Art review: Folk artist Sam Ezell's idealistic visions of Hillsborough | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Monday, August 31, 2015

Art review: Folk artist Sam Ezell's idealistic visions of Hillsborough

Posted by on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 3:34 PM

click to enlarge "The Old Library" by Sam Ezell - PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE'S ART TRUCK
  • photo courtesy of Mike's Art Truck
  • "The Old Library" by Sam Ezell
Picture Hillsborough: Folk Art by Sam Ezell
The Orange County Historical Museum
201 N. Churton St., Hillsborough
Through September 25


Self-taught painter Sam Ezell portrays the buildings of Hillsborough with optimism and idealism. He paints some of the historic 18th-century buildings the town is known for, but he also paints local businesses including Latta Brothers Tractor Service and Dual Supply Company.

Ezell’s paintings have been making their way around town this year—first, in a group show at the Orange County Main Library; then, in a summer show at the Hillsborough Visitors Center. Now, a group of 12 paintings are on display on the second floor of the Orange County Historical Museum in Picture Hillsborough: Folk Art by Sam Ezell. It includes a new painting of the museum, “The Old Library,” alongside previously shown paintings of the Hillsborough Visitors Center, Durham House, the Burwell School and more.

click to enlarge "Tear Drops" by Sam Ezell - PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE'S ART TRUCK
  • photo courtesy of Mike's Art Truck
  • "Tear Drops" by Sam Ezell
A longtime resident of Hillsborough, Ezell does maintenance work at The Shops at Daniel Boone, where he also has a studio and workshop. He describes his background as “carpenter-type work,” and it’s only within the last decade that he began painting. A friend suggested that Ezell try it, and he found he enjoyed it. Mentioning that he’s now 62, he says, “I hope I keep on painting until the day I die.”

Ezell started painting houses for Habitat for Humanity, for both the owners of the houses and donors. Familiar with those paintings, the owners of Mike’s Art Truck suggested he paint pictures of houses in Hillsborough. Owned by Greg and Karen Mack, Mike’s Art Truck is a folk-art gallery that moved from Atlanta to Hillsborough in 2012. It's named after the Macks' cat, and there is no truck. It presents work by self-taught artists such as Ezell on its website and by organizing shows like these. Following the Macks' suggestion, Ezell started taking photos of various buildings, which he works from in order to capture each one’s details.

click to enlarge "Visitors Center" by Sam Ezell - PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE'S ART TRUCK
  • photo courtesy of Mike's Art Truck
  • "Visitors Center" by Sam Ezell
There’s an appealing graphic flatness to the bright acrylic colors. Ezell tends to paint straight-on views of buildings, placed in the center of the canvas. He adds green lawns, bright blue skies, white clouds, V-shaped birds and a few trees on the sides. But his approach resists feeling formulaic because of the attention he pays to unique details—the teardrop-shaped windows of the Inn at Teardrop; the first- and second-floor balconies of Twin Chimneys. The result is a joyful celebration of each building’s distinctiveness.

Ezell says that he likes it when his paintings make people happy. However, I see them as achieving more. They present us with spirited views of these historic Hillsborough buildings, allowing us to look at them again—or for the first time—with fresh eyes and new attentiveness.

For more Ezell, see Just for Fun: More Folk Art by Sam Ezell through Sept. 18 at the Hillsborough Visitors Center (150 E. King St.). 

Tags: , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

In the last 5 years, 11 of the 15 musicals NRACT produced were premieres in the region. I commend them …

by James Ilsley on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

Instead of luxury apartments(AHEM Carborro) and new restaurants, build more parking?!(Just one parking garage would help a lot, cover it …

by ammi on The Bookshop Brought Many Rare and First Editions—and Two Famous Cats—to Franklin Street for Thirty-Two Years (Arts)

Most Recent Comments

In the last 5 years, 11 of the 15 musicals NRACT produced were premieres in the region. I commend them …

by James Ilsley on Theater Review: Dogfight's Regional Premiere at NRACT Is Rich in Emotion But Meager in Staging (Arts)

Instead of luxury apartments(AHEM Carborro) and new restaurants, build more parking?!(Just one parking garage would help a lot, cover it …

by ammi on The Bookshop Brought Many Rare and First Editions—and Two Famous Cats—to Franklin Street for Thirty-Two Years (Arts)

WELCOME TO THE GREAT BROTHERHOOD.
Do you want to be a member of Illuminati as a brotherhood that will make …

by peter bello on Movie Review: A Dog's Purpose Rolls Over and Plays Dead Under Its Own Heart-Tugging Weight (Arts)

The last thing Chapel Hill needs is another damn restaurant.

by Chrysser on The Bookshop Brought Many Rare and First Editions—and Two Famous Cats—to Franklin Street for Thirty-Two Years (Arts)

Wow. I guess you can't recognize brilliant satire when you see it. This was an amazing performance that if you …

by Sam Bayer on ADF Review: Hillel Kogan's We Love Arabs Lags Behind a Cultural Conversation Already Well Underway in Our Region's Performing Arts Scene (Arts)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation