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Artists Mary Jo Sims and John Turner at Berkeley Art Works

Retirement Idyl:  Artwork by Mary Jo Sims and John Turner is an exhibit of paintings, drawings, collage, prints and mixed media artwork by two Berkeley Arts Council members, on display at the Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street, Martinsburg.

Turner Powerball

John Turner loved to draw during his grade school years.  Until he attended classes through the Berkeley Arts Council, he had never taken an art class, or received formal art instruction.  “My experience with the instructors has stimulated a strong desire on my part to explore, risk, and discipline my artistic efforts.  The courses are conducted in such a manner that the studio time is encouraging, educational and socially engaging,” he says with enthusiasm.  He finds great pleasure in line drawings and vibrant colors.  Mixing media such as watercolor, ink, acrylic and colored pencil allows him to connect representative elements in an organic manner with more abstract vignettes.

Mary Jo Sims majored in fine art in college, where she was influenced by American Abstract Expressionists.  After reading Wassily Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art, she became interested in the deep connection between the spiritual and the aesthetic. She explored that connection while attending Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, in their Department of Religion and the Arts.  “I continue to resonate especially with Kandinsky’s improvisations, pieces that are divorced from subject matter and rely completely on color, line, and shape for meaning.  Color, and the lines and shapes formed by the juxtaposing and mingling of colors, provide the meaning of my recent works.  While there is some intentionality to the color application, I allow the initial flow of color on the paper surface to dictate much of the direction of the painting.”

The exhibit displays several of their individual works, but John and Mary Jo also collaborate on work and gain inspiration from each other.  Collaborative works in the exhibit show a beautiful harmony in their artistic styles and interests.  Retirement Idyl:  Artwork by Mary Jo Sims and John Turner is open until August 7th.  Business hours at the Berkeley Art Works are Wednesday – Friday, 11am to 5pm and Saturday 11am to 4pm.

The Berkeley Arts Council is a 501(c)(3) non‐profit organization incorporated in West Virginia working to ensure that Berkeley County has a vibrant, vital arts environment by promoting awareness, understanding and appreciation of the literary, visual and performing arts in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.  The Berkeley Arts Council supports local and regional artists, brings quality arts experiences to the community, and provides a wide range of arts learning experiences for local residents, artists and artisans.

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