johan hagaman + jenny nelson

johan hagaman

shaping my intangibles


jenny nelson

sailing in place

may 6 - june 25, 2016

passing clouds. poetry. climbing vines. current events.  i am a collector of often unrelated and ambiguous images and ideas—not looking for anything in particular, but noticing patterns; and i try to process what it means-- how we have been shaped, and what is seeking to emerge--by making something formal.  being covered in vines, leaves, birds—a metaphor that has become a dominant theme in my work for some time—is both about paying attention and also about how what we are paying attention to determines how we shape our world, and are shaped by and tied to it in a circle of reciprocity. -johan hagaman 2016

my work has always been anchored in drawing. i spent years drawing and painting from life. this instilled a strong sense of space and structure. at some point i became more interested in the negative space surrounding the objects i was observing and modifying the objects themselves. i began to organically develop an abstract language, but the sense of structure and organization remained constant in the painting.

i apply paint in layers using palette knives, brushes and oil sticks. i initially draw loose gestures and a variety of spontaneous marks. often traces of previous layers remain visible, allowing colors to interact in ways i could not have anticipated. this process leaves me feeling quite lost a lot of the time, and i have had to learn to become comfortable with that feeling. this sometimes builds to frustration, and i will scrape off much of what was applied, but the result of doing this is often something wonderful that moves the painting forward.

i view the painting process as a collaboration between myself and the materials. a conversation starts that has a beginning and an end, but everything in between is unpredictable.  as the painting evolves, shapes and lines solidify, and i begin to see how the parts affect the whole. this way of layering, adding and subtracting, creates a history on the canvas. shapes have a story to tell. Lines that have been obliterated and resurrected over and over again have an emotional charge. this process that started as a wild party ends up as a contemplative carefully edited composition, involving precise modifications, while hopefully leaving the life force intact. -jenny nelson 2016

arless day + susan mcalister

arless day

mountains, gardens & private rooms 


susan mcalister

lost & in paradise

september 11 – october 31, 2015

opening reception with arless + susan

artist’s talk 7 pm


friday, september 11

6 to 8 pm

september 11 – october 31, 2015



when I did my first collage paintings back in 1988 i never dreamed what an impact it would have on my art and my life. searching through books, magazines and my own photographs give direction to every piece. the process of creating unique landscapes and interiors continue to keep my work fresh and exciting to do. breathing art in and breathing it out, through torn pages and paint has been timeless for me. in some ways, most of my time in this life has gone into all those collaged and painted pieces.

in this recent group of collage paintings, i'm approaching each piece with more paint, to give the surface a fresh looseness. trying to find the right balance of all I've learned over the past twenty -seven years of doing collage and gouache paintings.

this exhibition is filled with mountain landscapes that capture a moment in time.  the painterly mountains , winter's view and  deck chairs give a presence to the carolinas, a place i've called home for over twenty-five years. part of this year’s exhibition are gardens throughout the world, which are revealed in palace of granada , spring  and japanese lotus.  private rooms that look out on elephants in the african plains to a horse relaxing in front of a tudor estate . these interior/exterior landscapes such as african breezes , tudor estate and southern view always take you to a dreamlike setting.   interiors such as tiger sanctuary, daylight and editors' place show a distinctive modern space with painterly brushstrokes.

 doing art for more than forty years has always been a wonderful journey for me and this body of work represents this continued journey God has blessed me to create.--arless day 2015



 ‘lost & in paradise’ is rooted in a love of land and attraction to beauty. through the genre of landscape, i explore what it means to be human in this exquisite, unpredictable world. having grown up among rural virginia’s views and vistas, i’ve always identified with places where tamed sophistication intersects with wild, tangled nature.

 i am interested in challenging the viewer’s sense of place and time by combining the imagined and the real, abstraction and representation. what starts as a place just beyond the fence line unfolds into a moment in a metaphorical paradise. i introduce human presence, at first unseen, through abstract form and fleshy color. matisse, gauguin, and cecily brown are constant inspirations.

 the materials are central to each painting. i combine layers of paint, wax, marble dust, dirt and graphite to simultaneously construct and deconstruct. i have an affinity for mark-making and the freedom of the abstract expressionists. i allow each work to resolve at different levels of abstraction with the ultimate goal of luring the viewer into a personal sense of place and experience.

the artist resides in charlotte, nc. she also spends time in south carolina’s low country, virginia’s hunt country and montana’s ruby river valley.--susan mcalister, 2015

sally king benedict + kate long stevenson

sally king benedict

facing view 


kate long stevenson

variations on an untitled theme

july 17 – august 29, 2015


opening reception with sally + kate 

friday, july 17

6 to 8 pm



facing view

i wanted to create a body of work that blurred the line between figurative portraits and abstract landscapes.  they exemplify the bits and pieces of our photographic memories that reminisce on different places and times and the state of mind they put us in.

--sally king benedict

variations on an untitled theme

It's important to me that my paintings have a subject, despite how non-subjective some can seem. with my nude paintings, the figure is the vehicle that invites you to discover the true subject: the way it was painted. the abstracts have just skipped that introduction, altogether, but they're still about something--music, tempo, motion and emotion. it all comes from a feeling, but then the challenge is not only to translate that to the canvas but to have it make sense, compositionally.

--kate long stevenson

windy o'connor + virginia scotchie

windy o’connor

we'll always have paris 


virginia scotchie


may 1 – june 27, 2015



we'll always have paris

painting and creating is an intuitive process for me. i must trust that when i stand in front of my easel, that i will find my destination without a map. most of my work is void of subject. relying on visual memories to set a tone. a simple emotion of an event or time period will transform into color and composition. my latest work has been inspired by my travels to paris. the wonderful display of art and architecture as well as the beautiful gardens that accentuate the romance of the city have been muses for artists for centuries. the contrast of quiet and fanciful create a joy i can't describe. the light on the Seine is a haunting beauty. all of the senses are called to stand at attention in this great city.

along with color and composition, i am drawn to the process and action of my work. i am a lover of experimentation. the multitude of mediums and paints calls me to constantly research and play with new materials. the paintings do a lot of the work and act as a partner while working. they dictate what comes next like choice of medium, brush stroke, a mark, drips and pours, the use of ink, and or graphite. It is a sometimes beautiful dance and i must respond and follow or lead in every step. it is only when an emotion is stirred inside of my soul that i find the finished work in front of me. in this body of work i am seeking to find paris within me.


-windy o’connor, 2015


pollination is the process by which pollen is transferred from the anther (male part) to the stigma (female part) of the plant, thereby enabling fertilization and reproduction. pollination takes place in the flower bearing plants and is a necessary step in the reproduction of flowering plants. in our natural world, the pollination process is an interaction between flower and pollen.

my new body of work addresses the subject of pollination, through minimalist abstraction and repetition. in my ceramic sculptures i use duplication of form and color to address the variety of pollen colorations and the concept of our critical need for this process in our lives as humans living on this planet. using the cylindrical form as a springboard for this work i add repetitive shapes and movement through these shapes on each piece.

repetition seems fundamental to existence…the very process of pollination is a repletion of action and forms. all living things, both plants and animals, respond to the familiar, and seek repeated experience. similarly, the work i create is predicated on repetition. each iteration in repetition will seemingly be made up of a certain percentage of sameness, and a certain percentage of difference. it is this divergence from replication and the concept of pollination that my work addresses.

 -virginia scotchie, 2015

charles walker + francis livingston

march 6 - april 25, 2015


painting a painting is more about listening than speaking. while in the beginning you do find yourself doing most of the talking. “this goes here. this goes there. that works, and that looks awful so get rid of it.” these are the things you find yourself declaring with your gestures. at some point in this process the painting wakes up and starts chirping at you, making suggestions about what to do next. you will be well heeded to listen to the painting at this point. sometimes you get into an argument or have a different view of things with the painting and you have to ‘blow up’ a section. this happens. you move on and keep working.

at the end of the painting cycle the painting reaches a point of stillness as the painting tends to go silent. that’s when i know that i am done with this particular painting. sometimes i refer to this as the moment where the painting ‘disappears,’ offering no further instructions on what to do next. i then have to decide if i agree with the painting and move on or blow it up and keep going.

My paintings are a record of this dialogue or conversation I have with the object. The Art exists in the process, the call and response between artist and canvas where in the end the painting has the last say as to what works and I am simply left to agree. One thing I have learned is that the paintings are a lot smarter than I am so it is in my best interest to listen to what they have to say.

charles walker,  2015

architecture has long been a subject of painters.  i look back through history and artists that have had an influence on the evolution of my interest in painting buildings and they are a formidable group of painters. from john singer sargent to the ashcan school, george bellows, edward hopper, richard diebenkorn and so many others.

the particular section of the buildings, the facade, is the subject of this show. While working on the paintings, i find myself attracted to the abstract quality that is present in the structure.  the primary reason for buildings is to serve a function of housing, storage, shelter of some sort.  i don't concern myself with the architectural function.  when
i look at the facades i see shapes. i see light and dark.  there are details in columns and moulding.  things on the fronts of buildings are thick, thin, colorful, colorless, reflective, and to me, an endless source of inspiration for creating artwork.
we have all grown up and lived our daily lives walking down streets and passing stores and places of residence. even in small towns this occurs.  on holidays when the windows are decorated or there is something in particular that draws us to the building we pay attention to it.  mostly it is something we pass by on our way somewhere else.
even if we don't think so at the time, these building facades are etched in our memory, sometimes on a daily basis.

go figure!


go figure!

january 9  – february 28, 2015

katherine ace - bill braun - rick beck - sally king benedict - scott duce - philip geiger - sarah helser-  tony hernandez - johan hagaman - julia katz - page laughlin - joshua meyer - karen ann myers - kate long stevenson - sherrie wolf

hidell brooks gallery has always been enchanted by figure painting.   a figure painting is a work of art with the primary subject being the human figure, whether clothed or nude. figure painting may also refer to the activity of creating such a work. the human figure has been one of the constant subjects of art since the first stone age cave paintings, and has been reinterpreted in various styles throughout history.  we thoroughly enjoyed curating this exhibition and want to thank all of the wonderful artists for their participation.

sarah helser

sarah helser

until the light comes


november 7 – december 20, 2014

each time i create a painting it is in the hope to reshape the familiar into the numinous and magical essence of what it carries. it is the brief glimmering speck of a dream, made permanently tangible before it is lost in the waking hours. joining the realistic with the imagined breathes harmony in the contrast and reshapes and impacts the way we see.  in every piece there is a certain gravity combined with playfulness and whimsy, reflecting the seldom caught occasions of marvel in our ordinary lives.  seized for a moment, the paradise of childlike imaginings are not lost but remembered, hoped for, realized and resurrected in the mind. 


i paint as a way to make definite the combination of both experience and the deeply personal reflections of the imagination. i approach each painting with an openness, letting it become fully changed from any initial concept. completely understanding a narrative while i create is not important. instead i allow the imagery to lead me, a conversation that illuminates and pulls at the hidden longings and beauty of the heart.  using layering and multiple mediums, each painting forms and reforms until it comes into its own organic completion.  i myself am often surprised by its outcome. i cannot capture all of the world around me, so for a brief moment i marvel in the mystery that it has captured me. they are meant to stand as physical reminders, a moment to reflect that beauty is not lost, that the dreamer and the child still exist within.  they are the embodiment of these things, combined with the bittersweet gravity that years and life bring.  the hope though, is that the pulse of these works would soften the weight, standing as a strip of gold hiding in the crease of a grey morning.

--sarah helser, 2014

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david kroll

new paintings

september 5 – october 31, 2014

i paint personal refuges and interior landscapes - places to visit for solace and sanctuary. much of my work is intuitive.   i try to create a connection – however fleeting - between the viewer and the power of landscape, the web of life, the idea of nature itself.

i think about the natural world not as an expendable resource but as a memory of home, the subject of longing and dreams.  and  i am fascinated by vessels, the egg, the nest, the bowl, the landscape, the sky- the parts of nature that hold and contain, whether natural or man-made.  my paintings are also about contrast- the contrast between light and dark, movement and stillness, civilization and wilderness. these have been central themes of my work for many years

my blank canvases are approached without a predefined image and the painting is developed in a slow, organic way. painting in refined layers allows me to explore the narrative and emotional content of each composition over time. using this method, i try to express why a sunset fills us with wonder, why a certain quality of light can make a busy day suddenly still, and why the momentary sound of a bird call can seem - for that instant - like the most important thing in the world.  

--david kroll  2014


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women in abstract

women in abstract

 july 11 – august 30, 2014 

opening reception

 friday, july 11th

6 to 8pm

selena beaudry, sally king benedict, page davis, chris hayman, ruth ava lyons, jenny nelson, windy o'connor, virginia scotchie, kate long stevenson, amanda talley 



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selena beaudry

selena beaudry

color, cut, stripe + mark


may 2 – june 28, 2014


"color, cut, stripe and mark are the words that describe this body of work.  all four are the actions used to make the piles and the wall installation.  when making the paintings all of the words are physically represented with the exception of cut.  cut can be replaced in the paintings with the word stick. "

selena beaudry, 2014 


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ruth ava lyons + johan hagaman

ruth ava lyons

paradise lost


johan hagaman

a vine grows around it


march 7 –april 26, 2014


paradise lost

an eco-reading of milton’s epic poem paradise lost suggests ideas of stewardship of the land along with the monumental exploration of our inner selves. modern sensibilities can appreciate the story of the fall from grace, bringing “eden” into perspective during these crucial times of environmental crisis.  whether it be our understanding of our role in the control of wildfires in giant sequoia groves to protecting the health of phytoplankton microorganisms in the great barrier reef, we must all tend our garden and come to know the earth.  this work is a response to the conflicting forces in this shifting imbalance of paradise. 

--ruth ava lyons, 2014


a vine grows around it

weed.  dig.  dance.  observe. communicate.  pollinate.  bloom.  my art explores personal mythmaking, and the dualities-- fate/luck and choice, security and insecurity, belief and knowing— often involved in shaping our stories; and it also often references literature, mythology, the cosmos, current events , and especially the flora and fauna of my southern environment—and paradox.

                                                                        --johan hagaman, 2014


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arless day "timeless places"

 january 10 - february 28, 2014

a theme that is ever present in this exhibition is timeless places.  the unpredictable nature of these collage paintings lead me and inspire freshness for what I love to do.  the artist, marc chagall once said, “art must be an expression of love or it is nothing”.  my thirst for places of uniqueness have taken me on this creative journey. 

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15th anniversary group exhibition

march 15 - may 31, 2013

hidell brooks gallery is celebrating our fifteenth year anniversary with a special group exhibition in our newly renovated and expanded gallery. all gallery artists have created new works to commemorate our 15 years in the arts. we have continued with our tradition of introducing artists rarely exhibited in north carolina. this exhibition will be an excellent opportunity to view works by all of our artists who will be having upcoming solo exhibitions in the next several years.

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