Andrea Wilkinson and Christie Coker 's  exhibition, “Only the Forest Knows…,” will be on view December 3, 2022 through January 5, 2023 at Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy, Houston, Texas 77006. The artists will be available to visit with guests during the opening reception on Saturday, December 3, 2022, from 5 – 8 p.m. with an Artist Talk at 6:30 p.m.

“Keep close to nature’s heart and break clear away, once in a while, …spend a week in the woods, wash your spirit clean.” This quote by John Muir serves as inspiration for Andrea Wilkinson and Christie Coker as they express their love of nature. “Only the Forest Knows…” is a collaborative effort combining Wilkinson’s exquisite sculptural portraits of wild animals with Coker’s textural paintings which are evocative of the environs in which these animals live. In the words of Muir, each artist believes that, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

For this show, Andrea Wilkinson has created sculptures inspired by the wild animals that live among us, for animals are highly adaptive in sharing our forested neighborhoods and yards. Even large animals such as deer have learned to make allowances for, and take advantage of, our proximity carrying on with their lives while our lives are enriched by their presence. Wilkinson has incorporated a variety of media and a bit of whimsy to suggest textures of fur and feather. As always, her goal is to find that emotional connection to each animal and share that connection with the viewer.

Growing up in Oklahoma, Andrea Wilkinson’s love of and interest in animals led her to major in Zoology in college and later to volunteer as a docent at the Houston Zoo. As an artist, she is naturally drawn to animals as subject matter for her sculptures. Her art training comes from attending numerous workshops in New Mexico and Arizona and classes at the Glassell School and Art League Houston. She works primarily in two media, clay to be cast in bronze and papier mache.’ Wilkinson is represented by Archway Gallery in Houston and Galleries at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her work is included in collections both public and private.

Christie Coker’s artwork in this collection is inspired by the beauty found in nature’s offerings. Whether it’s through the inspection of a bird’s nest or gazing at the moon through tree branches, it’s the intricate detail of nature that draws her in and captivates her artistic muse. Her acrylic paintings are on textured surfaces where the creative process includes spontaneous development allowing each painting to simply lead the way on this artistic journey. In agreement with Muir, Coker feels that wandering through a forest is the perfect way to “lose her mind and find her soul.”

Christie Coker received her degree in Education with a specialization in Art from Lamar University. In addition to post-graduate hours in art, she has also studied at the Glassell School in Houston and has participated in local, as well as regional, workshops which encourage artistic growth. Her artwork is included in private collections throughout the United States, South America, and Europe. Coker has been represented by Archway Gallery since 2001.

Archway Gallery, one of Houston’s and the nation’s oldest artist-owned and operated galleries, is located at 2305 Dunlavy and is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 – 5 p.m. Since 1976, Archway Gallery has been exhibiting the work of the area’s finest artists, providing a great selection of affordable, high quality art including sculpture, pottery, and painting in a variety of media and styles. One of the more than 30 member artists is always on site, providing visitors a unique experience to meet the artists who created the work, offering a personal insight into the process. With 30 artist-members, Archway Gallery is the destination in the Houston area for affordable art directly from the artist. For more information, visit ArchwayGallery.com or call 713-522-2409.
 

Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and The Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com for additional highlights and artist’s stories.

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