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Combining Forces: Thrive art collective debuts new work at Bottega

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From the camaraderie of the beatniks to the coalescing muses found in an artist retreat, collectivity has always held a special place in the creative arena.  Back in 2008, a communal space was developed by a group of local innovators by way of Thrive Studios off Gordon Road. Their cultivation resulted in one of Wilmington’s most diversified spaces. However, economic downturn led Thrive to shut its doors in 2012. Despite not having a geographical location, the undeterred collective continued to create work, bounce ideas off each other and meet every Sunday for brunch.

Illusion of Motion

Illusion of Motion: Gaeten Lowrie uses wood grain to generate a sense of movement in his piece, ‘The Gild.’ Courtesy photo

As their namesake suggests, their artistic renderings continued to thrive. The brief setback only added fire to their passion.  They will debut their latest works at Bottega Wine and Art Bar this Friday.

Thrive member Gaeten Lowrie, head baker at 9 Bakery and Lounge, clearly extends his imaginative nature beyond the canvas. Waking early to create fluffy and decadent baked goods and sweet treats, he has, by no means, given up his artistic passions. Most well-known for his self-described “pop-surrealist” style, his vibrant palette is influenced by a previous interest in photography. It was in this field that he first found his footing in artistry.

Combining his talents through mixed-media, Lowrie’s generated a large painting of a woman with flowing hair who’s surrounded by flowers. The piece appears to be entirely painted at first glance. However, Lowrie used acrylics, oils, spray paint, charcoal, ink and paint pens to create a unified look of a whimsical world suspended in time and space.

In preparation for the upcoming exhibit, Lowrie continues to revel in depictions of females. he uses reclaimed wood, really exploiting the wood grain. “I’ll spend days examining the way that the wood grain goes and then use that organic movement to mimic skin.”

The wood grain emulates a sense of movement. Panting around them in a bold style, his series uniquely and sensitively portrays the women. Engendering the illusion of motion makes it all the more visually arresting.

Speaking nothing but words of praise and esteem for the artistic talents of his collective brethren, Lowrie makes sure to keep the show positively cooperative, without competition. Thrive memebers encourage, support, and take pride in each other’s work.Versatility demonstrates their individuality, from paintings to prints, sculptures to mixed-media, and more.

“I’m always impressed by what the guys come up with,” Lowrie tells. “Everyone is so talented. When I see a new piece, I always think: I didn’t think they could perfect their craft any further.”

Mike Watters, a sculptor, has created a new style that Port City art enthusiasts may have never seen. Using found wood, he incorporates broken glass from old TV screens in his final product. “He is essentially creating his own geodes,” Lowrie states.

Watters will have three pieces on display for the exhibition, plus he is making a geode table. Juxtaposing a man-made element and a natural element, he successfully draws comparisons between the synthetic and the unaffected world.

Other participating artists in the Thrive show include J. Lance Strickland (neo-cubism), Zak Duff (street art infused mixed-media paintings), Bryan Stacy (spray paint), Jason Jones (pen-and-ink drawings), Shaun Fenix (mixed-media paintings), Drew Swinson (abstract paintings), Scott Ehrhart (miniature sculptures), and Hazardo (mixed-media paintings). Each member’s work complements and captivates. As an added element to the opening, some of the collective members will be doing live paintings, as well, so patrons can have a glimpse into the creative process.

The exhibit will open this Friday at Bottega Wine and Art Bar with an opening reception occurring from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The collective’s work will hang through Saturday, June 8th.



Thrive Collective Show

Artwork by Gaeten Lowrie, Mike Watters, J. Lance Strickland, Zak Duff, Jason Jones, Shaun Fenix, Drew Swinson, Scott Erhardy and Hazardo
Bottega Wine and Art Bar
208 N. Front St.
Tues. – Wed. , 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Thurs. – Sun., 2 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Hangs through June 8th
Admission: Free

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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