COASTAL SPIRIT: Mark Gansor and Carole Osman capture beauty in local landscapes and iconic structures
With our pristine coastline, intricate architecture and streets lined with lush foliage, Wilmington is a gold mine for artists drawn to nature and historical monuments. Local artists Carole Osman and Mark Gansor share a love for capturing the beauty in their surroundings—whether natural or man-made. Both artists’ paintings, featuring scenes near and far, make up Art in Bloom Gallery’s current exhibit, “Catching the Spirit.”
“I have been an artist my entire life,” Osman says. “But to make money, I taught art.”
Osman was born in New York City and graduated from State University College at Buffalo with a degree in art education. After graduating, Osman spent much of her adult life teaching in different parts of the world through the Department of Defense Dependents Schools, including in New Mexico, Florida, Saint Croix, South Korea, Japan, Turkey, and Germany.
“I was an art teacher everywhere I went,” she states—“except for New Mexico, where I was a language arts teacher. I also was a language arts reading specialist in Florida.”
Originally, Osman created woodblock prints, and even underwent a two-year independent study of the craft with Frank Eckmair, a master printmaker. These days she mainly works with acrylic and pastels in her paintings.
“Nature is what always gets me back into painting,” Osman tells. “I started painting landscapes when I was in Germany and did a huge flower series.”
During her time there, Osman moved away from the rural areas and into a city, where she grew accustomed to painting what she referred to as “roofscapes.” “I was concentrating on the roofs where they met the sky,” she says. “They almost looked like mountains to me.”
Osman tends to create more realistic paintings that take on an abstract piece once in a while. The abstract work acts like her creative reset.
“When I do projects that are more realistic, I build up a lot of tension,” Osman explains. “So, when I do a project that’s abstract, it relieves that tension. All of the energy comes out into the abstract painting. Then I go back to starting something realistic again.”
In “Catching the Spirit” guests will see a blend of both styles of work. Some pieces depict detailed landscapes of places she’s visited. Others convey a feeling of a particular subject through shapes and colors.
“My newest works are small abstract paintings I started working on after finishing some Japanese print work,” Osman says, “which were of cultural icons, rather than landscapes. They were more realistic and created with pastels.”
As with Osman, guests will see both nature-inspired paintings and paintings of structures and objects from Gansor. Born and raised outside of Pittsburgh, PA, Gansor is a classically trained musician with a BA in music from Duquesne University and a master’s degree in music from East Carolina University. Along with recently becoming director of music ministries at St. Andrew’s On-the-Sound Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Gansor is a self-taught painter with a studio at The ArtWorks.
“I began my career in the late ‘90s as a decorative painter, which kept me hopping all over eastern NC and SC, painting finishes, murals, and applying Venetian plasters in commercial and residential settings,” he says. “During that time, I dabbled in canvases.”
Several of the buildings in which Gansor has painted are listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. Gansor would say his intensive background in music is likely what sparked his interest in architecture of churches.
“Acrylics are my primary medium applied in a thick impasto style onto canvas,” he states. In his artist statement, Gansor also notes how painting canvases has allowed his personal style to develop. “Inspiration can come from walking out the front door,” he quips. “Wilmington is a wealth of history and architectural ornament, which has always been of keen interest. Much inspiration can be found in examining the works of the masters. I try to study painting and art from all periods, which has been a great influence in my own work.”
While Gansor’s collection in the exhibit features several natural scenes from France, guests will notice local scenes, too, like the Cape Fear Riverwalk and Bellamy Mansion. “The message of the exhibit is to catch the beauty and visceral energy of the world around us,” Gansor says.
“Catching the Spirit: Images by Mark Gansor and Carole Osman” at the Art in Bloom Gallery is currently open to the general public will remain until April 7. Admission is free and all works of art are available for purchase.