Culture- ART FEATURE- Beast-ly art: Howe goes hog wild

If you're counting the days until the movie version of Charlotte's Web hits the multiplex next December, good news! You can get your farm-animal fix (no, not that kind of fix— get your mind out of the trough) right now by taking a gander at Pat Howe's exhibition of acrylic paintings, "Beyond the Barn Door," at Gallery@5th and Water.

As frothy and sweet as cotton candy at a county fair, Howe's bovine, porcine, canine, caprine, and galline portraits (those last two mean goat-ish and chicken-ish, respectively–see, this is what you call an educational column) contain no underlying irony or hint of social commentary, ala George Orwell. They're simply straightforward animal pictures competently painted.

Howe's broad strokes create multiple planes of color that convey both the variations in an animal's fur or feathers as well as the shaded dimensions of its body. Her brush, thick with paint, builds a beefy texture with visceral appeal. 

Sometimes Howe presents farm fauna in their natural milieu of pastures or chicken-wire enclosures. More often, though, she de-contextualizes her subjects by placing them against monochromatic or wallpaper-patterned backgrounds. Howe's speckled-egg backdrop is fine for several images of poultry, but her use of a coral harlequin pattern behind goats, and garish green dots, reminiscent of pebbled glass, behind chickens is less successful.

In addition, her framing tends to go overboard in the direction of cuteness (think of that feeling you get 15 minutes after eating cotton candy). In "Comin' and Goin'," a large frame made from horizontal pink clapboard, with inner and outer rims of weathered white wood, surrounds a small painting of forward-and-backward pigs. Granted, it's decorative– in fact, it's ideal for a toddler's room filled with white wicker furniture.

Fluff aside, Howe's real talent lies in her observation of the distinctive twitches and gestures specific to certain species. In "Which Came First?" two chicks on the lower right interact in classic chick-like fashion– one leans forward, claw raised, ready to peck the other, while its counterpart recoils slightly, twisting its head to eye at its aggressor. In Howe's strongest painting, the large "Take the High Road," two cows graze beside a wheat field on a clear-skied day, and one flicks its left ear just so, as if shaking off an unseen fly. 

Should you have a particular pig you want to capture for posterity, Pat Howe's the painter to call.

Pat Howe's exhibition of acrylic paintings, "Beyond the Barn Door," is on view at the Gallery @ 5th and Water through August 27. 107 5th St. (located in the upstairs entrance to Henderson & Everett And Stoneking/Von Storch). 979-9825.


Cult Art List

Published August 17, 2006 in issue 0533 of the Hook

The McGuffey Art Center is on its annual end-of-summer hiatus the last two weeks of August. 201 Second St. NW. 295-7973.

Second Street Gallery is on break and will to art action in September with an exhibition by photography "it girl," Anna Gaskill. 115 Second St. SE (in the Charlottesville City Center for the Arts). 977-7284.

Les Yeux du Monde features work by Gloria and David Lee through August 25. 5:30-7:30pm. 115 S. First St. 973-5566. 

The University of Virginia Art Museum presents "John Barber's Sketchbook: The Development of an Artist, through August 23. Also on view: "Humanism and Enigma: The Art of Honoré Sharrer," through August 20. 155 Rugby Road. 924-3592.

Through September, the main gallery of the University of Virginia's Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature and Culture, located in the new Special Collections Library, features "The Style of Power: Building A Nation," examining the art, architecture, and decorative arts popular in post-Revolutionary America. 972-4254. 

The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection hosts two exhibitions: "Mysterious Beauty: Edward L Ruhe's Vision of Australian Aboriginal Art," and "Manta Wiru (Beautiful Land): Paintings from Amata." Both shows remain on view through August 19. 400 Worrell Drive (Pantops). 244-0234.

The Charlottesville Community Design Center presents "Working to Rebuild Pearlington, Mississippi After Katrina," an exhibit by the Building Goodness Foundation, featuring photography by Will Kerner, Pete Syme, Clayton Cubbit, and numerous Building Goodness Foundation volunteers. On view through August 25. 101 E. Main St. 984-2232.

The Gallery @ 5th & Water presents "Beyond the Barn Door," an exhibition of acrylic paintings by Pat Howe, through August 27 in the upstairs foyer of Henderson & Everett and Stoneking/von Storch. 107 5th St. 979-9825. See Art feature, page XX.

The Creature Gallery offers wildlife photographer Hal Brindley's latest show, "Alaska," on view through October. 824 Hinton Ave. 284-1800.

Migration: A Gallery features its second summer show, "Inside / Out," featuring paintings by Lynn Boggess and ceramics by local fave Tom Clarkson. Also on view, "Elemental Harmonies," which showcases the work of painter Suzanne Howes-Stevens and metal artist, Jim Martin. Both shows run through August 31. Also in August, the gallery hosts the Charlottesville-Albemarle Art Association's 13th Annual Juried Show through August 29. 119 Fifth St. SE. 293-2200.

For the month of August, the C&O Gallery displays Jonathan Doner's "Textures and Transformations." 515 E. Water St. (next to the C&O Restaurant). 971-7044.

On August 18, John Trippel opens his exhibition of paintings depicting area locations at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Performing Arts Center. The show remains on view through mid-October. A reception is scheduled for August 18, 6-8pm. 1600 Melbourne Road (behind Charlottesville High School). 923-4544.

Art Upstairs features Peter Alamonte's "A Watercolor Retrospective: 1960s to the Present," on view through August 31. 316 E. Main St. (2nd floor of the Hardware Store). 923-3900.

The new Convergence gallery features work by aerosol street artists during August. 414 E. Main St. (in the basement under the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar). 825-8184.

Angelo presents Laura J. Snyder's "Lightness and Weight," an exhibition of paintings and works on paper that explore "a conflict between the physical and the spiritual," on view through August 31. 220 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 971-9256.

During August, HOME showcases new paintings and mixed-media pieces by Andrew Hersey. A portion of all sales will benefit the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA. 126-D Garrett St. (in the Gleasons Building). 293-2812.

Mono Loco displays an 11-artist group show, "Wherever You Go, There You  Are," through August 31. 200 W. Water St. 409-7556,

In August, La Galeria presents Roger Lehr's exhibition of oils and acrylics entitled, "Differences." 218 W. Market St. (next to Vinegar Hill Theatre). 293-7003.

August 1-31, C'ville Coffee presents "Whitmans– A Sampling of Media and Subjects from the Paintings of Judy Carraway." 1301 Harris St. (across from Circa). 817-2633.

Mudhouse presents post-Katrina photography by John Shepherd, on view in August. 213 W. Main St. 984-6833.

During August, Order from Horder presents work by photographer Cary Oliva. 425 E. Main St. 293-9166.

Laura Lee Gulledge presents "99 Versions of Laura Lee on the Wall," on view at the Starr Hill Gallery during August. 709 Main St. 989-2554.

The 5th Floor Gallery at Keller Williams Realty features an August show of Heliardo Aragao's work along with work by painter Gidey Gezahey. Habitat for Humanity receives 10 percent of all sales. 300 Preston Ave., Suite 500. 220-2201.

Sage Moon Gallery presents "Essence Revealed," an exhibition of work by ceramic sculptor Diann Schindler, on view through August. 420 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 977-9997.

The latest installment in poet Laurance Wieder and artist Andrea Korotksy's "Poem House:Songs in the Landscape" features the painted window, "The Last Century," and the take-it-with-you poem, "My Glasses Flew Off," in the Poem Tube. The installment runs through September 15. Front yard of 2331 Highland Ave. 295-5057.

Through August 31, the Boar's Head Inn Store presents artwork in various media by Mary Boxley Bullington, Gray Dodson, Jeanette Buys, Jack Cacciatore, and Kirk McCauley. Rte. 250W. 977-2241.

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Art Association's new members show, featuring work by Lucia Bakewell, Michael Bednar, Joy Cross, Christine Rich, and Marcy Springett, is currently on view upstairs at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport. 295-2486 or 973-9700.

The Central Virginia Watercolor Guild displays new watercolor, pastel, acrylic, and mixed-media work at the Albemarle County Courthouse through October 31. 410 E. High St. 964-1423.

In August, Transient Crafters presents Meg West's latest exhibition of regional landscapes entitled "Summer Views." 118 E. Main St. 972-9500.

White Orchid Restaurant shows "Photographs of Vietnam" by the late Georgia Barbour through August 31. 420 W. Main St. 297-4400.

Glo is currently showing paintings by Christian Peri. 225 E. Main St. on the Downtown Mall. 295-7432.

Blue Ridge Beads & Glass displays new paintings and art glass by Jerry O'Dell. 1724 Allied St. 434-293-2876.

L'étoile Restaurant displays paintings by local artists Barry Gordon, Malcolm Hughes, and Christian Peri. 817 W. Main St. (across from the Amtrak Station). 979-7957.


Washington and Lee University's Williams School of Commerce presents "Art Song," an exhibition of etchings, monotypes, relief prints, and lithographs by Judith Kahn. The show runs through September. Lexington. 540-458-8602.

The Artisans Center of Virginia presents ceramicist Dan Finnegan's show, "New Kiln-New Studio-New Work" during August. 601 Shenandoah Village Road (Exit 94 off I64), Waynesboro. 540-296-3294.

Orange's Corner House Gallery features Virginia landscapes and architecture studies by Linda Bourdreaux Montgomery and Virginia Unakite, along with jewelry by Coryne Simone LaBry. 173 W. Main St. 540-672-5019.

Richmond's Virginia Museum of Fine Arts presents a rotating series of paintings under the umbrella title of "An Enduring Legacy: Paintings Acquired Through the J. Harwood and Louis B. Cochrane Fund for American Art." 200 N. Boulevard. 804-204-2704.

Through October 8, Madison's Sevenoaks Pathwork Center features "Organic Studies," a show of photography by Ruth Adams. 540-948-6544.

Lovingston's The Eye of the Beholder gallery offers "Stopping Points," featuring paintings, drawings, and photographs by Elizabeth Hutson. Located in the Packing Shed on Front St. 996-5058.

The Barn Swallow features pottery by Janice Arone and Mary Ann Burke, plus other handcrafted artwork. Route 682 off 250W. 434-979-4884.

The Ed Jaffe Gallery features paintings and marble sculptures by Ed Jaffe, plus abstract photographs by Marc Jaffe. 108 W. Main St., Orange. 540-672-2400. 


The Fluvanna Heritage Trail Foundation Art Show invites entries for its annual exhibition on October 6. Works created within the last three years are eligible for entry, and the deadline is September 28. Entry forms are available at Maggie's House in Palmyra, the Fluvanna County Library, the Community Center in Fork Union, and the McGuffey Art Center in Charlottesville. For more info., contact Windy Payne, 434-296-5243, or email

The Scottsville Council of the Arts invites submissions of painting, sculpture, and other media—but not photography—for its "Fine Art Show" during JamesFest, October 13-22. Deadline for application is September 15. For more information or an application visit or call 286-4945, 429 Valley St., Scottsville.