OLOL art teacher's work on display at Shamokin gallery
SHAMOKIN - The walls of the Northumberland County Fine Arts Gallery were decorated with woodburnings, examples of micrography and comic book art as part of this month's exhibition from a local artist and teacher.
"The Art of Matt Leavens" debuted Friday evening at the Shamokin art gallery and viewers got a glimpse at the work of Leavens, a Kulpmont artist and art teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School.
"I'm not used to being the center of attention like this, but this is very cool," Leavens said at a special reception at the gallery.
"It's great to see my work on display in this forum."
A graduate of Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech who continued his education at Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Leavens first began freehand drawing in 1987, with the subject being what he was interested in - science fiction.
"I always loved science fiction and that came out in my artwork even to this day," Leavens said.
In addition to the original fantasy artwork, some of the pieces seen are straight out of a comic book, featuring an original character Leavens created called "Kid Feedback."
"Feedback was something that started out as a doodle in 1987 and he's always been a part of my work," Leavens said.
The character was used as a teaching tool on two issues of the comic book, which are also on display in the exhibit. The comic books were created with the help of the TIES (Teens in Innovative Educational Structures) program at Lourdes and the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit.
"It is always fun for me to collaborate with someone and create a story like we did here," Leavens said. "I would love to do more of that."
Images of the past come together on slices of wood with a woodburning technique Leavens displayed with such pieces as "Image of the Past Shamokin," "F&S Bottle" and "When Coal was King."
"Woodburning is something I started doing about three years ago and it has really taken off in the past six months," Leavens said. "Everytime I put a piece on Facebook, it sells pretty quickly."
Leavens also introduced viewers to a new technique called micrography, artwork created from text. The text forms an image when viewed at a distance.
"The two pieces I have for that, one is called 'Cookie Influenza,' which is a tribute to an old co-worker of mine Paul Metrocavage, and features such phrases in the work as 'Pablo is mightier than the cookie' and 'Matt is weaker than the cookie.'"
The other piece is Leavens joining Steve Martin and the late John Candy in the sequel to the actors' hit movie "Planes, Trains and Automobiles."
Leavens' artwork will be on display until Sept. 20. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The gallery's next show will be the second annual juried open invitational art exhibit. For more information on submitting a piece for the show, contact director Claude Harrington at (973) 632-2513, or via e-mail at email@example.com by Sept. 18.