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The Metamorposis Project: Classical Paintings

May 19 - August 8, 2009

(above: logo for The Metamorposis Project, courtesy of Charles Brooks)


The Metamorposis Project: Classical Paintings is a show of works by Charles Philip Brooks, Jonathan Matthews, Adam Miller and Richard T. Scott.


Artists' Statement

We believe that the future of art lies in exchanging collective ideas in a poetic language that speaks to both the artistically esoteric and the uninitiated. We feel that the challenge facing artists today is to communicate in a contemporary language to a larger audience, which transcends the current dialogue: to bridge the gap that separates the academic from the popular. We think that the fundamental communicative nature of visual art lies in the tension between the emotive and articulate, the beautiful and sublime, the narrative and iconic, both clarity and subtlety. This new artistic language involves integrating all of these elements in surprising and innovative ways, but does not rely on surprise or innovation as its primary content. We draw inspiration from all of the past, but also claim our independence to represent the world we see through our own subjective vision. Steering a course between these dichotomies is difficult, if not nearly impossible, but this is the nature of aspiring to create a masterpiece. 

Above all we emphasize the relevance and necessity of technical skill, and indeed beauty, in the realm of contemporary art. We think that a great work of art requires three fundamental elements: intelligence, passion, and skill. Rather than negating meaning through deconstructive philosophy, and rather than presenting cold, purely intellectual art, we hope to present an alternative body of work which combines intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic content in a way that seduces and speaks to the viewer. We feel that post-modernism philosophy tends to disconnect from the viewer because post-modern artists attempt to communicate verbal ideas through a visual medium. We choose to communicate visual ideas through a visual medium, and verbal ideas through a verbal medium. This is not to say that verbal ideas cannot be communicated, but that they must be filtered and reconstructed to be intelligible, which requires a technical knowledge of one's medium. Building on our belief that deconstruction is a process and not a philosophical conclusion; we propose to appeal to the emotions, to the spirit, to the body, as well as the mind. Thus we have chosen the theme of Reconstruction: to rebuild meaning, utilizing the technical mastery passed down to us by the Old Masters and the ideas and analytical tools passed on to us by all eras. 


Project Description 

There are approximately 30 works included. Varying in medium, size, and style, they are mounted as a group exhibit, and will travel to several venues, both commercial and public. The paintings and drawings presented in the exhibition, products of the high standards of traditional studio training, also represent the sensibilities and personalities of the individual artists in their attempts to rise to the challenges of creating meaningful contemporary work. 



1. To reconnect with the public in an effort to build a greater engagement with the arts and therefore revitalize the interest in funding educational art programs. 

2. To present a unified expression of the products and possibilities of a group of artists sensitive to the richness of the history of art, as well as the issues that universally confront mankind.

3. To raise awareness of the relevance of naturalistic, skillful, and/or beautiful art in the contemporary art world. 

4. To offer the possibility of instruction and lectures by the exhibiting artists. 


(above: View of the Metamorphosis Project exhibition galleries at the Kinston Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Stuart R. Kent, Kinston Community Council for the Arts)


Catalogue for the Exhibit

The 23-page catalogue for the exhibit, which contains numerous images of paintings, may be viewed here.


Painting school

In February 2009 the Rocky Mount Arts Center in Rocky Mount, NC opened an atelier-style painting school. This two year course of study with North Carolina painter Charles Philip Brooks concentrates on preparing students for professional careers as artists. Emphasis is placed on traditional methods of oil painting, including making copies, and plein-air landscape painting. Students receive instruction in traditional 19th century techniques as well as practical advice for careers in fine art. Weekly lectures and critiques provide a continual context for student development, allowing each student to pursue his or her interests in the light of their appropriate art historical contexts. The studio is housed in the landmark Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences in Rocky Mount, NC.


About the Kinston Community Council for the Arts

The Community Council for the Arts is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to help Lenoir County, NC residents experience the joy, promise, and the pursuit of artistic excellence. The Arts Council's home, the Arts Center, is nestled in the heart of downtown Kinston, NC.

The mission statement of the Arts Council is: "To enrich the quality of the life of the people of Kinston and Lenoir County by encouraging participation in a variety of arts events, by cultural advocacy for the arts; by cultural planning for the community, and by offering administrative services and educational opportunities in support of artists, art agencies and audiences."

The Arts Center is located at 400 North Queen Street, Kinston, NC 28501. Please see the Art Center's website for hours and fees.


Resource Library editor's note

Resource Library wishes to extend appreciation to Charles Brooks, copyright holder for the Metamorphosis Project catalogue, for granting permission on June 18, 2009 to Resource Library to use the catalogue, including the images and text, for the purposes of this article and to post the information or catalogue.

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