By Kathy Collins

The art exhibit in the John Crawford Gallery at the SouthShore Regional Library in Ruskin for the months of March and April features the paintings of two incredibly talented local artists. Melanie Feldman is a mixed media artist and Lew Jackson paints with oil and watercolor. You can view the exhibit at any time during the normal operating hours of the library now through the end of April.

Melanie Feldman

Feldman is a resident of Apollo Beach. She will exhibit 16 mixed media pieces. Her exhibit is titled, The Painter of Women, A Retrospect. Feldman explained, “I chose this title because my work is a celebration of all women.”

Feldman has been creating art since 1965.

“I feel as though the art I create is an extension of myself. My intention is to give voice to all women and their most inner most feelings as well as their life passages. I want women to look at each other, not from their difference, but by their commonality.”

Feldman added, “My work is a culmination of personal experiences that I have had while working and traveling all over the world for 30 years. I have had the privilege of living with people in many countries. I have crossed socio-economic and language barriers, political and religious differences only to find more commonalities than differences. I would love to have my art express the complexity of women by showing the many facets of emotions and challenges we all must go through in life.”

Feldman’s work is colorful and truly expressive. You will be inspired by her creativity.

Art Coordinator for the SouthShore Regional Library Laurie Burhop said, “Melanie Feldman does some unusual work celebrating women.”

Lew Jackson

Jackson is a resident of Riverview. He spent 20 years in the Air Force and more than 30 years living and working all over the world. He has been an artist all of his life. Jackson will have 14 pieces in the exhibit.

Jackson is a member of the Florida Watercolor Society and the official Coast Guard Artist. No matter where Jackson has lived, he has set up a studio. A review of his work is like taking a trip through time and cultures. For Jackson, painting is an antidote to stress. “I paint what I feel like painting, ” explained Jackson whose art has evolved from paintings of people and places to more abstract art. All of his art has a story or meaning behind it.

Jackson has been inspired artistically by the cultures he immersed himself in over the years. This is particularly true of Greece. He has named several of his more recent pieces Oikodomas with a number. The word oikodomas means “the builder.” Jackson said of some of the recent abstract pieces, “These paintings portray, for me, a building of the human psyche and a component of African heritage, namely the use of dazzling colors.
With a display of advancing and receding, converging and diverging, vertical and horizontal, lines and geometric shapes, I try to translate to the viewer the ecstasy and inspiration I witnessed in establishing a kinship with Greek architecture.”

Burhop said of the combined exhibit, “Both artists who are showing during the months of March and April are accomplished artists.”

The SouthShore Regional Library celebrates the creativity of local artists in its bimonthly art exhibits. The library is conveniently located at 15816 Beth Shields Way in Ruskin. For more information, contact Burhop at 672-1155.