River Gallery has successful opening for February exhibit

Written by: Samantha Burgess, editor in chief

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.—The River Gallery in downtown Chattanooga held a successful opening of its February exhibit on Feb. 1, with over 50 people in attendance. The exhibit featured the work of artists Winston and Rosa Eugene and James Conner.

Mary Portera, the gallery owner, met Conner 12 years ago at an outdoor art show in Florence, Ala. and the Eugenes five years ago at an outdoor show in S.C. 

Rosa and Winston Eugene met attendees of the exhibit from 2-4 p.m.

Portera formed close relationships with the three artists and, from the years spent viewing their art, she knew she had to invite them to the River Gallery for an exhibit.

“The exhibit reflects that all three of these artists are true to who they are and where they came from,” said Portera. “Their works depict a unique blend of architecture, nature, people and their own life experiences.”

Rosa and Winston Eugene came from their home of Cowpens, S.C. to meet attendees between 2-4 p.m. The Eugenes are self-taught ceramists who have been creating art since 1986. They both create stoneware and pottery which they carve, paint and glaze.

“The goal of our art is to encapsulate moments of life that people forget about or tend to overlook,” said Winston Eugene.

Each piece of pottery and stoneware tells a unique story, from issues such as slavery, global warming and equality to concepts of beauty and nature. 

“The beauty of pottery is that it’s an artifact,” said Rosa Eugene. “Each piece proposes a question and shares a message that can be passed on from generation to generation.”

The most difficult part of the process for Rosa is deciding how to price each item.

“We don’t want to be pretentious in pricing our art, so I price according to the materials and time put into each piece. No more and no less, just enough to make a profit,” said Rosa Eugene.

James Conner, who resides in Detroit, Mich, specializes in painting moments in time. His work focuses on shape and contrast, with nature, people and God as his subjects.

Conner was unable to attend the opening of the exhibit due to a family emergency. 

The River Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday

and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.  The Gallery will feature the work of Conner and the Eugenes through Feb. 29.

Samantha Burgess is a senior communication major with an emphasis in digital media and is editor in chief for the Triangle. Her interests in writing include profiles and feature articles. Burgess can often be found curled up with a good book, writing, listening to music or watching Netflix.