.

Lasater's work is included in collections such as Bass Pro Shops, Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Fort Smith Regional Art Museum, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, Northwest Arkansas Community College, Lindenwood University, John Brown University, George and Peggy Rapp, Hamel Family Wines, Big Cedar Lodge Resort, Gaston's White River Resort, and the Illinois River Watershed Partnership.

Owned by artist Dolores Justus, Justus Fine Art Gallery, 827-A Central Ave., is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and by appointment. Call 501-321-2335 or visit justusfineart.com for more information.

photo "Safe in the Garden," by Kathryn Sixbey. (Submitted photo)

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