Irene Cafe hosts art exhibit

Artists (l-r) Michael Hutchinson, D. Max Mc Leod, Kate Kaplan, Anthony Billotto, and Thea Barbato
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Kidane Sayfou opened his café Friday evening to host an art exhibit called Nterpret, where several artists came together to display their jewelry, pottery, artwork, and photography. Gentle guitar music was played by Tom Billoto, while patrons came in to see the latest offerings from these area artists. Every available wall space was filled with color, imagination, and remarkable talent.

Tom Billoto entertains with music

Kate Kaplan was displaying her unique and colorful jewelry. She said, “I mostly work with copper, enamel, and dichroic glass.” She especially likes the dichroic glass, not only for its bright colors, but for the way the colors seem to change in different light and from different angles. “I like to make jewelry that is beautiful, but at the same time has a touch of whimsy.”

Michael Hutchinson had several pieces of photography on the walls. He explained, “I try to find a point of uniqueness in the subjects I photograph.” While most people would see a dilapidated building, Michael sees the light and shadows, shapes and forms. “I see concepts and designs under a veil of corrosion.” His photographs are of rusting cars, faded doorways, dolls that have been cast away, and yet he finds the beauty and the interest of things that remain behind. He said, “I am constantly looking for out of the norm objects and environments that will allow me to intentionally frame the unintentional.”

Thea Barbato’s paintings

Anthony Billotto’s artwork has a unique three dimensional quality. His rendering of the hardware store in Matthews allowed the viewer to experience it in a totally different manner. He said, “My father was an artist, and I always wanted to imitate him. That’s where I get my inspiration.” He went on to say, “I love Matthews, and all of Charlotte really. I love capturing it on canvas.”

Anthony Billotto’s artwork

Max McLeod uses hand made tools to make hand made ceramics from raw clay, often from what he digs up in his own yard. Through his own unique technique of hammering the clay with a mallet, no pottery wheel is used. He is always looking for new ways to use clay in a functional yet artistic way. His ceramics are a strata of swirling beiges, browns and ecru. He was also displaying his photography, one of which was stems and petals that had been killed in the frost, but now looked like translucent gold.

D. Max McLeod’s clay ceramics

Thea Barbato’s artwork has been a long time coming. Though art was her first love, “Life got in the way for three decades.” She was able to go back to her artwork about ten years ago, and has been creating art, as well as accompanying greeting cards, ever since. She began with pastel portraits of pets, but now her primary medium is oils and acrylics. She said, “I have always loved the combination of red, black, and white,” which is evident in her paintings.

Jewelry created by Kate Kaplan

While Kate Kaplan had to gather up her jewelry to head for other shows, the rest of the artwork and photography will remain on the walls at Irene for viewing and purchase until the end of the month.

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