The WAE - Wilmington Area Art And Entertainment
Rainy Day Art Colony
Thursday, November 15, 2012 by Justin Lacy
I went out to the No Boundaries International Art Colony on Bald Head Island on a very wet and very cold Election Day Tuesday. (See my story for the StarNews.) Due to the horrible weather, the artists, who often work outside during the two-week long colony, were working inside their respective cabins, some of them sharing rooms.

It was interesting to see Catherine Lea and Leslie Pearson working in the same room, because their styles and mediums are so different.  Lea is a plein air painter, meaning she paints landscapes outside, but to cope with the rain she painted a Bald Head Island scene from a photograph she took.  Across the room, local artist Leslie Pearson pieced together a small component of a larger installation she’s working on for the No Boundaries International Art Colony 2012 Exhibition opening at ACME Art Studios from 6 – 9 p.m. Nov. 17.  Her mediums:  wire and hog gut.
That’s right, hog gut.
“It’s sausage casing, or hog intestine,” Pearson said.  “If you’re making sausage this is what you use, but it’s a beautiful membrane that’s translucent when stretched over wire. All sorts of interesting things can be done with it:  you can print on it, you can paint on it, you can stitch it.  But I love the translucent quality you can get out of the membrane itself.“
Pearson stretched the beige, rubbery membrane over a wire structure resembling fossilized coral, or the exoskeleton of some other tube-like sea creature, with two openings on either side.  She said that when she makes the opening and closings, she thinks of body orifices, namely eyes, ears and mouths, and the ways we communicate through seeing, hearing and speaking.
“I’m totally deaf in my right ear,” Pearson said, “so I’m always conscious of that:  the way we hear things metaphorically, differently, by our tones – how you can have so many easy misunderstandings of everything.  I am also thinking of these forms relationally and how they interact with each other.”
Like many of the other artists I spoke to, Pearson felt her work was affected by the environment:  both the natural environment – an oceanfront view, dug-up clay, dolphins and dead washed-ashore sharks – and the creative environment – artists sharing ideas, insight and energy (that’s Chad Harrell offering his input on Lea’s painting), all enhanced by dancing, communal meals, and Rekia, a Macedonian plumb liquor brought over by Sergej Andreevski.  Each artist also completed a 12” x 12” two-dimensional work to be displayed at ACME and sold to benefit the No Boundaries organization.
This was Pearson’s first trip to Bald Head Island, and her first stay at an artist’s colony.  It was a good experience.  She’d like to visit more international colonies, which should actually be relatively easy for her:  you can get hog gut at any butcher shop in the world.
Gayle Tustin of Wilmington, one of the co-founders of No Boundaries, works on a painting.
What:  No Boundaries International Art Colony 2012 Exhibition
Where: ACME Arts Studios, 711 N. Fifth Ave.
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Nov 17
Wilmington artist Bonnie England
Gllen Ziemkie of Vermont works on a painting.