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Athens Area Council for the Arts (AACA) is hosting “Strange Narratives,” an exhibit by area artists Diana Ferguson and Allan Sibley, until Dec. 21.

The artists said the following regarding the “Strange Narratives” exhibit:

“When we were invited to show at the Athens Area Council for the Arts Center, Allan and I were of course flattered and could see how the curator thought our work would show well together. We both utilize strong color, but beyond just the immediate color jolt, our work is thought provoking. Allan tends to have a more intellectual approach that comes from his graphic and illustration background from working in the commercial arts. Diana is more emotional and expressionistic in her work and tends to be whimsical in her approach.

“The time came when we were asked to title our joint show! What a task. Because our work speaks somewhat in narratives, that was a good start, but then we acknowledge that others may find our work a bit different than the norm. Thus the show’s title became, ‘Strange Narratives.’

“Our images make the viewer stop and ask themselves, ‘What is going on here?’ Stories are conveyed or perhaps just a frozen moment. Our works, in their creation, are our perceptions, but in the viewing, the work becomes the viewers’ story. That in itself is a bit strange but intriguing.

“We both hope that you enjoy this crazy show and take a thought or two home with you. Remember, not everything has to make perfect sense; some things are better left strange.”

Sibley has enjoyed a long career in the visual arts. He was accepted at Cambridge School of Art in England following a two-year course in art and design and a three-year vocational course in graphics and illustration. He was awarded many commissions, receiving awards with the Cambridge Print Editions and the Royal Academy of Arts in London. he graduated with the Licentiate to the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers (LSIAD) at his degree show. His extensive professional career spans over 30 years as art and creative director throughout Europe and in the United States of America, working for many international clients and accounts.

Sibley is the president of the East Tennessee Arts Center (ETAC), an organization that brings to Monroe County and East Tennessee fine arts and fine crafts programs to everyone with workshops, classes, and opportunities to showcase the art of school children, schools, and local artisans.

Sibley continues to create and produce color pencil, acrylic and mixed media paintings. His art images jump from realism to imagination to abstraction. He enjoys a variety of subject matter that provokes his inventive creativity. His paintings can be found in private and corporate collections and in government institutions. He has exhibited locally and regionally in East Tennessee, and is a member of several art groups in the area.

Diana Ferguson, known to the art community as “DiFergi,” is an internationally recognized and awarded visual artist. Graduating with a degree in fine art from Stetson University, she taught for eight years in the public school system before she went full-time as a studio artist. One of the highlights of her career was being invited and attending a month-long artist residency in Hungary. She has shown on multiple continents, including work shown at the United Nations Building in Switzerland. Her work has been featured in national and international shows and in multiple publications, and she is an active advocate for the arts today in East Tennessee.

According to a news release, “(Ferguson’s) paintings are whimsical and spiritual. The images are simple yet profound. They are narratives that create small worlds of enigmatic moments. Strong emotional colors imbue the canvas with layered meaning, combined with a dash of silliness. Her work requests that you stop, reflect, and experience her world.”

“Strange Narratives” is sponsored by Haren Construction. All AACA programs are sponsored by Willsonthropic, Inc., Wolfenden Family Pharmacies, Edward Jones of Athens, National Endowment for the Arts, and Tennessee Arts Commission.

More information about this and all programs of AACA is available at www.athensartscouncil.org or over the phone 423-745-8781. Staff is available via phone or in person at The Arts Center, located at 320 North White St. in Athens, during office hours, which are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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