Exhibit Opening at the Dr. Gene Prough Center for the Arts

Breaking Free: Dark Energy Dark Matter

Paintings by Margaret Schnebly Hodge

Opening Reception Thursday, January 22, 6:00-7:30 P.M.

Dr. Gene Prough Center for the Arts at Chipola College

Dr. Gene Prough Center for the Arts3094 Indian Circle, Marianna, FL         January 22 through March 1.

Join visual artist Margaret Schnebly Hodge at the opening reception January 22, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at the Prough Center for the Arts, Chipola College, 3094 Indian Circle, Marianna, FL. The exhibit of oil paintings and other media runs through March 6, 2015.The visual art gallery is open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to noon. Admission to the gallery is free.

Throughout her career Hodge has enjoyed concurrent successes in both the commercial graphic and fine art fields. Long appreciated as an abstract figurative and landscape painter using a dark and rich palette and with a philosophical preoccupation with concepts of physical and emotional restraint, many works in this exhibit show Hodge’s aesthetic expansion beyond the sense of earth-bound considerations.

Breaking Free

Of her newest works, Gary R. Libby, Director Emeritus of the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach, says, “The qualities of light in a dynamic cosmos, the existence of supernovas, the qualities of dark stars, dark matter, dark energy, baryonic clouds of matter and ideas about anti-matter all seem to find a place in Hodge’s richly painted visions of a beautiful and powerful apocalypse on the heels of contemporary science’s early penetration into the mysteries of creation and destruction in our universe. In many ways Hodge’s new work artistically begins to bridge important elements of this new science with the eternal beauty and mystery of the Heavens.” To read more of his essay click here.

Devoting most of her time to the creative process and working privately in her Ormond Beach studio, Hodge has recently exhibited this series of work selectively with exhibitions at Daytona State College, Daytona Beach; the Karpeles Manuscript Museum, Jacksonville; and now at the Gene Prough Center for the Arts. To view images of the Breaking Free Exhibit click here. An award winning artist, her work can be found in private, public, and institutional collections. She also produces a professional blog on art books and exhibits.

Make it to Miami – Tips for next year! LOL

  • PLAN to have fun, but remain flexible as sometimes the unexpected is even better than the planned.Miam Basel entry
  • TOLLS are mailed to you via “plate”, so don’t freak out at the camera flashes while driving.
  • GET A MAP of the event areas and study it so you don’t get frustrated.
  • CASH ON HAND is important for tipping and for parking. Parking can be $25 and up at events.
  • WEAR WALKING SHOES as you can miss some cool sites if you drive. Being comfortable means you get to do more before you get tired.
  • LADIES USE SMALL HANDBAGS so they don’t have to be searched.
  • CAMERAS were okay in all events I attended, but I just used my phone. Document but don’t spend your time looking at “real” art behind the lens of a camera.

Miami is inspiring! The architecture, foliage, and quick stepping residents make it a lively experience. I pulled in front of my small boutique hotel, La Flora, in the 1200 block of Collins Ave around 2 p.m. The drive took about 5 hours from my home in Ormond Beach. Driving up Collins I called the hotel as like many hotels they can only provide off-site parking. The attendant, Carlos, quickly came out to help me and called the valet service ($30 per day, cash only!).   La Flora is a thoughtfully upgraded original deco style hotel. Through Booking.com I ended up in a suite with 2 queen beds and a view of Collins Avenue, a lounge area with kitchen, and a bathroom with over-sized tub. I soon found that all hotel staff were “gracious” and professional, a concept lost on many in the service industry today.

Enjoyed the deco suite!

Enjoyed the deco suite!

I felt a bit selfish going alone to the event and the “suite” enhanced my guilt for a moment. However I was on a mission to be immersed in art and let things simply unfold so was traveling light on multiple levels. My “must do” game plan for the limited time I had included the Rubell Family Foundation, Context and Art Miami, and Art Basel.

I quickly freshened up and headed out to Lincoln Road Mall, a nearby busy shopping/restaurant area created by closing off streets. It was pretty crowded and I got hailed at 3 different beauty salons as I walked by – really? I don’t think I looked that bad. I did run into the local Art Center South Florida – fabulous

Art Center 1

Art Center on Lincoln.

amazing studios where 44 local artists worked – I was ready to move down. Disappointingly I learned that after 30 years in the location the building had sold and they had to move elsewhere. Isn’t that the way? Artists help improve an area and once it takes off commercially artists can’t afford the rent and move – gypsies for art we are. I found several galleries here: David Castillo Gallery created a “pop up gallery” for the art fair week showing works by several contemporary artists; a Romero Britto shop where you could buy his art on almost anything; and a gallery of works by Peter Lik, the Australian Photographer whose sublime landscape imagery has sold for millions according to a website– what a life, but someone has to do it, right?

I got up early the next day and enjoyed a light breakfast provided free by the hotel.  I wanted to avoid traffic so by 9 a.m. I was headed west over the bridge towards the Art Miami and Context grounds to park. Parking was $20 and up (remember cash only!). The Rubell Foundation opened at 9 a.m. and was two blocks away so I walked there from my parking space in a lot just east of Context. Please accept my apologies in advance for not having the titles and artists names – I was looking and forgot to capture the data.

Rubell Family Foundation 1

A collection of aesthetic discovery.

Upon entering the Rubell Family Foundation at 95 NW 29th Street I followed the crowd to find 50 folks sitting at 50 cakes in the back outdoor art space. This charming performance breakfast by daughter Jennifer Rubell celebrates Don and Mera Rubell’s 50 years of marriage and collecting together – about 6,000 contemporary works of art. Unable to get close enough for a taste or pictures I moved quickly on to the galleries where there was an intriguing mix of 3-D, 2-D, and video. Each of the works was accompanied by a specific explanation by the artist about their piece and/or meeting the Rubells which I found meaningful. The collection features artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol. They continue to expand the collection and maintain their original approach of championing emerging artists. You can visit this space mid-December thru the end of May limited days / hours of the week. This is a must see space each time I go to Miami as the exhibits change. Admission is free. I pre-ordered their new book on the collection coming out December 2014 – getting it before Christmas.
Context Art Miami 4
At 10:30, I took off to Art Miami (and Context) that opened at 11:00. A few years back I enjoyed the smaller gallery exhibits set up in the rooms of the Aqua hotel on Collins, but didn’t have enough time this year. The two fairs include a great deal of emerging artists and new technologies as well as well known names. Being from Ormond Beach it is a delight to discover “new materials and methods” for producing and exhibiting art; ideas typically found in larger cities where industrial and engineering factories are nearby. For me new materials does not equate to art I want to spend much time with or methods I want to include in my own process today – I just tuck it away for a day when it might be useful.
Context Art Miami 3

Context Art Miami 2

Washington Ave and 17th

Trees…Miami style!

At 2:00 p.m. I drove my car back to park at my hotel. Traffic was getting challenging so I decided to walk to Basel. I took a route down Washington Avenue which crossed Espanola Way where the aroma from an authentic Cuban restaurant confirmed for me where I would eat dinner later. Washington is a thriving business street that runs north to 17th Street. At 17th and Washington, under the metal encased “tree plants, I ran into a gentleman with a “which way now” look mirroring mine. We chummed up for the balance of the journey to the Convention Center and decided to follow the crowd flowing further west on 17th….then north again.

Miami Basel 1 - Calder

Super Calder – AWESOME.


Arriving at 3 p.m., the exact opening time of the first “regular folk” day for Art Basel, the line was not too long and there were 8 ticket windows moving people through. Shuffling into the main entryway I could see a good size crowd in front of me, but there was only a slight delay to get in. Entering in to the first wide open gallery space my eyes popped at the size of the Calder in the expansive entry area. I had never seen a Calder this large. What a welcome card!


Respite at Basel

Rolling hills for the weary.

Once fully imbedded in the pedestrian flow, I forgot to look at my map and kept ending up in the same place (easy to do) – My thought -DON’T PANIC! There were plenty of areas to sit to get your bearings – so I did. My goal was to see every gallery exhibit. Notice that I did not say every piece of art and even with all I saw I am sure I missed some fabulous works. Since the city wide art fairs are really groups of “gallery” festivals you might feel like you stepped into a circus with its sideshows. Each gallery has its own personality – from silver haired blue chip gentry reps to contemporary sophisticate reps who look like art themselves (where do they get these lookers?), with art from images hidden behind magic mirrors, accordion like 3-D paper acts, in your face erotica,

Miami Basel - White Cube Gallery - Damien Hirst

Yep…It’s Damien without diamonds.

Miami Basel 2

My apologies – no information- but WOW

Art at Miami Basel

Lush lush lush…sorry no information.

Art at Miami Basel

Catchy ain’t it? – sorry no information.

Sculpture at Miami Basel

The flowers kept me (and others) from swinging those legs. Sorry no information. Check out the sweet painting behind it.

large sculptures that have a playful feel of “souvenir chotchkie” or kaleidoscopes, to intermittent respites of truly mysterious thought provoking art if you can pull your eyes away from novelties – which of course I did. If you choose to go, you will celebrate the use of all your senses. You have total freedom of expression here so feel free to guffaw, be disturbed, be amazed, hate it, wonder WTF and fall in love all at the same time within every 100 feet of multi-gallery hallway – miles of it! Enjoy – I did!

A Studio Moment with Toni Slick

Toni in her home studio.

Toni at home in her studio.

Currently showing at the Global City Center, Cobb & Cole, 7th floor, 149 S. Ridgewood Avenue, Daytona Beach through the end of October 2014. Open for public viewing Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

I first met Antoinette “Toni” Slick through a painting from the collection of the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach while it was on display in a County administration building located in DeLand, Florida, more than ten years ago. The rich quality of her watercolor caught my eyes from across the broad rotunda and I took only a short time getting closer to see how it was created. Large swaths of shifting plates of pigment spoke of another place and the work did its job by sweeping me away from my daily business at least for the moment. This chance meeting demonstrates the value of art in public places.

Her art continues to take me to mysterious and joyous places today. I still can’t ever quite figure out how she has produced the work, but that is what I find most pleasurable. I think the greatest works keep you guessing, keep you having a conversation with them.

Her studio is designed to enjoy Florida light and the space perfectly reflects the unconfinable personality of this artist. All around the high horizontal windows above me frame blue sky and just outside the Halifax River is visible. Art works hang salon style throughout her spacious and well lit studio for she is a prolific painter with a career spanning over 35 years.

I am greeted with a brilliant smile, a bit of pre interview chat with wonderfully frank wit, and a cup of coffee. And so we began.

Hodge: When and why did you move to Volusia County?

Slick: I received my teaching degree from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. After marrying David, we lived in Detroit Michigan while he finished his degree. Then we moved to Saginaw Michigan for a short time, followed by a return to Akron. David really hated the cold winters and my parents had moved to Florida’s west coast, so we moved to Volusia County in 1986. After driving around all of Florida we preferred this area for its friendly and active lifestyle.


Wall XXIII, 18 x 18, Acrylic and Graphite on Canvas

Hodge: Can you share a little bit about your family? Does family impact your art?

Slick: I don’t really approach my art in terms of relating to or being influenced by the people surrounding me. It’s more of a reaction to the environment surrounding me. My family, including my parents when I was a child, have always made it possible for me to pursue my passion. It also helps that my husband David thinks I am talented and is very proud of me. I have four very supportive children and 11 grandchildren, all of whom are proud that “Mom/Nini” is an artist.

Hodge: You work in what most artists would call a dream studio – how did that come about? 

Slick: When we built the house in 1995, I was painting smaller format, more traditional watercolors. All of that changed when I decided to paint larger more experimental and abstract acrylics. I kept finding paint all over the house, so knew I had to make a change and moved to the garage. I thought it was great. David hated it. He started to bug me about a studio. I finally gave in and really the studio changed my life. I think for the first time I took myself seriously.

Wall XIV

Wall XIV, 40 x 30, Acrylic and Graphite on Canvas

Hodge: Your husband seems exceptionally supportive of your art. Will you share something? 

Slick: He has always supported what I am doing, even when I make a big change in the work. Now sometimes he just shakes his head, and we laugh. He usually comes around to my way of thinking.

Hodge: Were you always an artist?

Slick: I think I always wanted to be an artist, but was never sure that I was really an ARTIST. I was the first person in my family to go to college. My parents were of the school that said “You need to be able to support yourself”. At that time the choice was teacher or nurse. Blood makes me sick so teacher it was. The art was put on the sideline for the next 17 years. One of my fondest childhood memories is the day, sitting with my mother, watching her paint a bird. I was mesmerized by how beautiful she painted it. Mine wasn’t so great.

Wall XI

Wall XI, 40 x 30, Acrylic and Graphite on Canvas

Hodge: What year did you turn seriously to art?

Slick: In 1978 I took my first painting class, just for fun with a friend, and that was the start of the journey. It was a learning maturing journey that I hope never ends. I got involved with other workshops and art groups along the way and learned what I like and what I don’t like by these experiences. Even today, I enjoy participating in long self-directed painting weeks with other serious artists at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach. I stay there in the apartments and paint with no interruptions day and night.

Hodge: You currently work in a non-objective style using mostly acrylic paints and graphite – was this always the case?

Slick: I actually started with oils and moved rather quickly to watercolor. Starting with art workshops in Ohio, I became a traditional Ohio Watercolorist; lots of barns and landscapes. There are many wonderful watercolorists in Ohio because American Greeting Cards was, and may still be, located in Cleveland. So I was very traditional, but then took a few experimental classes and that opened new areas of thought and practice. Long story short, the work kept getting more abstract, but always had something – a bird, a tree, a rock that folks could grab onto as recognizable.

The Warrior, 48 x 31, Acrylic on Paper

The Warrior, 48 x 31, Acrylic on Paper

Then I started to work with Steve Aimone, and all semblance of reality left. Here I began seeing line, mark, color, and surface as vocabulary, as content.

Hodge: The shapes in your works of art in 2013 and 2014 differ. What are you exploring?

Slick: In February 2013 I started a series influenced by the walls I see when I’m traveling. They started very simply, using a grid for the format. They have grown way more complex, colorful and less like walls and more like…I’m not sure. The possibilities are endless as I keep exploring this wall, surface, grid concept.

Hodge: How do you select colors for a painting?

Slick: Sometimes I find myself becoming too familiar with a particular color and I’ll come to depend on it. So mostly I’ll just decide on a color range and do it. Actually, I love black and white paintings and I don’t do nearly enough of them.

Wall IX

Wall IX, 40 x 30, Acrylic and Graphite on Canvas

Hodge: I noticed that if you participate in festivals you receive awards and recently you opened up a satellite studio at the HUB in New Smryna Beach. How important is marketing to you?

Slick: Festivals are fun and a great experience, but not at all important to me from an artistic perspective. Luckily, I have not had to make a living with art, which allowed me the opportunity to really go in any spirited direction I wanted. It has taken years, but I have a fair amount of confidence in the work I’ve been doing the last year and a half, and so I am making more of an effort to get some exhibitions and gallery representation. Besides, I would like to get it out there sometime before I’m too senile to appreciate it.

Hodge: Can you share a technique tip of some sort?

Slick: I use acrylics and graphite, big old Kimberly 9XXB very soft, very black and other drawing materials. I paint, draw, paint over, draw some more, paint some more, hate it, hate it, find a spot I like and go from there. Needless to say my work is very labor intensive and that is what I really love to do, make the journey and solve the problem. I best not charge by the hour as at that rate I would be making less than minimum wage.

Hodge: Do you have a philosophy on art to share? 

Slick: I believe you should seek experiences and feedback, then follow what is right for you. Don’t let anyone define art for you, and when you are asked to give opinion remind yourself and to whom you are speaking that the opinion is yours alone.

Wall V

Wall V, 40 x 30, Acrylic and Graphite on Canvas

Hodge: How do you describe “fine” art?

Slick: I believe my description has been around for some time. Fine art is permanent or it has at least real possibility of lasting. I am not saying other types of work are invalid. Art that falls apart, fades away, projects a trend, which is meant for “the moment” even when its decay speaks to time and destruction, does not meet my standard for fine art. I want to see a commitment to highly developed skills and archival materials.

Hodge: What makes work relevant?

Slick: Relevance to me is art that when confronted confronts me back. It creates more questions in my head than answers. The conversation never goes silent.

Hodge: What, if anything, do you want a viewer to walk away with?

Slick: I want the viewer to find their own story, their own relationship with a work. Sometimes relationships just are not meant to be and other times it feels like kismet.

You can see more of Slick’s work at the HUB in New Smyrna Beach or on her website www.antoinetteslick.com. Multiple paintings are on display through the end of October 2014 at the Global City Center, Cobb & Cole, 7th floor, 149 S. Ridgewood Ave., Daytona Beach. Open for viewing Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.