Fenix Fayetteville to highlight the work of Fayetteville artist Jan Gosnell in September

Fayetteville artist Jan Gosnell / Courtesy

Fayetteville art gallery Fenix Fayetteville will feature the paintings and drawings of local artist Jan Gosnell this month.

The gallery will highlight Gosnell’s work during the month of September at the gallery in a new show titled Good Humor.

The title is apt for Gosnell’s work, which we’ve admired in local galleries for years now, and is instantly recognizable for its playfulness.

Here’s a description of the show:

For several hundred years, traditional makers of pictures have felt compelled either by themselves or by their audience to title the images they produce. Current titles are most frequently found on accompanying cards near the work they describe. Many artists have found this naming distasteful, perhaps because it seems to limit the sensual perception of the image they are attempting to convey, or they may just feel aggravated by the traditional pressure to help the viewer understand a picture’s “meaning”.

Gosnell’s work, on view through September 28th at the Fenix Gallery is a reversal of this aversion to naming in the sense that with each piece, the title comes before the image, serving as inspiration for the finished piece. Gosnell challenges himself to find the exact words and images that work together for him as the subject of a drawing or painting, and then to use the title as a graphic aspect of the work itself. His choices for titles and imagery are arrived at by happenstance and are chosen for the reason that they pictorially challenge him in both the intuitive sense and the demand for a certain disciplined application of skill.

The humor in the work is at times intentional and at times incidental. In search of a subject, the question always becomes, “is this idea worth the time and work necessary to make it.” Sometimes, there is only one way to find out. Fenix Artists will respond to the spirit of Gosnell’s work and offer variations on the theme of “Good Humor”.

Gosnell’s career has spanned decades, where he has worked as a picture painter, university art instructor, gallery owner, commercial art director, movie sketch artist, editorial cartoonist, and author/illustrator. He has shown work throughout the region.

The new exhibit officially opened today (Sept. 4), and runs through the 28th. An opening reception to celebrate the new show is set Thursday, Sept. 5 to coincide with First Thursday festivities on the square. To go along with the show, there will be live jazz, and refreshments will be served.

For more on Gosnell’s work, visit fenixfayetteville.com.