NORTH WILKESBORO – The Wilkes Art Gallery (WAG) is proud to announce an exhibition of the beautiful oil paintings of Ward Nichols and the clay art of Nick Schneider which will open on Friday, October 22 and end on Friday December 17, 2021. Of Heart and Hand is just one of the many exhibits at WAG featuring the work of Nichols.
Nichols has been a full member of the Wilkes Art Gallery since moving to North Wilkesboro with his family in 1968. The staff and board of directors of the Wilkes Art Gallery are delighted to present the opening of this exhibition and invite you to join in our celebration of Nichols and the work of Schneider.
Ward Nichols is an internationally renowned painter from North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Nichols uses his medium to create a visual recording of things appreciated only now that they have faded from the common imagination: the steam engines, the ancient trees and the singing houses and barns of rural America. La Revue Moderne says: “Ward Nichols presents very neat canvases which create a strongly poetic and sometimes surrealist atmosphere. He has achieved a total mastery of his art, allowing him to treat all subjects with an astonishing expressive and figurative power, he goes beyond simple reality.
Nichols has been painting for over fifty years. At ninety-two, he still works regularly in his home studio while playing loud-voiced jazz. His home, which he designed himself, is filled with original works of art by other artists, sculptors and potters. The walls of his studio are covered with photos from his many international trips as a stuffed vulture watches from his perch on Nichols’ easel. Not many people know that Ward is color blind and paints exactly what he sees. A board to help color blind people mix paints hangs in his studio – directly behind the stool Ward sits on to paint.
Ward Nichols has participated in over 200 group shows, 170 solo shows in ninety-four different galleries and museums in twenty-four states. He has been represented in more than forty-six national and international exhibitions. Throughout his career, he received more than thirty major awards, including the Grumbacher Award of Merit from the El Paso Art Museum. His work is in the collections of the Huntington Museum of Art (WVA), Springfield Museum of Art (MA), Daytona Speed Museum (FL), El Paso Museum of Art (TX), Gutenberg Museum (Germany) and the Russell Museum (UK). Nichols’s work was
exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Birmingham Museum of Art (AL), Roanoke Fine Art Center (VA), Asheville Museum of Art (NC), Hickory Museum of Art (NC) and Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (NC).
Nick Schneider lives in Blowing Rock and is a Senior Art Instructor at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro. A long-time ceramist, he makes vases that are both functional and sculptural. Most of Schneider’s work is wood-fired in his train kiln, a style of pottery kiln that creates natural ash surfaces. Schnieder holds a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics from the State University of New York in New Paltz, NY, and a Bachelor of Arts in English Language from the University of Montana. Prior to joining the WCC faculty, Schneider was a professor at Marymount Manhattan College from 2005-2011 and an instructor at Greenwich House Pottery, an art school in New York City, from 2004-2011.
About the Wilkes Art Gallery
Founded in 1962 in the living room of Annie Winkler’s home, the Wilkes Art Gallery is now housed in the historic North Wilkesboro Post Office building dating from 1925. The original facade of the post office remains, but the interior s ‘is transformed into a 10,000 square foot facility comprising over 3,500 square feet of exhibition space, an education center with a full ceramic studio, painting and drawing studios, two multi-purpose classrooms and a gift shop with works of regional craftsmen. WAG is a non-profit arts organization that believes art enriches our community and the lives of residents of Wilkes County. WAG offers a variety of classes for all ages, workshops and eight art exhibitions throughout the year. We partner with community organizations for special outreach projects and entrance to the gallery is always free.
The Wilkes Art Gallery is located at 913 C Street, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 5 pm and Saturday 10 am to 2 pm. www.wilkesartgallery.org.